Ronald Reagan’s Hair for VP

 

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I am a huge fan of Paul Ryan’s hair. It’s very Reagan-esque.

And, while this isn’t a Reagan fan blog and I realize Reagan was a politician, the type of person I’ve programmed myself to distrust even when I think I like them, as politicians go, you could do much worse than Reagan.

Check this out:

As hair goes, Romney made an excellent choice.

I also think Ryan is one of the best politicians out there in being able to articulate a more liberty-minded version of conservative politics, which is another trait he shares with Ronald Reagan. I agree with much of what Charles Rowley writes here.

 

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“Energetic Government”

In the American Enterprise Institute’s Debate, How Much Government is Good Government?, David Brooks makes a case for an “energetic government” that “builds character.”

I believe the following passage from Brooks provides the key assumption for his energetic government stance:

…the reason that America got rich in the nineteenth century was because we were the most educated country on earth, and we could count on a certain level of social capital we no longer can.

I don’t believe that’s why America “got rich”.

To me, that’s like saying, I got rich by saving for retirement.  That’s not accurate.  You were able to save for retirement, and become rich, by creating enough value for others to generate an income for yourself.

Similarly, I believe the cause and effect flows the other way from how Brooks describes it.  America became the most educated country on earth, with a certain level of social capital [i.e. things like public education, social security, unemployment, etc.], because America “got rich”.

America got rich through bottoms-up innovations enabled by the most democratic, fair and socially mobile system the world has ever witnessed, capitalism.

If Brooks were to consider that he is wrong about how America got rich and wanted to learn other possible explanations, I’d recommend that he start with Matt Ridley’s book The Rational OptimistThis post and this one discuss some of Ridley’s, and my own, insights on the matter.

Of course, Matt and I could be wrong, but I have not found convincing evidence of that yet.  But, would love to hear some.

More debates like this, please

My family and friends are surprised to find out that I’m not a fan of TV-based political debates.   They figure that since I have an above average interest in politics, television debates must be like my Super Bowl, or something.

I prefer debates like How Much Government is Good Government? between New York Times columnist David Brooks and Representative Paul Ryan.   It’s written.  You can download it and read it on your iPad, Kindle or any device that supports .pdf.

I think TV debates don’t give a true picture of the candidate.  Its like trying to pick a wife while watching ladies perform in a roller derby.

There’s more opportunity in the written format to filter out the shenanigans and articulate a more complete representation of your positions and your criticisms of your opponents’ positions.

I downloaded the Brooks/Ryan debate for my Kindle iPhone app and read about 60% so far.  I’ll have more to say about it soon.

I do recommend it.   If you’re the least bit interested in politics, you will find it easy reading and interesting.

By the way…

Here’s one of the best by-the-way’s I read this week.  It’s from a Wall Street Journal interview with Texas Senator, John Cornyn:

Paul Ryan in the House proposed a constructive solution to . . . our fiscal problems. And rather than engage and propose something constructive himself . . . [the president] decided to go into the class-warfare mode, where, as you know, you can’t raise taxes enough to solve the problem.”

“And by the way,” he adds, “it’s not raise taxes so we can pay down the debt, it’s raise taxes so we can keep on keeping on—doing what we’re doing, which is spending a whole lot more money, making a whole lot more promises than we can actually keep from a financial standpoint.”

That’s an extremely important by the way.

This is something that the people who advocate raising taxes to ‘solve our problems’ don’t seem to get.  It won’t solve our problems. Not even close.

A source of our stagnation?

Does anyone disagree with what Rep. Ryan has to say in this video (HT: W.E. Heasley)?

 

46 seconds in Ryan nails it:

Every dollar that companies spend lobbying for a better tax deal, is a dollar they are not spending making a better product.

The graphic at 1:17 is telling.  The U.S. ranks second behind Japan in combined federal, state and local corporate tax rate of 39.2%.  Japan has been stagnant since the late 80s.

Most folks don’t understand that they pay corporate taxes.  They see that as a tax on the wealthy.

But, most of us own corporations through our retirement and investment accounts.  Here’s a simple way to estimate the amount of corporate taxes that are paid on your behalf each year.

Find the total value of your retirement and investment accounts.  Multiply that by 2% and 4%.  That’ll give you a rough ballpark low and high range of the corporate taxes that you pay.

So, someone with $250,000 in investments will pay between $5,000 and $10,000 in corporate taxes. This is a tax that most investors never realize they pay.

Add that to the income and payroll taxes that you pay directly (and are paid on your behalf by your employer) and you’ll get a better sense for how much total tax paid you paid.

A lower corporate tax rate will help everybody.

I’m a skeptic about most politicians, but I like what Ryan says here.

More please

Let me preface that I’m always skeptical of politicians.

But, I would like it if more politicians sounded like Paul Ryan in this interview.  It aired on the ABC Evening News last night.  When asked if he’s worried that his budget plan puts his House seat at risk, he responded:

Now is not that time to be worried about political careers. Sincerely, I will be fine if I lose my House seat because you know what? I will know I did what I thought was right to save this country from fiscal ruin.

I think we were elected in this last election to take a stand on fixing this country’s fiscal problems, to go after spending, to solve this debt crisis, to stop spending money we don’t have.

Those are as close to the ideal sentences coming from an elected official that I can recall.  It reminds me of my own campaign promises.

Get out of the way, please

A friend who wishes to go by Lane Meyer sent an e-mail pointing out an excellent passage from Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger’s piece, A Ronald Reagan Budget.

But the Obama prescriptions reflected Democratic Party politics of our time, which insists that prosperity begins inside someone’s head in Washington and then flows out to the country. The country is a taker of what Washington creates or allows—whether the Obama health-care plan or anti-carbon regulations. Reagan-Ryan argues that prosperity is born inside the heads of several hundred million citizens, and that the government’s first responsibility is not to kill the yeast.

Both the Beltway Democrats and the conservative deficit hawks share the conceit that the nation’s future revolves completely around what they do in Washington. This reduces the people to bystanders. That may work for Europe’s parliamentary systems, but it’s not the way things work here. Successful politics here draws people into its drama, and that means offering something bigger to believe in than deficit reduction. And guess what, progressives: The “safety net” isn’t what moves a nation, either. Think bigger.

Paul Ryan’s budget is inevitably about what Washington does (or refuses to do). But its underlying rationale is to reorder the relationship between Washington and the American people—country first, Washington behind.

It would be tough to word that any better.

If you come across anything you think is especially post-worthy, please let me know.