A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
'Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.' - Groucho Marx

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  1. #1

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    Florida Atlantic

    Default CATO Institute: Does it Matter that Paul Ryan is on the GOP Ticket?

    Interesting read from CATO, and highlights the pros & cons of the Ryan selection. I do disagree that no ticket has ever failed because of the VP selection - I think that's precisely why the McCain/Palin ticket failed, or at least a big reason why.

    Anyway, here is the article:

    Does It Matter that Paul Ryan Is on the GOP Ticket?

    Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

    The honest answer is that it probably means nothing. I don’t think there’s been an election in my lifetime that was impacted by the second person on a presidential ticket.

    And a quick look at Intrade.com shows that Ryan’s selection hasn’t (at least yet) moved the needle. Obama is still in the high 50s.

    Moreover, the person who becomes Vice President usually plays only a minor role in Administration policy.

    With those caveats out of the way, the Ryan pick is mostly good news.

    Here are the reasons why I’m happy.

    • I think Ryan genuinely believes in small government, low tax rates, and free markets. Heck, he’s even read Ayn Rand, and is willing to admit that he likes her writings.
    • Ryan put together a good budget and got the Republican Party to rally around the plan – a remarkable achievement considering that the same GOPers had just spent 8 years supporting the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Bush Administration.
    • He understands that not all entitlement reform is created equal. Instead of supporting means-testing (which produces implicit higher marginal tax rates) and unsustainable price controls, Ryan got his colleagues to support Medicaid block grants and premium support (or vouchers) for Medicare.
    • Ryan is a proponent of the flat tax and can competently discuss not only the importance of low tax rates, but also why double taxation is misguided and why it’s wrong to use the tax code to pick winners and losers.


    Here are two reasons why I’m worried.

    • Both Romney and Ryan are somewhat sympathetic to a value-added tax. My worst-case scenario is they win the election, but then can’t get a good budget approved because of some squishy Republican senators who put self interest above national interest. Romney and Ryan then decide that this European-style national sales tax is the only way – on paper – of making the budget balance. In reality, of course, we’ll suffer the same fate as Europe since the VAT revenues will be used to finance ever-larger government.
    • Ryan has some very bad votes in his past, including support for TARP, the auto bailout, the no-bureaucrat-left-behind education legislation, and the reckless Medicare prescription drug entitlement. Everyone says to ignore those votes because Ryan knew he was voting the wrong way, but if he’s already made some deliberately bad decisions for political reasons, what’s to stop him from making more deliberately bad decisions for political reasons?

    But as I said above, don’t read too much into Ryan’s selection. if Republicans win, Romney will be the one calling the shots.

    Though this does give Ryan a big advantage the next time there’s an open contest for the GOP nomination – either 2016 or 2020
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  2. #2

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    George Mason

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    I disagree with his opinion on the role of the vice president.

    I think Dick Cheney had far more influence on the Bush administration than Mr. Mitchell is giving credit. Now - that may be the extreme exception, but I think it's important to note.

    Also, I consider myself relatively undecided. Prior to the Ryan selection I was pretty sure that I was going to vote for Obama, I just wasn't sure I could stomach pulling the lever for Romney. The Ryan selection has given me a different perspective and now I'm not entire shore, and may have already drifted back to my natural position of just-right-of-center and leaning on voting Romney - something that truly shocks me...

    I may be in the minority, or a rare exception myself, but if I could be swayed then I am forced to think others who were relatively undecided may also be swayed, which goes counter to Mr. Mitchell saying that the VP pick has little impact.

    If his assessment of the value-added-tax is correct then I can't wait to see the democrats throwing around the european-socialism commercials at the republicans. it'll be funny to watch.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    I am intrigued by Ryan's support of the flat tax, and might be one reason I would vote for them; of course only if Romney adds it to his platform (which I highly doubt he will).

    Not like my vote in Texas matters either way...Romney/Ryan will carry the lone star state no matter what I do.
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    James Madison

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    I would actually rather vote for Ryan, I just have a "meh" feeling about Romney. Not sure why everyone is so excited about him, I don't see a ton of differentiation between he and Obama.

