I’ve written before that the importance of Paul Ryan’s brand of conservative reform is that it puts federal policy on a fundamentally different trend line than its current course under President Barack Obama.
From Ryan’s perspective, the American future post-reform looks like one where there’s more money in everyone’s pocket, less going to the government, and a fiscally sustainable social safety net.
As for President Obama, all you need to know is contained in his campaign’s “Life of Julia” web ad.
If Ryan is true to form, then during his time as Mitt Romney’s running mate he’ll accentuate the choice facing voters this fall of an American future that is either growing thanks to a resurgent capitalism or declining under the weight of a galloping socialism. Perhaps he’ll do so along the lines described by Harvard economist Robert Barro in the Wall Street Journal:
Drawing correct policy implications is hard because one naturally focuses on the jobs and production that are directly saved or lost when the government bails out GM or when Chinese imports expand. In contrast, it is impossible to detail where U.S. jobs and production would have been created or destroyed if GM had been allowed to fail or if trade with China were curtailed.
What is feasible is to look at the overall impact of a set of policies. For example, a general increase in socialistic policies tends to lower economic growth. And, more specifically, the Obama administration’s weakening of individual incentives to work and produce by its sharp expansion of transfer payments can be reasonably viewed as retarding the U.S. economic recovery since the end of the recession in 2009.
With the addition of conservative thinker and budget expert Rep. Paul Ryan to the Republican presidential ticket, we can hope that the economic dialogue will become more serious. And perhaps this added substance will extend beyond the important issue of long-term fiscal reform to encompass the enduring but still crucial debate about socialism versus capitalism.