The New Republic‘s Leon Wieseltier on “Paul Ryan’s nasty ideal of self-reliance“:
Ryan is animated as much by a theory of government as by a theory of life; but his theory of government is erected in part on his theory of life. For government, limits; for the individual, no limits. A terrible fear of dependence has led him to a terrible exaggeration of independence. The self in Ryan’s self-reliance is a monster. I would not raise a child, let alone design a budget, on this stunted ideal. In a new book on child-rearing, I recently read this: “We tend to encourage self-reliance (a good trait), but resourcefulness is even better. Why? Because resourcefulness is the ability to both independently and optimally solve daily problems and to seek help from others when we can’t problem-solve independently.” It does not exactly sing, but it is exactly wise. We are not only a self-reliant nation, we are also a resourceful nation. But Paul Ryan’s plan for America would undo its magnificent inclination toward community, and leave us not only economically insolvent but also morally insolvent.
Historian Timothy Snyder on why Romney chose Ryan as his running mate:
Romney’s choice of an ideologist as his running mate made a kind of sense. Romney the financier made hundreds of millions of dollars in an apparent single-minded pursuit of returns on investment; but as a politician he has been less noted for deep principles than for expediently changing his positions. Romney’s biography was in need of a plot and his worldview was in need of a moral. Insofar as he is a man of principle, the principle seems to be is that rich people should not pay taxes. His fidelity to this principle is beyond reproach, which raises certain moral questions. Paying taxes, after all, is one of our very few civic obligations. By refusing to release his tax returns, Romney is likely trying to keep embarrassing tax dodges out of public view; he is certainly communicating to like-minded wealthy people that he shares their commitment to doing nothing that could possibly help the United States government. The rationale that Ryan’s ideology provides for this unpatriotic behavior is that taxing rich people hinders the market. Rather than engaging in activist politics, such as bailing out General Motors or public schools, our primary responsibility as American citizens is to give way to the magic of the marketplace, and applaud any associated injustices as necessary and therefore good.
Paul Krugman on Ryan’s undeserved reputation as an “Honest, Serious Conservative”:
What Mr. Ryan actually offers…are specific proposals that would sharply increase the deficit, plus an assertion that he has secret tax and spending plans that he refuses to share with us, but which will turn his overall plan into deficit reduction.If this sounds like a joke, that’s because it is. Yet Mr. Ryan’s “plan” has been treated with great respect in Washington. He even received an award for fiscal responsibility from three of the leading deficit-scold pressure groups. What’s going on? The answer, basically, is a triumph of style over substance.