Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Paul Ryan Takes a Bump

I kinda like this guy's opener...

...Over the last year, the Republican Party has appeared to be either a gang of obstructionists or a confused relic of some prehistoric past; its thinkers seemed to do little more than repeat catch-phrases you've heard dozens of times before; even its most earnest activists sometimes appeared to be the pawns of lobbying organizations.

Pretty good summation.

His real fears, however, center on Paul Ryan (!!?!); it seems that Ryan does not love BigBiz enough. In reality, Ryan doesn't like Big Gummint. Is that the underlying fear of the WSJ writer?

...Mr. Ryan seems at first like no more of a radical than do the editors of Forbes. The "philosophy of governing" spelled out on his campaign Web site rails against the New Deal, "class envy economics," and a federal "regulatory leviathan."

...But the tone Mr. Ryan takes in his Forbes article makes him sound like the Jacobin of Janesville. He savages "crony capitalism," pausing to note the "resentment" it is inspiring.

Government, in Mr. Ryan's view, is alternately the tool and the terror of big business, doing one firm's bidding as it crushes another one. The solution is to get government out of the game altogether, and Mr. Ryan fondly recalls the great deregulatory campaigns of the past (leaving out the embarrassing story of how he and his colleagues overturned Glass-Steagall and then watched the banking industry explode in a fireball of freedom).

Yah, so? The repeal of Glass-Stegall was a horrific mistake, shotgunned by an ideologue from Texas. That damn fool still doesn't get it. Ryan, we hope, DOES get it--now.

For that matter, Ryan will take shots over his GM bailout vote. So? Ryan represents a District which is damn near owned, lock-stock-barrel, by the UAW. His District 'had interests', to say the least.

...This was once a familiar line of criticism: Big business's sin was that it wasn't entrepreneurial enough. If given the opportunity, business would use government to form cartels and suppress competition. Free markets must thus be protected from the grasp of the corporate monster. The way to bring big business down is by deregulating even more.

If this sounds twisted and counter-intuitive, that's because it is.

Not really, although the rhetoric is cute.

The question is not 'whether or not to regulate.' The question begins here: "WHAT to regulate." If a business becomes so large that it is in the national interest to regulate it, then REGULATE it. If a business is too small to make a difference, who cares? Similarly, when a business becomes akin to a utility (e.g., ultra-large banks), more scrutiny, and perhaps more regulation, should be applied to it.

Why? Because, in fact, BigBiz DOES practice rent-seeking. BigBiz DOES do what it can to protect itself from competition. The latest example is the support of "tax-prep regulation" guessed it: H&R Block and Jackson/Hewitt.

It's also convenient that the author ignores the real problem: Big Gummint, which Ryan does NOT ignore.

Will that create a small-business-favorable environment? Yes.

Far more important: Ryan and his cohort, supported by damn near every citizen between the Appalachians and the Rockies except the ones in Chicago, are intent on dismantling Big Gummint.

You have a problem with that?

Democrats, for their part, will find it difficult to respond in kind, especially after having spent their first year delivering regal gifts to the insurance industry and dithering over the urgent matter of new financial regulation. Their friends in the labor movement, meanwhile, got a lump of coal.

Oh well, many Democrats probably figure. Those people have nowhere else to go.

Heh. Thanks for proving that Big Gummint is the wrong god to worship, fella.

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