Ryan’s farewell (too bad Paul Krugman wasn’t his exit interviewer)

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan shown during an April 12 press conference.

On Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told moderator Chuck Todd that he “feels great” about his decision to retire from Congress after the current term.

Todd tried to ask hard questions – about Trump (Ryan claims they’ve worked well together); about whether Congress should pass a law guaranteeing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller can’t be fired by Trump (not necessary, Ryan says, because Trump won’t fire him);  about things that Ryan had hoped to accomplish but didn’t (he got almost everything on that list through the House, so blame the Senate, Ryan said); and about why he’s leaving in his prime (it’s about spending time with his kids before they grow up and fly the coop, Ryan said, and in no way even slightly about the awkwardness of the Trump era or the fear that the Democrats might take over the House and take away his speaker’s gavel).

(The whole 18-minute interview is here.)

Todd tried to ask tough questions but failed to discommode Ryan even slightly. Ryan is smart, nimble and a talented and unflappable communicator. I can’t recall seeing anyone really flustering him.

But oh, did I wish that somehow New York Times columnist (and economist and Nobel laureate) Paul Krugman had been the one asking the questions.

Krugman’s column reacting to the news that Ryan was departing called Ryan a “flimflam” man, a term Krugman has used consistently for about six years to describe Ryan and Ryanism.

What’s the flimflam? According to Krugman, I gather, the Ryan flimflam is to use scary debt and deficit numbers to justify big cuts to (or cuts in the future growth of) federal spending on things that help the poor and middle-class – especially the big entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare — but then use all the savings, and more, to provide tax cuts to the wealthy so you end up with no improvement (or actual backward movement) in restraining the debt picture and the same thing (no progress) in reducing the gap between rich and poor, after taxes and entitlements.

Krugman has laid out this analysis of Ryanism several times over the years, with heavy reliance on his favorite word (“flimflam”) to describe it.

Here’s the full Krugman farewell to the flimflam man piece from last week, and here (just to back up Krugman’s boast that he’s been on this case for years) a 2010 rendition of it from Krugman’s column headlined just “The Flimflam Man.”

Krugman and Ryan are both very smart. But, as Ryan prepares to go home, wouldn’t it be great to watch and listen to them hash the whole thing out together.

Comments (88)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/16/2018 - 10:48 am.

    The biggest flim-flam

    I make no claim to elaborate research on this, but what many pundits and interviewers seem to leave out when they interview or write about Ryan is the basis of his ideology. I’ve no idea if Ryan claims to be Christian or not, but his secular religion is the utterly false promise of Ayn Rand’s pure and heartless selfishness. Indeed, I’d love to see Krugman as the exit interviewer simply to see him ask about that. Ryan is no economist – I’m as much of an economist as he is – and his fiscal policy is almost entirely the product of the “objectivism” espoused by Rand in several mediocre novels in combination with a tortured interpretation of Friedrich Hayek’s work. Eric’s characterization of Ryan’s fiscal policy as “cut entitlements, then use the savings to cut taxes for the wealthy” is spot-on.

    Most of the grownups in the room long ago discarded these ideas not just for their callousness, but because they don’t provide a workable – one might say ethical – basis for a stable society. The wealthy and privileged have, for centuries, seized upon any and every writer and thinker who’s come along with a justification for their wealth and privilege. Some of those justifications are more elaborate than others, but all of them boil down to “I deserve all I have and more.” The notion that someone’s elevated social and/or economic position might be due to simple good fortune, or – God forbid – the efforts of others who are largely unrewarded, is anathema to people like Ryan and his chief executive, who, like many, many before them, remain convinced that they’ve single-handedly pulled themselves up by their figurative bootstraps. It’s a common delusion of the well-to-do, and one that sustains what’s left of the Republican Party as it stands today.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/16/2018 - 11:21 am.

      “I deserve all I have and more.”

      A nice summation of Ryanism.

      For all his efforts to destroy Social Security as we know it, Ryan was able to put himself through college with the Social Security benefits from his deceased parents. He got what he wants, so it’s time to move on.

      Young Mr. Ryan was able to squirrel away those benefits because he is the scion of the Ryan Construction family. You know, the one that does so much business on federal infrastructure projects. After college, of course, he entered “public service” and agreed to work in the vineyards of Senator Kasten and former Rep. Jack Kemp (as a speechwriter).

      Now, he is leaving elective office to “spend more time with his family,” a concern that did not seem to weigh so heavily on him when he ran for Vice President.

      Before the conservative commentariat here has their collective fit of the vapors over “flimflam man (Name calling! By a liberal!),” they might reflect that there are names that are far worse, but no less accurate, that could have been used.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/16/2018 - 01:49 pm.

      The Sanctimonious Ryan

      Ryan is a practicing Catholic. One who has been called out by bishops of his church, as well nuns. They have pointed out that the economic policies and budgets Ryan has proposed fall seriously short of the teaching of his church.

      All budgets, whether family, government, or that of a private entity, are moral documents. the leaders of Ryan’s faith have found his proposed budgets to morally lacking.

      Ayn Rand was very hostile to religion, and preached the doctrine that doing what’s best for oneself without any concern for one’s brothers and sisters is best for society. From a Catholic Christian perspective, it’s moral bankruptcy, as we are called to be in communion with each other, to be one’s brother’s keeper.

      That did not keep Ryan from distributing copies of Rand’s writings to young staffers, in complete contradiction of the faith he practices. While we all fall short of our church’s teachings, not all of us are so brazen about as to publicly lecture our bishops that they are wrong. One might think that someone who lives in public housing would have greatly empathy for the least among us.

  2. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/16/2018 - 11:34 am.

    Let’s not forget, either, that Ryan oversaw the decline in the functioning, and the reputation, of the U. S. House of Representatives, through its committees like the House Intelligence Committee.

    There, Devin Nunes has been breaking into shards of dirty glass the honor and integrity of the committee, running back and forth to the White House with classified information and Trump’s instructions, and generally ignoring the rule of law and refusing to take on Trump mismanagement and corruption (I mean, even Trey Goudy, the Bengazi-Forever guy who chaired the House Oversight Committee, has called it quits in the face of Republican leadership’s ineptitude and duplicity).

