Rep. Paul Ryan: Liberty’s New Hope in Congress?

Ron Paul isn’t the only Paul in the House of Representatives on the lookout for liberty.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has made a good name for himself fighting for liberty over the past year.  In July, Reason.com asked “Why Can’t Paul Ryan Be the ‘Future of the Republican Party’?”  Last month, Rep. Ryan wrote a scathing piece on “crony capitalism” in Forbes about the collusion between big government and big business


For what it’s worth, Rep. Ryan was a keynote speaker at CPAC 2009 and called for “sound money.”  In a June 2009 speech at the Hudson Institute, he called for the replacement of the corporate income tax with a globally competitive consumption tax and a reform of our monetary policy in order to restore sound money.  He continued, “It is imperative that we get off of the Fed-induced boom-and bust, inflationary-deflationary roller coaster, such as the one we are living through now, and restore sound money.”


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had a piece on Ryan titled the “Ryan Shines as GOP seeks Vision” with the subhead “Ayn Rand Economics.”


From the article:



To that task, Ryan brings an admittedly geeky head for numbers and detail. He also brings a deep philosophical attachment to market capitalism and “supply-side” economics – a world view shaped by such icons of individualism and free enterprise as Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” [emphasis mine]





The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article continues:



At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand’s writings when he told his audience that, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill  . . .  is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict — individualism versus collectivism.”

In that struggle, Ryan argued that shifting Social Security (which he called a “collectivist system”) toward personal investment accounts was not only good policy, but would change the political landscape, according to a recording of the event made by its host, The Atlas Society.

If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society.  . . .  That’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues,” said Ryan. [emphasis mine]


From his speech to the Hudson Institute on June 3, 2009:



 A “libertarian” who wants limited government should embrace the means to his freedom: thriving mediating institutions that create the moral preconditions for economic markets and choice. A “social issues” conservative with a zeal for righteousness should insist on a free market economy to supply the material needs for families, schools, and churches that inspire moral and spiritual life. In a nutshell, the notion of separating the social from the economic issues is a false choice. They stem from the same root.


 …


Our tax code is a job-killer. Reforming it is an obvious place to improve our global competitiveness by leveling the international playing field for American-made goods and services. I have proposed to replace the corporate income tax – which is now the second highest in the industrialized world – with a globally competitive consumption tax. It removes taxes from American-made exports and puts an equal tax on foreign imports, and firms write off 100% of their investments immediately.


A final issue about which there is near total silence from both parties today is monetary policy. It’s a root cause of our current financial crisis, and a key to recovery and sustained growth is to restore the value and stability of our money.



It is imperative that we get off of the Fed-induced boom-and bust, inflationary-deflationary roller coaster, such as the one we are living through now, and restore sound money. When it comes to managing the national currency, virtue has a central role. At the end of the day, the central bank cannot cheat or paper over problems. There is no free lunch. Sooner or later, such decisions will catch up with us, and the people will be the victims. Long-term economic growth and rising living standards are major purposes of government, and they require a currency that holds predictable value. [emphasis mine]

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