    Ryan though is intriguing to me. I would want to learn more about him and see him in action, but I have a feeling I would be more likely to vote for just him.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    I would actually rather vote for Ryan, I just have a "meh" feeling about Romney. Not sure why everyone is so excited about him, I don't see a ton of differentiation between he and Obama.

    Ryan though is intriguing to me. I would want to learn more about him and see him in action, but I have a feeling I would be more likely to vote for just him.
    Yeah, Romney is basically Obama, except lying about his conservatism.
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  6. #6

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    George Mason

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    I'm not entirely familiar with Ryan's flat tax idea. Does it include deductions? I LOVE the flat tax idea, but i think it only works if you get rid of deductions. Thanks in advance, and sorry for being lazy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    Yeah, Romney is basically Obama, except lying about his conservatism.
    Or Obama is basically Bush, except lying about his liberalism.
    Do we really know who any of them are ?
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    Florida Atlantic

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    Quote Originally Posted by tshile View Post
    I'm not entirely familiar with Ryan's flat tax idea. Does it include deductions? I LOVE the flat tax idea, but i think it only works if you get rid of deductions. Thanks in advance, and sorry for being lazy
    I'm not sure myself, but I think most flat tax ideas get rid of deductions automatically, do they not?
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    George Mason

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    I'm not sure myself, but I think most flat tax ideas get rid of deductions automatically, do they not?
    that depends. i would argue that the people who want to keep deductions are trying to tip the scales in favor of the people with more money, but that's just my opinion.

    i think doing it and keeping deductions defeats the purpose in many ways. my primary reasoning for it is the simplicity it brings... deductions keeps the complexity i hate about our current system.
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    Florida Atlantic

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    Quote Originally Posted by tshile View Post
    that depends. i would argue that the people who want to keep deductions are trying to tip the scales in favor of the people with more money, but that's just my opinion.

    i think doing it and keeping deductions defeats the purpose in many ways. my primary reasoning for it is the simplicity it brings... deductions keeps the complexity i hate about our current system.
    Yeah, eliminating deductions and simplifying the tax code are major ideologies of the flat tax, I thought. Maybe I am confusing it with the fair tax however.
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  11. #11

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    James Madison

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    My understanding has always been no deductions at all, everyone pays the same percentage. Wiki backs this up:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_tax
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    George Mason

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    Yeah, eliminating deductions and simplifying the tax code are major ideologies of the flat tax, I thought. Maybe I am confusing it with the fair tax however.
    Never heard of the fair tax. The name alone makes me roll my eyes

    From wikipedia:
    "Ryan's proposed budget would also have allowed taxpayers to opt out of the federal income taxation system with itemized deductions, and instead pay a flat 10 percent of adjusted gross income up to $100,000 and 25 percent on any remaining income.[57] Ryan's proposed budget was criticized by opponents for the lack of concrete numbers.[58] It was ultimately rejected in the House by a vote of 293–137, with 38 Republicans in opposition.[59]"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ry...cal_philosophy

    It's wikipedia so, yeah you know how that goes.

    I'm not entirely sure the right number for 10%, but I certainly think that a flat tax is a better solution. I feel like majority of the issue with tax debates is the complexity that causes misunderstandings, lies, deception, etc. They swing numbers around like we're supposed to know if they're lying or not, when truth be told i think a lot of them don't even know if they're lying or not...

    I think a flat tax solves that issue - if we're all paying 10% flat tax, and see we're not getting from the government what we want/need, we can easily and simply discuss an increase in a fair, objective way.