    Ryan has been passive, even supine, before the Trump administration’s relegation of Congress to servant status, rather than an equal partner or branch of our Constitutional government. He’s the weakest Speaker of the House that I can remember, and a true shameful politician.

    Being more a part of his children’s lives. Yeah.

  3. Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/16/2018 - 12:41 pm.

    Doubling down

    To some extent, Ryanism is just Republicanism/Trumpism, where the core value is never admitting error. For Ryan, specifically & coservatives generally, it’s the idea that Reaganism worked, despite the astronomical deficits. We’re always on the high side of the Laffer curve. Government is always too big; taxes are already too high – nevermind the evidence. Never admit mistakes, never give in, never compromise.

  4. Submitted by John Evans on 04/16/2018 - 02:00 pm.

    Explanation of flimflam:

    Krugman called Ryan’s deficit-reduction plan flimflam because it wasn’t an actual plan, it was just charts and a narrative with no calculation or causal reasoning behind them.

    Ryan said he would offset cuts in tax rates by “broadening the base.” That means he would tax more more people or more stuff and end lots of deductions. The press never asked him which people, what stuff or which deductions, because it wasn’t going to happen anyway. Yet somehow tax revenue was supposed to rise fantastically from 15 to 19 percent of GDP. Nobody knows how, but it sounds good, so who cares?

    On the spending side, Ryan’s plan assumed that federal discretionary spending would be cut to impossibly low levels. He never said how, and the press never asked. Nor did his Republican colleagues.

    It’s flimflam because it never was a plan to reduce the deficit, it was just a plan to cut the tax rates for corporations and the rich. That’s why the most recent budget bill had to be passed without any debate; pulling the curtain open would only ruin the illusion.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 04/18/2018 - 10:43 am.

      Precisely

      The anecdote that explains Paul Ryan’s career best was the time when he showed his concern for the poor by going uninvited to a soup kitchen where he rewashed the already clean dishes.

  5. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/16/2018 - 09:43 pm.

    Consistency

    At least the comments here are consistent in tone. Cheering one of the thought leaders of the Tax and Spend More Left Tribe (ie Krugman) for bashing one of the Tax and Spend Less thought leaders of the Right Tribe. (ie Ryan) Both these folks are too far Left and Right for my taste…

    Overall I have liked Ryan’s candor and style, I hope we see more of him once his kids leave home. 🙂

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/17/2018 - 09:25 am.

      Consistency

      I think you have fallen into an easy ideological trap by calling Krugman “one of the thought leaders of the Tax and Spend More Left Tribe.” From my reading of his work (i.e. the more in-depth stuff, not just the newspaper column or the blog), he is a fairly standard Keynsian who advocates more spending not for its own sake (does anyone really think that, apart from the caricatures of liberals?) as a way of stimulating the economy in a downturn.

      Calling Ryan a “thought leader” is just not going to work. He is repeating the same-old, same-old we have been hearing for years from the right-hand side. THat is not leadership, it is recitation.

      “Overall I have liked Ryan’s candor and style,” He has the candor of a three-card monte dealer, without the panache.Call him “Sylvester the eye-tester.”

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 08:13 pm.

        Same Old

        Apparently the Keynesian same old same old is well aged also.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics

        And Krugman is a Keynesian who reinforces the importance of government spending in an economy, which aligns well with Left leaning views. No surprise on either side.

        • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 04/18/2018 - 10:09 am.

          Paul Krugman is Nobel Prize-winning economist. Paul Ryan was a poli-sci major at Miami of Ohio.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2018 - 10:40 am.

          “[T]he importance of government spending in an economy . . .”

          I trust you don’t mean to suggest that government spending is unimportant in an economy.

          Saying that the “Left leaning view” supports government spending is an oversimplification that looks too hard for a balance with the Right leaning views. Conservatives (and correct me if I’m oversimplifying) regard government spending as inherently suspect. Spending and taxes should be low for the sake of being low. The predominant Left leaning view does not regard all government spending as inherently good, and does not favor high taxes or spending for their own sake. In other words, despite the caricature that circulates, there is no cabal of leftists cooking up ways to increase taxes, or trying to find ways to increase spending.

          BTW, I’ve not read the Wikipedia entry on Keynesian economics, but did it not point out that high spending and deficits are counter-cyclical measures to be undertaken in a downturn? The time to balance the budget is during the good years.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 11:14 am.

            The Problem

            Speaking for Conservative is hard for me since the Right has been too foolish lately as I have noted.

            The problem I have with much of the spending supported by the Left is that it involves transferring the negative consequences and risk from individuals to tax payers. Some examples:

            – If parent(s) raise their kids poorly and the kids turn out delinquent and/or under educated. The Liberal view is that we should raise taxes on everyone to provide more welfare, police, prison, social services, Medicaid, etc

            If a single Mom raising 2 kids on welfare gets pregnant again. The Liberal view is that we should raise taxes to give her more money every month to feed, house, care for, etc baby number 3. If she does it again… Just make the check bigger. Repeat…

            – If people fail to learn, work, save, invest, etc for retirement… The Liberal view is that all of citizens should pay patrol taxes…

            Now I think there is some excellent government spending: roads, bridges, education, job training, care for the truly disabled, national defense, law and order, etc…

            However spending that removes the negative consequences from the individual who made errors and moving it to the shoulders of those who made good life choices seems counter productive.

            I could make my daughters share their allowance when one does something foolish, but that would punish the 2 making the good decisions while minimizing the learning opportunity for the one that made a poor choice.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2018 - 01:34 pm.

            The Real Problem

            Your first two examples, at least, don’t support your claim.

            What child makes the choice to be raised poorly or under educated? The consequences are not just to the parents (in fact, unless they are ashamed of themselves, there are few consequences to them at all). The consequences are borne by the child and, ultimately, by society. Unless a poorly educated delinquent child targets his parents, someone who was likely not involved in the bad decision-making will be the victim. Society should not penalize someone who did not make the bad decisions.

