The Paul Ryan Pick and Reconsidering Romney

“Now look, Beetroot, if we can’t renegotiate, we wither and die” – Vincent Benedict (Danny Devito), Twins

(Author’s note: I’m back after quite a long hiatus)

This weekend Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate – dashing my dreams that he would select Rand Paul and actually give some party-based credence to the freedom movement. It was not to be.

I’ve said on a number of occasions that I will not vote for Mitt Romney – but I’m still watching and listening to see if he gives me a reason to do so. Is the Ryan pick such a reason? We shall see.

My biggest gripes with Romney are that he is wrong on the issues that matter. As I see it, the two most important moral issues from a public policy standpoint (issues over which the president holds huge sway) are abortion and central banking. Or, to put it in more graphic terms, do we hold as a country and as a government that it is tolerable for a person to kill a pre-born child … even if that person happens to be the child’s mother? Further, do we hold that an unaccountable cabal of bankers should have the authority to “print” as much money as they want to for their own needs, and thereby destroy the underlying value of our “stored production” and effectively transfer our labors to themselves? I say the answer to both of these is a resounding “no” – that as fundamental principles we must eschew this type of government-tolerated murder and oppression.

For whatever reason, Mitt Romney doesn’t agree with me. I suppose he’s pro-choice because he wanted to be governor of Massachusetts, and nobody comes close to winning the Massachusetts governorship as a pro-lifer. I can’t exactly point to you why he’s  pro-central-banking though. I suspect it’s a symptom of “well, that’s the way it is, and the central bank has an important roll to play in our financial system” – not quite grasping the fundamental principles of freedom and slavery at play. (We saw this in the antebellum south too, where plantation owners couldn’t quite get their heads around the  notion of not having slaves. “But that’s the way it is, and the slaves play an important roll in our economy.”)

So maybe Mitt’s just a chameleon who wants to show the lest offensive, most moderated view to garner the most votes. Or perhaps he just hasn’t come to grips with the moral issues at play and doesn’t quite understand them. Of course, neither of these engenders confidence in a principled voter.

Very well. My objections to Romney are already known, as well is my declaration that I would vote for Romney if he selected Rand Paul as his VP. That the elevation of the libertarian side of the party to the VP slot would be enough to pull me on board. Is the same true with Paul Ryan?

I’ll admit to not having read the “Ryan Budget” cover to cover, but it apparently contained some spending “cuts” – or rather some reductions in the rate of growth. That’s a good thing. Ryan has also proposed the use of “premium support” for Medicare, which is effectively the same as a “voucher” in the school system. Participants would get to choose between government and private plans, and the government would give them a voucher. Further, he has proposed the use of block grants to the states. “Here’s how much money you can spend – you figure out how you want to spend it.”

These would be two wildly positive developments. I generally hold that individuals would do better than the federal government at choosing their own coverage for their own needs; and different states have different problems and needs, and could also better serve the public if they had freedom to craft their funding.

Now as a general rule I think that no federal funding should be used for benevolent purposes. It’s not that I oppose benevolence (e.g., helping the elderly with their medical care), but rather that I oppose the use of the strong arm of the government to extract a man’s wages (which are an exchange of his life for his production) to perform those functions. You cannot accomplish good through evil. You cannot achieve a truly benevolent end by taking away someone else’s life to do it.

Given that, there is a pragmatic argument to be made. If we are going to arrive at a place where we dismantle this egregious system, we are likely to have to pass through a number of intermediaries on the way. One such intermediary is the transfer of power from the federal government back to individuals and the states. Oppressive and inefficient ideologies rarely survive once they have to face competition. As soon as individuals have control they’ll make choices in their best interest and allow the free market’s price mechanism to bring down the cost of care (which is, by the way, a good thing). Also, the state block grants are a natural transition to total state control of their medical support systems. Once this happens, states that choose lower taxes and lower support will naturally attract more productive workers and businesses – and the high tax, high support states will get choked off and forced to choose a better path.

On abortion Ryan is solidly pro-life. On central banking, Ryan has said recently that the Fed should forget about its “dual mandate” of low inflation and high employment, and focus just on inflation. Perhaps he understands that a dual mandate is impossible, and that the central bank can only reasonably accomplish one of them (and inflation is really the only one that makes sense). This isn’t as good as getting rid of the central bank altogether, but it is one of the broadest and most aggressive statements that change needs to happen.

I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. I’m sure the “dirt” on Ryan will come out soon, and I’ll be watching for that too. For now, I’ll say that I would definitely vote for Ryan at the top of the ticket (this is nothing new). But will I vote Romney because he has Ryan as his VP? I’m still not sure. But I am watching and listening to see if Romney has made a turn toward principled leadership.

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