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October 18th, 2011 1:15 am
Is Ron Paul Framing the Election?

One way to think of a presidential campaign is as a nationally followed negotiation.  Each political party provides players who in turn generate ideas for public consumption.  Some proposals change the national consensus (e.g. Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts), while others fall flat (Walter Mondale’s “I will raise your taxes” pledge). 

If we look at what leading Republicans have proposed this cycle, it’s an impressive range of serious fiscal ideas.  Paul Ryan has his “Path to Prosperity” budget, Rick Santorum his tax cuts. Mitt Romney has 59 points to get America working, and Herman Cain has “9-9-9”.  Now, Ron Paul says we should cut $1 trillion dollars by eliminating entire federal cabinet departments and going back to 2006 funding levels for those that survive. 

My suspicion is that Paul’s plan will get the most criticism because it is the most radical.  But might it also be the most helpful in a sense, since it probably represents the least government that any major Republican will put his or her name to this year?  And if that’s the case, then isn’t Paul doing the electorate a favor by clearly articulating what the most radical version of reform would look like so voters can weigh the differences fully? 

If Quin, Tim, or Troy has anything to add, I’d like to read it.  Is Ron Paul’s plan bold, crazy, or something in between?

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