            “The Liberal view is that we should raise taxes on everyone to provide more welfare, police, prison, social services, Medicaid, etc” Perhaps we should track down the bad parents and make them pay for the police and jails? Good luck with that (Did Martin Shkreli have bad parents? Can they afford to keep him in the federal sneezer for a few years?) Also, Medicaid is a consequence of poor parenting or delinquency? No kidding.

            It is too facile to frame all government spending other than your “excellent” examples as cash transfers to the less-deserving. In fact, some of your examples are the consequences of bad decision making by individuals (law and order, and how many people are “truly disabled” through their own choices?). Spending on cash transfers to the poor is a small part of overall spending, as are other eye-rolling, “there they go again” examples like the NEA. Your “excellent examples,” in fact, constitute most government expenditures.

            “I could make my daughters share their allowance when one does something foolish, but that would punish the 2 making the good decisions while minimizing the learning opportunity for the one that made a poor choice.” Taxes are not a penalty, but the price we pay for a civil society. Also, I don’t like the comparison of a post-industrial society to children receiving an allowance, but whatever.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 03:27 pm.

            Actually most of my craziest ideas are regarding making sure almost all kids are raised well. When the parents and kids fail it is often too late.

            Unfortunately no one likes my ideas. So here is the question.

            Why does our society allow people who would never pass an adoption screening to make and raise babies?

            Why do we pay them to do so? Then complain about the achievement gap?

            Our nation’s children deserve better.

          • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/19/2018 - 09:14 am.

            For a “small government” guy, where do you place the idea of a government that would decide who could or could not have children ?

            A “child permit” before pregnancy ?

            What happens with an “illegal pregnancy” ?

            Only the “most worthy” allowed ?

            Certainly, Mein Führer !! A master-race !

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 10:21 am.

            Small is relative… And as I said, no one likes my ideas…

            They are happy to protect the freedoms of the adults while babies go home with people who they would not let baby sit their own infant.

            They fight to ensure that older Public Employees make more and their jobs are secure even as a large portion of our unlucky kids fail in school and life.

            We are putting the freedoms, incomes and security of adults ahead of those of our most helpless citizens. That is a choice we are making and many kids are suffering for it. 🙁

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/19/2018 - 09:15 am.

            Been There, Done That

            “Why does our society allow people who would never pass an adoption screening to make and raise babies?” We tried changing that system once. It’s called eugenics, and it has fallen out of favor.

            “Why do we pay them to do so? Then complain about the achievement gap?” Since the Clinton presidency, the government has been moving away from perpetual cash for reproduction.It also strikes me as a bit facile to link the achievement gap with welfare receipt by parents.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 10:29 am.

            Update

            Eugenics: “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics”

            My view is different…
            “Children have the right to a stable home and qualified, non-stressed out, mature, supported, dedicated, etc parent(s).

            I am sorry to say, but responsible Parent(s) do not have a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 15th child when they can not afford to house and take care of child 1 or 2 themselves…”

            I don’t care about the parent’s genetic traits, I care about their parental capabilities, behaviors and dedication to make good choices for their children.

            And unfortunately it looks like the pay for kid programs are coming back.
            https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/growing-number-states-repeal-family-welfare-caps

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 12:20 pm.

            Don’t Forget

            When it comes to overpriced weapons systems, conservatives become Keynesians, yammering on about government spending creating jobs.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/18/2018 - 01:08 pm.

            Not Just Weapons

            Don’t forget prisons. Now, THERE’S a gold mine for you.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/17/2018 - 09:49 am.

      Stop it. Just stop it.

      There is no way on God’s green earth any GOP politician in DC can claim to be part of the Spend Less tribe. Have you seen the new budget? Have you seen the tidal wave of red ink that makes the fall 2018 Blue Wave look like a rough day on Lake Nokomis?

      That red ink is all over Ryan’s hands, and it will never wash off. Which even more reason to get that guy out of the public housing that tax payers have been providing for him.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 08:22 pm.

        Preference

        Would you have preferred a government shut down?

        The House and Ryan had little say about the spending bill due to the limited majority in the Senate. The moderate folks in the Senate own the increased spending problem.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/18/2018 - 09:12 am.

          The poor GOPer’s dilemma–should we do something bad or something worse ??

          Winner, winner–chicken dinner !!

          Let’s pass tax cuts that guarantee insolvency at a time when the economy is growing !!

          That way the next economic crisis guarantees grandma will be thrown to the wolves…if she won’t work for her benefits…she won’t eat

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 09:45 am.

          GOP Victimhood

          Stop blaming others. The GOP has the White House and Congressional majorities. Time for the Party of Personal Responsibility to take ownership.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 10:56 am.

            Less than 60

            With less than 60 votes in the Senate… Majority makes little difference most of the time.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 03:19 pm.

            No Problem

            Ditch the filibuster. They’ve already done it part way, finish the job.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 10:12 am.

            Future

            With the voters going further from center, and therefore politicians following suit.

            I hope they keep the 60 vote rule in place. Otherwise our country is going to see some wicked policy swings as control changes, and each side strives to undo the last party’s over reach with their own. Remember that I see our country as a pendulum moving left, right, etc.

            Without the Senate as a damper this could get real bad. Most of the time grid lock is good.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 04/17/2018 - 02:00 pm.

      Since the tax bill will add about a trillion more to the defict

      I think we can dispense with the myth that Republicans spend less money. In fact, considering that Reagan and Bush spent money like a drunken sailor and cabinet members like Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke seem to regard the American tax payer as their own personal ATM, it’s actually become more of a punch line.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 08:45 pm.

        Tax cuts have been the foolish irresponsibility of GOP politicians since Reagan. They continually foolishly believe that if they reduce taxes, growth and revenues will soar. Which we clearly proved was wrong in the 1980’s and the 2000’s…

        I disagreed with the recent tax cut, however I pray that the corporate tax rate change will pull more companies and jobs back into the USA. Now if only the US consumers would start buying American to help.

        Please remember that I prefer a balanced budget and would have supported leaving taxes alone and cutting spending.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 09:48 am.