    Right now we can't even agree whether or not capital gains are double taxed or not... and thats a relatively simple issue in the grand scheme of things.
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  13. #13

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    James Madison

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    From wikipedia:
    "Ryan's proposed budget would also have allowed taxpayers to opt out of the federal income taxation system with itemized deductions, and instead pay a flat 10 percent of adjusted gross income up to $100,000 and 25 percent on any remaining income.[57] Ryan's proposed budget was criticized by opponents for the lack of concrete numbers.[58] It was ultimately rejected in the House by a vote of 293–137, with 38 Republicans in opposition.[59]"
    "Lack of concrete numbers?" What the **** does that mean?
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  14. #14

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    George Mason

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    Well the reference on wikipedia points to this article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...040402579.html

    I don't have time to read the entire thing but it seems the plan was rushed and that didn't sit well with some people:
    "Privately, Cantor and the lawmaker tasked with writing the GOP budget, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), had urged the party to hold off going public until it could produce a finished product. Both men wanted a more detailed proposal with dollar figures that would make it a more defensible document. Boehner and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) disagreed, hoping to counter as quickly as possible Democrats' charge that Republicans are "the Party of No." The result was a botched rollout and bad press."

    Note, it wasn't Ryan that rushed it.
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    George Mason

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    Also, if i remember correctly (which I certainly may not) the concrete numbers were in terms of how it would impact the budget and justificatio for the 10/25 numbers ryan was proposing.

    Which goes back to my original statement - the current system is so convoluted they cant even agree on how much money we would or wouldn't lose in revenue if we switched to a flat tax system at 10/25 with 100k being the cut-over mark...
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  16. #16

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    James Madison

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    Gotcha. Boehner is... well, he needs to go. Completely inneffectual, imo. Doesn't surprise me to read that he screwed something up. I would like to have seen the fully complete, polished Ryan budget presentation that wasn't rushed.
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  17. #17
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    I think VP is a tipping point. If all things are equal than the VP matters. I think Obama would have won because of the banking crisis and Bush fatigue, but he won by the margin he did because people were honestly scared of Palin. I remember quite a few Republicans saying they couldn't vote for McCain because of her.

    That said, it should be much less of an issue with Romney. Why? He's younger, so people are much less concerned with the veep taking over. On the other side, people don't know what Romney stands for. Ryan stands for something very clear and stands for it in a very strong way. It could be then that Ryan gets to define the President. If that's the case, then Ryan has an enormous impact on the election.

    Ideologically, Ryan is an interesting question for the electorate. He potentially represents a very different way of understanding and doing government. Unless, his prior bills were grandstanding and put forth to send a message while being safe in the knowledge that they couldn't pass. I don't think that the latter is the case with him. I think this is a part of his philosophy and that's important because this nation does need an honest debate.

    I doubt we'll get one, but it is one that we are long overdue for. Could you imagine though if we really wrestled with ideas as rational adults and not tempermental bad natured spoiled kids? (And yes, I'm talking about you, Mr. Boehner and Mrs. Pelosi)
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    James Madison

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    Nice post, Burgy. I agree. I suspect Obama will spend a few weeks trying to tear Ryan down (because that is what elections have deteriorated to), and after that is successful to a degree, he will then have to spend time and money reminding people that Ryan is not actually running for President, but instead is the inconsequential (in his ads) VP. I think most of the American public holds a similar view of Mitt as that which you outlined above. This was a very nice choice for the Romney campaign, imo.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by burgold View Post
    I think VP is a tipping point. If all things are equal than the VP matters. I think Obama would have won because of the banking crisis and Bush fatigue, but he won by the margin he did because people were honestly scared of Palin. I remember quite a few Republicans saying they couldn't vote for McCain because of her.

    burg, I am not trying to attack you but this is so far from the reality of the '08 election it's not funny.

    Obama's team...David Axelrod in particular, put on the best campaign in modern history. They paraded Obama around and at every turn and made him look Presidential, going so far as to put him in front of a lectern that had a symbol that resembled the President's Seal.

    On the other hand, McCain ran one of the worst campaigns and Axelrod painted him as the frail war monger who was incapable of delivering us from the "Bush disaster" while linking him to Bush every step of the way. The small details were lost on McCain and his team, dressing him up and using every tool available, like twitter.

    The Obama victory had nothing...or shall I say very little to do with Sarah Palin.
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    The more things change...the more they stay the same. It's like deja vu all over again.

  20. #20
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    I agree that McCain ran a terrible campaign, but don't underestimate the negative impact Palin had. She really did turn a tremendous number of people off outside of the hardest Republican core.

    It's always many issues though, even if we try to address only one or two aspects.
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