...Mr. Ryan seems undaunted in his monetary views. Why?
Well, it’s right there in that 2005 speech to the Atlas Society, in which he declared that he always goes back to “Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money” when thinking about monetary policy. Who? Never mind. That speech (which clocks in at a mere 23 paragraphs) is a case of hard-money obsession gone ballistic. Not only does the character in question, a Galt sidekick, call for a return to the gold standard, he denounces the notion of paper money and demands a return to gold coins.
For the record, the U.S. currency supply has consisted overwhelmingly of paper money, not gold and silver coins, since the early 1800s. So if Mr. Ryan really thinks that Francisco d’Anconia had it right, he wants to turn the clock back not one but two centuries.
Does any of this matter? Well, if the Republican ticket wins, Mr. Ryan will surely be an influential force in the next administration — and bear in mind, too, that he would, as the cliché goes, be a heartbeat away from the presidency. So it should worry us that Mr. Ryan holds monetary views that would, if put into practice, go a long way toward recreating the Great Depression.
And, beyond that, consider the fact that Mr. Ryan is considered the modern G.O.P.’s big thinker. What does it say about the party when its intellectual leader evidently gets his ideas largely from deeply unrealistic fantasy novels? ...Paul Krugman, NYT
I don't know about "big thinker." Confused post-adolescent? That seems more accurate.
Adolescent fantasies like the "elimination fantasy" dominate both parties, says David Brooks. He's wrong about that -- the right has been harboring the elimination fantasy since Goldwater days, or maybe longer. The left has managed to keep some faith in democracy and has fought to preserve it.
Nonetheless, the acknowledgement of the elimination fantasy on the right is a good step for Brooks to take. Finally!
Brooks describes Paul Ryan's most damaging mistake -- damaging to America, damaging to the Republican party. He refused to sign on to Simpson-Bowles.
Ryan was giving up significant debt progress for a political fantasy.
Ryan’s fantasy happens to be the No. 1 political fantasy in America today, which has inebriated both parties. It is the fantasy that the other party will not exist. It is the fantasy that you are about to win a 1932-style victory that will render your opponents powerless.
Every single speech in this election campaign is based on this fantasy. There hasn’t been a speech this year that grapples with the real world — that we live in a highly polarized, evenly divided nation and the next president is going to have to try to pass laws in that context.
It’s obvious why candidates talk about the glorious programs they’ll create if elected. It fires up crowds and defines values. But we shouldn’t forget that it’s almost entirely make-believe. ...David Brooks, NYT
It's not insignificant that a rightwing columnist in the Times -- even David Brooks -- should acknowledge that the right is living in an adolescent fantasy. Winner Takes All!
And Brooks regrets that Paul Ryan, given an important opportunity, has been unable to show a real capacity for leadership.
Paul Ryan has a great campaign consciousness, and, when it comes to things like Medicare reform, I agree with him. But when he voted no on the Simpson-Bowles plan he missed the chance to show that he also has a governing consciousness. He missed the chance to do something good for the country, even if it wasn’t the best he or I would wish for. ...David Brooks, NYT