          Hide the Hanky

          The GOP does most assuredly not believe that reduced taxes lead to economic growth. It’s way to condescending to believe that. It’s a ruse, and they know it. All they really care about it tax cuts for the point one percent. If the resulting red ink leads to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and SNAP, that’s just icing on the cake.

          Actions speak far louder than words.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 10:54 am.

            Curious

            If it is all about benefitting the 1%… Why do you think so many people like myself vote for them? (~15th percenter)

            And do you truly believe company and investor decisions are immune to tax rates?

            Do you personally choose to buy things where the tax rate / cost is higher when there is a good less expensive option available elsewhere?

            Personally I can assure you that I vote for the benefit of all of us, not just the 1 percenters.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/19/2018 - 07:21 am.

            Irrationality in humans is nothing new. Smoking cigarettes is costly and deadly, and when people start, they aren’t addicted.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 10:06 am.

            Both Sides

            This an interesting graph.
            https://media.nationalpriorities.org/uploads/2016-budget-chart-spending-revenue-percent-of-gdp.png

            One side continually strives to raise spending relative to GDP.
            One side continually strives to lower revenues relative to GDP.

            No wonder we are leaving our kids a mess. Maybe both sides are smoking something.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/17/2018 - 10:20 pm.

      Consistency

      In 2001, an Ayn Rand disciple by the name of Alan Greenspan sucessfully turned America away from paying of it’s debt and toward the direction of economic collapse…

      In 2017, an Ayn Rand disciple by the name of Paul Ryan turned Ameica again sharplytoward the path of ever-increasing debt and inevitable collapse…

      And what economist believes in not paying off the debts when times are “good” ? Randians and Republicans.

      As for candor, he was elected to the house 2 years (1998) before he was married and his kids are now 13, 15 and 16. Some might think the formative years are past at this point…

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 09:58 am.

        Curious

        Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged and/or The Fountainhead?

        I have them here on my bookshelf at work. There really was nothing in there about not paying one’s bills. Quite the opposite: they cover in depth a value of learning, creating, working, saving, investing and adding value to one’s society.

        And as for people receiving salaries, ss benefits and medicare benefits. They are actually cases of one earning what they receive. I mean you had to work and contribute to receive them.

        Where as medicaid, tanf, snap, afdc and other welfare programs have few improvement / performance requirements tied to getting that money. In fact if you just have another baby… You can get more money from your fellow tax payers. Whether you do a good job of raising our future citizen or not.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/18/2018 - 11:46 am.

          Sorry, but perhaps you should read the non-fiction version of Ayn Rand–“The Virtue of Selfishness”–kind of explains itself in the title.

          “Your problems are your own–I have no responsibility for yours”, and that includes the ignoring of bills coming due in the future that you don’t want to pay.

          “No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation , an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man.
          There can be no such thing as ” the right to enslave .”
          ― Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 12:25 pm.

          Anything In Rand’s Books

          About spending years railing against programs like Medicare and Medicaid, then, near the end of one’s life, accepting such benefits under an amused name? Classy, very classy.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/18/2018 - 03:15 pm.

            Difference

            I disapprove of policies and yet I won’t hesitate to use them if they are offered.

            Just as people who swear that tax rates should be higher typically do not write extra checks to the government.

            And Medicare and Medicaid are two very different things.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 04/19/2018 - 01:09 pm.

          John Rogers quote about Atlas Shrugged says it all…

          “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/19/2018 - 02:26 pm.

            Or, as Corey Robin Put it,

            “St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both. “

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 02:22 pm.

            Back to My Question

            Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged and/or The Fountainhead?

            If so, what did you disagree with?

          • Submitted by ian wade on 04/19/2018 - 03:49 pm.

            The answer is yes to both.

            Since they’re both works of fiction there’s nothing to agree or disagree with. My opinion is they’re poorly written utopian fantasy novels for people searching for justification to be self righteous and myopic

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 08:49 am.

            So

            I assume that means you think Hank Rearden should have “shared” his formula for Rearden Metals with his competitors per the government’s mandate for the “good of society”?

            I am not sure how one should balance intellectual property rights in a society, however I know I disagree with being forced by a court to give them up. 🙂

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/20/2018 - 09:11 am.

            Intellectual Property

            I had a student once who turned in a paper arguing, from a libertarian standpoint, that copyright law should be abolished.

            Although I disagreed with virtually everything he said, I still gave him an A for his interesting, well-thought out arguments.

          • Submitted by ian wade on 04/20/2018 - 01:03 pm.

            No…

            I mean they’re lousy books retched up by a hack writer who, at the end of her life, abandoned her principles and eagerly lapped up the very same social benefits that she supposedly despised.
            Paul Ryan is another example. He espouses self reliance and a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality, but has never held a real job in his entire life. He has lived under the safe confines of the very government that he abhors, pulling down 174K a year, medical and a nice pension for life, while providing virtually no benefit or productivity to show for it. Frankly, John, according to your previous posts, if he were a teacher, he’s exactly the kind of guy that you would be clamoring for removing.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 02:14 pm.

            Clarification

            Was that, “No” you would not force Rearden to give up the formula to his metal? (ie a very progressive tax…) Or “no” to something else?

            Actually no I would not clamor to remove a Teacher who was successful at keeping more than half of the families voting for them. Whether we like Ryan or not, the people in his district did support him in ~10 votes.

            Please remember that I am anti-tenure /pro-kid, not anti-Teacher… I respected and liked maybe ~85% of the K-12 Teachers my daughters have had over the past 20+ years. I liked maybe another ~10% but was not impressed with their organizational, communication, etc capabilities, Only maybe ~4% did I really wonder why they were still allowed a classroom.

            I once posted that Parents should complete classroom / teacher surveys for every class. I mean I did this for pretty much every post K-12 class / training I have ever taken. I think it would be an excellent addition to the Teacher’s performance review.

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/17/2018 - 09:11 am.

    Well…

    The fact that Ryan used a Social Security death benefit to finance his college education and then had as his primary mission trimming back those benefits puts him in the Clarence Thomas “pull up the ladder behind me” kind of hypocrite that takes advantage of programs designed to help folks get a leg up, is successful in part because of those programs and subsequently uses their success to try and tear them down.

    A whole team of psychiatrists are needed to figure out these self-loathers…

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/17/2018 - 03:07 pm.

      Mr. Bootstrap

      Hard as I’ve tried, something I’ve never been able to forget about Paul Ryan (besides the obvious) is the fact that, for as gigantic a talker he has been when it comes to, “The uplifting power and righteousness of a life free of dependence on government,” every single paycheck he’s gotten since the age of 28 has come from none other than that very same government.

      A dependence — an addiction, a sad and enslaving government Jones — amounting to a $170,000 per year ($3,300 per week, $450-a-day) habit for most of those years and $50,000 more per year (tolerance increase adjustment?) since becoming Speaker.

      It will be interesting to see how high and far he and his spirit will be able to soar when he’s finally free of HIS long dependence on the same soul sucking beast he’s been working so hard to help (or is it tough love force?) others to break free of, no matter HOW insignificant their dependence has been compared to his own.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 12:27 pm.

        You Forgot

        Ryan has been living in tax payer provided public housing. That guy is really on the dole.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 11:58 am.

          So all of us workers are receiving freebies from our employers? When I travel around the world as part of my job duties, should I be paying the airfare, hotel costs, etc? What am I missing here?

          To me dependency / entitlement is when one expects money with no expectation or accountability of effort, improvement, learning, etc…

          And as I note else where: Conservatives use programs they are entitled to and Liberals don’t write out bigger than necessary checks to the government… This is normal even when they argue for fewer programs and higher tax rates.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/19/2018 - 02:44 pm.

            Nighty-Night

            Paul Ryan sleeps in a tax payer owned building in DC. It’s known as “The Nation’s Capitol.”

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 03:25 pm.

            His Office

            Again… He lives in Wisconsin and works in Washington DC…

            What should his employer pay for?

            I have a co-worker who has been deployed to China for 6 months to help solve some company challenges… What would you expect from my company? Just tell him to rent a second home on his dime?

            I am so puzzled.

  7. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 04/17/2018 - 01:49 pm.

    Ryan is not done doing his damage!

    I, for one, am not sure I should heave a sigh of relief that Paul Ryan has decided to leave Congress at the end of his current term. This is only a momentary detour for him – all part of a devious scheme to enhance his ambitious political agenda on both personal and public fronts. I see the following things happening …

    1 – Ryan has at least seven more months left in office. During this time, he can be laying the seeds or the groundwork for his obsession with the elimination of “entitlements” in the areas of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. At the same time, he probably will work hard for more and bigger tax cuts for the upper-crust economic class. Ryan’s “flimflamming” will concentrate on the issue of the National Budget’s huge deficit (1 Trillion dollars) over the next decade.

    2 – He may be planning to join and maybe even run a conservative think-tank that would be approved by the Koch brothers and the like.

    2- He will be prepping for a return to politics by raising funds, and focusing on a bigger target … the Presidency of the United States! The current occupant of the White House is very likely to be a one-term President if things continue on their downward spiral for him. Paul Ryan will be well-situated for such an opportunity. He will present himself well-scrubbed and with a cleaned-up slate of his past record. No doubt, he will be counting on the short-attention span of the public!

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 08:55 pm.

      Reality

      1. The Senate controls what happens this year, not the House.

      2 &3 . It will be interesting to see what the future holds for him. I hope we see more of him in the future.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/18/2018 - 03:21 pm.

        Eric Cantor

        Ryan wants to abandon the sinking ship. While Eric Cantor enjoys a rich 6 or 7 figure income, politically he’s toast. Ryan did not want to be the next Cantor.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 10:02 am.

          Agreed

          Moderates are not very popular with either tribe at this point in time…

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/19/2018 - 02:47 pm.

            Oh, Sorry

            I was confused. I thought we were talking about Cantor & Ryan, not any moderates.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 03:20 pm.

            Moderate is relative… If they are too Centrist for the Right and too Conservative for the Left…

            That puts them somewhere in the middle with Hillary Clinton who many Progressives thought was too Centrist…

            Our electorate is parting like the Red Sea. And taking our politicians with them. 🙁

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/18/2018 - 09:59 am.

    Ryan Shmyan

    Again, the problem with Republicans for decades has been their anti-intellectualism and magical thinking. They have no capacity for real intellectual work, and regardless of appearance or demeanor they produce mean spirited policy based on stereotypes and magical thinking.

    Ryan in most ways, like many of his fellow Republicans is just a better behaved Trump. This Republican tax “plan” has and will do what every Republican tax plan has done since the Reagan tax cuts in the 80s. Anyone with any intellectual integrity would have long ago realized that tax cuts are expenditures that balloon deficits and debts while delivering little if any economic benefits if not outright economic damage. It’s taken decades but even the majority of Americans have FINALLY started to recognize the fallacies of tax cut promises, which is one reason the Republican party is now imploding- it’s a one note band that’s out of tune and losing it’s audience.

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 04/18/2018 - 02:48 pm.

      yes….

      It almost goes without saying that to point that anti-intellectualism is the dominant mentality of the conservative movement and the GOP, either as a politician or member of the media, is to automatically invite the charge of elitism. But, maddeningly, the pervasive problems of ignorance and lack of thinking ability are a root cause of most of our problems.

      In two polls I’ve seen surveying scientists in the US, under 10% vote Republican. It’s well known that in most university departments liberals and lefties outnumber Republicans and conservatives, sometimes by overwhelmingly wide margins–20 to 1, 30 to 1, or more. The claim that this is due to discrimination has not, to my knowledge, been demonstrated.

      Many conservative academics are found at religiously affiliated schools, where affirmations of belief are required as a condition of employment–which is another way of saying that regardless of where your inquiry may lead you, you must wind up with the correct view on something for which there’s no possibility of objective confirmation.

      When you see the damage being done by the GOP, particularly at the federal level, the cost of this anti-intellectualism becomes apparent. The great bulk of the GOP base can’t see the problem, because they too suffer from the same cognitive defects as their leaders–authoritarianism, dogmatism, narrowness of education, abysmal critical thinking ability, scientific ignorance, uncritical/rigid adherence to religious and ideological beliefs.

      What to do?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/19/2018 - 08:41 am.

        Exactly… what to do?

        After decades of considering this trend and trying to combat it, I’ve realized that centrism was our downfall. The idea of meeting idiots half way was a predictable fiasco. I know that sounds harsh but that’s exactly what happened. So what to do? How do we reverse this trend?

        We have to raise the intellectual bar somehow. We have to make credibility a functioning concept in public discourse. Just because someone manages to get on TV or the radio… doesn’t make them “credible” in any way. We need to expose debate gaming for the anti-intellectual sport it really is. We need to make intellectual integrity a requirement. We need stop pretending that “stupid” is worth a try or that stupid ideas are better than no ideas at all. And most of all we need to have THIS conversation.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/19/2018 - 09:44 am.

    Rand was dope.

    Ayn Rand was intellectual fraud who never produced a coherent philosophy much less an original idea of any kind.

    Rand took a mishmash of other people bad ideas and hobbled them together into vision of dystopia that has become a uniquely American expression of privilege masquerading as merit.

    Rand couldn’t even come up with a original name for her own “philosophy”, she stole “Objectivism” and lied about it’s basis. Rand never produced a single ounce of data or reliable observation to support her “objective” principles, which is why they crashed upon the rocks of reality during the financial collapse that Greenspan steered the ship of state onto. Not only is Rand’s: “Objectivsim” a stolen identity, it’s a false identity. Anyone who really wants to describe Rand’s incoherent musing could more aptly describe them as: “Subjectivism”.

    Rand didn’t just borrow bad ideas from Social Darwinist’s, Machiavellian’s, Fascists, Oligarchs, and Atheists, she actually pretended these were all her own ideas to begin with… she was a fraud. Not only was she a fraud, but her own dull intellect prevented her from recognizing that she was stealing bad ideas that had long since been discredited. When she stole the concept of enlightened self interest for example (Her “idea” that selfishness is “good”) she failed to note the long established fact that egocentricity is a toxic and counterproductive personality trait.

    Rand’s libertarian gibberish appeals to predominantly white American males because it confirms their self assumed status as talented “achievers” who can or will succeed regardless of privilege or status. It’s a white male adolescent fantasy pretending to be a moral system. It’s toxic egoism pretending to be an intellectual movement. It’s privilege pretending to be merit. If that all sounds kinda like a description of Paul Ryan… now you know why.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/19/2018 - 10:51 am.

      Because…

      I’d almost be willing to bet everyone here a dollar a piece that Ryan has “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” sitting on HIS bookshelf.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 12:10 pm.

        I knew there was a reason I liked him…

        By the way, please remember that many of Ayn’s Moochers and Looters were White men…

        And some women were held up as excellent examples of Creators and Producers…

        The question as always is one ready to strive for their own success…
        Or is one looking to be reliant on others.

        Producers like Hank Rearden were happy to help others learn, work, grow, etc.

        They were reluctant to just give to people who were unwilling to strive to better themselves.

        Kind of like many Private Charities: They will help care for you, house you, train you, etc as long as you keep working and don’t make bad choices. (ie produce for yourself)

        The problem with welfare is that there are little expectations for people to improve their own knowledge, effort, behaviors, etc. (mooch off others)

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/19/2018 - 02:31 pm.

          Creators and Producers

          Like William Hickman? Whose crimes were the fault of society because it didn’t give him enough challenging things to do?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 03:10 pm.

            Generalist

            Recently someone invited me to look into the specifics of the origin of the new Testament. I declined because I am a generalist.

            Where as some people want to pick at the details of a belief system or and individual, I prefer to look at the higher levels.

            Now I have no doubt that Ayn Rand wrote many questionable things during her life time. I am pretty sure she was working through much of it as she went. Kind of like someone trying to figure what I believe by dissecting a post of mine from 2009…

            It may be accurate or it may be far off field. 🙂

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/19/2018 - 04:15 pm.

            The Forest is Made Up of Trees

            Higher levels are built on details.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 08:52 am.

            Tree and Forests

            Well I will focus on the forest and let you walk through the trees. 🙂

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/19/2018 - 03:23 pm.

          The Question?

          “The question as always is one ready to strive for their own success…
          Or is one looking to be reliant on others.”

          That’s actually not a very serious question for most adults. Any attempt to organize a set of moral, political, or philosophical principles around such a simplistic trope is doomed to wallow in a self indulgent miasma of platitudes.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/19/2018 - 04:35 pm.

            KISS

            Sorry, I am a fan of Keep It Simple Stupid… 🙂

            If you want more complexity I would see Hal Urban’s Life’s Great Lessons. And excellent book.
            https://docushare.edutech.org/dsweb/Get/Document-11514/great.pdf

            I am not precisely sure why of 2 nearly identical young people, one thrives and grows, and the other stagnates. However I pretty sure it has to do with their attitudes, beliefs and drive more than the things outside them.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/20/2018 - 09:34 am.

            Uh huh

            Complexity isn’t a “choice”, it’s an existential fact. You don’t examine complexity because you want to, you either know what your’re talking about or you don’t. You CAN pretend to know what your talking about, but those who know… will know. KISS is an engineering principle, applied to design, it’s not an intellectual model of analysis. KISS is NOT parsimony.

            One thing that is absolutely clear to almost anyone who cares to pay attention is that Rand loyalists and Libertarians are actually no more accomplished, successful, or satisfied with their lives than anyone else. It’s like Trump’s boast that he won on his first try, as if every other POTUS had to run several times before THEY won. Rand was a guru with no substance. The appeal of Randian ideology is it’s self indulgence. Libertarians have the same lives more or less as everyone else, they just pretend that they’re accomplishments, mundane and otherwise, are “special”. It’s a celebration of mediocrity and platitudes. It’s egoism pretending to be special knowledge.

            Anyone can point to someone who’s more or less accomplished or satisfied, such comparisons are basically child’s play. The Randian’s pretense that such mundane and superficial observations flow out of their own superior intellects simply betrays a tendency towards self aggrandizement. And THAT explains Rand’s popularity… she promotes self aggrandizement, that’s irresistible mind candy for certain personalities, specially those found among white males. Randian’s get to pretend that they’re talented intellects who are the masters of their own destiny, what’s not to like about that?. If you want to find Randians, you’ll do well to look among those who find such fantasies most appealing. Alas, such fantasies, like most fantasies, are the stuff of magical thinking, not objective reality; which is why Rand’s choice of “Objectivism” as the adjective for her mentality was so fraudulent, and of course, self aggrandizing.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 11:54 am.

            KISS

            My KISS interpretation of Randian beliefs. Different people have different beliefs and behaviors

            1. Some are highly driven to learn, work, improve, create and to be independent

            2. Some are happy to do a solid days work for their pay.

            3. Some have lower ambitions and are happy to receive from others.

            4. Some are highly driven to try to con, steal or take from others.

            Now you can deny this simple reality if you wish, however the first two categories are who make our country great. The second two categories are a drag on the country.

            The question is how to use social norms and government laws to push everyone into the first 2 categories?

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/20/2018 - 12:33 pm.

            Incoherent question

            “Now you can deny this simple reality if you wish, however the first two categories are who make our country great. The second two categories are a drag on the country…The question is how to use social norms and government laws to push everyone into the first 2 categories? ”

            You’re assuming that individual personality traits are the product of government policy, this is contrary to virtually everything we know about human and animal psychology and personality.

            The question also betrays a fundamental flaw in Randian psychology and libertarian thought. You claim to have discovered virtues, and you claim that those virtues are the result of special insight (i.e. the teaching if Rand). Furthermore you claim that Randian virtues are the product of self actualization (self initiative, insight, independence, etc.) that doesn’t rely on government, society, or others. To the extent that anyone interferes with your attempts to live according to your virtues, you’re a victim of oppression. Then you want to use the government to enforce your virtues and impose them on everyone else, and you see THAT as free society. You’ve created a paradox, this is what I mean when say that Randian libertarians have no coherent sense of liberty or freedom. You’re free to be who you are… and the rest of us are free to be who YOU are, and we’ll use the government to make it so. Small government is just the ticket when anyone else wants to change society, but when YOU want to change society- bring in the government.

            You can have your own personal interpretation of concepts, but you can’t expect the rest of us will recognize those interpretations as valid, specially when the interpretation is contrary to established interpretations.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 02:01 pm.

            So

            Please remember that I personally land just Right and above Center on the Nolan Diagram. So I am not looking for big government cuts or big increases in government control, I’ll leave that to the political parties…
            http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2017/12/what-would-make-americans-happy.html

            And no I do not believe “individual personality traits are the product of government policy”, however I do believe that groups of people will try to refine government policy to benefit their constituency. And that government policy can encourage or discourage certain behaviors. As noted above, if a number 3 personality type can get more “free money” by staying unemployed and bearing more children. Why wouldn’t they? If a #3 type farmer can get more money keeping land in CRP, why would they plant it? If a wealthy #4 can get away with fraud, why wouldn’t they?

            Please remember that types 1 thru 4 are not related to race, sex, religion, wealth level, etc. Many of Rand’s #4 examples were actual wealthy white men.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/23/2018 - 11:11 am.

            Omitted from the Chart

            5. Our choice of behaviors, while in theory unlimited, is in practice circumscribed by factors out of our control.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2018 - 01:16 pm.

            Choices

            Yeah I just don’t see 5 making the list for American citizens.. We are all very lucky to live in America. I do agree that some choices are limited by the luck of birth, however given our free K-12 education system, welfare systems, job training programs, higher ed programs, extensive library systems, free internet access, family planning programs, etc. I am thinking each citizen is in large part responsible for their own choices, behaviors and results. We won’t all become Jeff Bezos, however we should all be able to attain a nice family and reasonable income if we make solid choices, learn and work at it..

            1. Some are highly driven to learn, work, improve, create and to be independent

            2. Some are happy to do a solid days work for their pay.

            3. Some have lower ambitions and are happy to receive from others.

            4. Some are highly driven to try to con, steal or take from others.

            5. Our choice of behaviors, while in theory unlimited, is in practice circumscribed by factors out of our control.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/23/2018 - 02:09 pm.

            Limitations of Birth

            The US ranks 13th in social mobility among OECD countries. That’s behind all of Scandinavia, Finland, Canada, and Australia. We are, however, ahead of the United Kingdom, Italy, Chile, and Slovenia. We are behind countries that have a much stronger and more extensive system of public welfare (meaning, not just cash benefits) than the US does.

            Many years ago, I a guest at an “Engineers’ Day” dinner put on by the employer of my then-current inamorata. The keynote speaker talked about the trends of the future. Afterwards, someone at our table remarked that what the man said was fine if you were a member of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, but if you had been working for the last 20 years at Dodge Main, it wasn’t so cool. “He’s just told us that the blue collar middle class is on its way out.” That seems to have happened. The blue collar middle class that was able to send its kids to a decent public university without having them accumulate mountains of debt is gone. It took with it an important part of upward mobility; namely, a parent’s ability to make it so much easier.

            While individual choices are important, I don’t think it’s entirely possible to let late-stage capitalism entirely off the hook.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2018 - 03:42 pm.

            American Consumers

            I agree that capitalism rewards those who are most effective, efficient and provide quality. And as I often say our American consumers are exclusively focused on features, quality, performance, personal value (ie cost), etc.

            Thus we reap what we sowed… We wanted more government benefits, regulations, easy immigration and lower cost products and services… And we got them.

            The consequence was jobs moving over seas and a glut of low end workers. Now what do you want to do to turn this around?

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/23/2018 - 04:06 pm.

            Turn it Around

            You are putting too much blame on the American consumer, and on liberalism generally.

            What about technological advances, and greed? Let’s say the owner of the Susquehanna Hat Company needs 10 sewing machine operators (median salary $24,000/yr.) to maintain production. If he installs the proper equipment, the whole shebang can be done by robotics, overseen by a single technician (median salary $57,000). How is that one going to pan out? If he saves money, is that going to result in lower prices, or are the prices going to stay the same, with shareholders reaping the difference? How many robotics technician jobs are going to be available for those who do the smart thing and retrain?

            I know how I’m betting. My example uses displacement of low-wage jobs because those were the ones I could think of offhand, but the same pattern is going to be replicated even in better paying professions (e.g. truck driving).

        • Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/20/2018 - 01:27 am.

          Democracy irrelevant to Rand

          I had the pleasure of reading Atlas Shrugged while on trains in Europe 40 years ago during a break from a year-long study abroad. It was an entertaining read but one that left me rather empty. I recall no references to the advantages of democracy in Randworld where generous heroic business success stories permeated the culture with their goodness and benevolent decision making. Meanwhile in the real world I noticed several examples where fairly healthy democratic systems allowed for a wide range of interests to create the politics of inclusion — prosperous, well educated, healthy people with a view to progress. Inclusion meant that democratic socialism was a big player– along with parties catering to the interests of farmers, small business owners, Christians, etc. — necessary to curb the power of Randian heroes who were often not perceived as heroic by the vast majority of west European populations. Atlas Shrugged became irrelevant from the last page as I stepped onto the central station platform, a public-owned entity that did a pretty decent job, and into a life where most already understood that we all do better when we all do better (thanks, Paul Wellstone).

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/20/2018 - 08:59 am.

            On the Other Hand

            The USA is the world’s most influential country in a large part because we have not shifted all the way left to be a Social Democratic. We do a good job of protecting intellectual property and letting the creators profit from their efforts.

            I am a big fan of the USA’s mixed economy, I just don’t want it going any further Left. 🙂
            http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-left-keeps-pulling-on-boat.html

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/20/2018 - 10:33 am.

            Yes, this is actually a very important observation

            Oddly enough, the most prescient characteristic of libertarian thought, is that there’s no coherent concept of “liberty” or “freedom”. Libertarianism constructs a false dichotomy between civilization and self actualization wherein simply existing within a community makes an individual a victim of oppression. The whole concept of representative democracy is simply incompatible with this construct. This is how guys like Paul Rand can end up concluding that the best way to promote “freedom” would be to tolerate if not support Segregation and white supremacy.

            It’s really important to understand how hostile Randian’s and Libertarians can be towards the concept of democracy. So hostile are they to the concept that they will frequently attempt to deny the fact that they live in a democracy. I’m sure you’ve all heard the “objection” that the US is a: “Republic”, NOT a democracy? Like most claims made by Libertarians this claim is gibberish, but do we want to put such people in charge of anything important, or should we let this mentality govern important decisions?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/19/2018 - 11:53 am.

      (quote)So, here are seven

      (quote)

      So, here are seven things Paul Ryan has done that suggest Ayn Rand has influenced him:

      1. Spent the Bush years demanding larger, more regressive tax cuts than Bush himself was proposing, urging them to be less afraid of “class warfare.”

      2. Spent the Obama years repeatedly proposing budgets that “would produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.”

      3. Listed Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, as one of the three books he most frequently rereads.

      4. Told The Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.”

      5. Repeatedly divided American society into “makers” and “takers.”

      6. Declared that Rand’s thinking is “sorely needed right now” because we are “living in an Ayn Rand novel” and that “Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this, to me, is what is [sic] matters most.”

      7. Appeared at a gathering of Rand devotees and declared Rand’s philosophy was “the reason I got involved in public service,” that he makes it “required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff,” and that her philosophy continues to inspire “almost every fight we are involved in here, on Capitol Hill.”

      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/07/7-ways-paul-ryan-revealed-his-love-for-ayn-rand.html

      (end quotes)

      Links at NY mag

      • Submitted by carter meland on 04/19/2018 - 12:27 pm.

        Further analysis of Rand

        There’s an excellent documentary-essay-critique of Rand and her influence on society, particularly how it shaped the economy and the rise of Silicon Valley. It is a withering, very British critique and shows how Rand couldn’t live as an Objectivist herself, how she craved adoration (more along the Subjectivism that Udstrand noted). It’s an hour of your time well-spent. https://vimeo.com/groups/96331/videos/80799353

        And before the nattering nabobs point out that it isn’t very “objective” or “journalistic,” let me reiterate that it is an essay, composed by someone who looked deeply into history and context in order to trace out a strand of “thought” and see why it came to have the impact it did.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/20/2018 - 06:46 am.

    Krugman

    Paul isn’t all that good on TV. He once lost an economics debate to Joe Scarbourough. Something I keep in mind is that being able to debate well isn’t the same thing as being right. If the devil really is in the details, you can count on his being exceptionally articulate in rationalizing them.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/20/2018 - 10:26 am.

      Yes, and…

      People with no shame don’t get flustered by anyone. It’s important to recognize that Ryan’s unflappability is a product of his complete lack of shame and intellectual and moral integrity. A guy like Krugman assumes a certain level of decency, that’s always going to be his downfall in a confrontation with someone like Ryan.

  11. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2018 - 08:43 pm.

    Advances and Greed

    RB,
    As I said… “capitalism rewards those who are most effective, efficient and provide quality”

    And American consumers are exclusively focused on features, quality, performance, personal value (ie cost), etc. And I will add one, people with IRAs / 401Ks / Pensions do not invest in funds that return lower than average.

    And these same “greedy” people will reward companies who offer good products for a good cost, and the companies who give them a higher rate of return. Now is that really “greed” or is it common sense?

    And they will punish companies that do not automate, off shore or do other things to remain competitive. And yes this going to be a big problem with limited knowledge, skills and/or flexibility.

    So back to my question… How do we make America be the most effective, efficient, trained, flexible and quality provider? Just making it more expensive to do business and invest in America certainly is problematic.

    I mean as I often note: many Americans don’t “Buy American” even today.
    https://www.american.edu/kogod/research/autoindex/

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