The Right Opinion

The Paul Ryan Choice

By Thomas Sowell · Aug. 14, 2012

Governor Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate is one of those decisions that seem obvious – if not inevitable – in retrospect, even though it was by no means obvious to most of us beforehand.

Anyone who wants to get a quick sense of who Paul Ryan is should watch a short video of a February 2010 meeting in which Congressman Ryan politely, but devastatingly, “schools” Barack Obama on the utter fraudulence of the statistics that the Obama administration was using to claim that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. That video is available on the Drudge Report.

As a long-time member, and now chairman, of the Budget Committee in the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan is thoroughly familiar with both the facts and the fictions in the federal government’s budget. In recent years, the fictions have grown much bigger than the facts. But, as Congressman Ryan reminded the president, hiding spending is not the same as reducing spending.

If this year’s election is going to be decided on the basis of hard facts, the Obama administration is doomed. But the Obama campaign is well aware of that, which is why we are hearing so many distracting innuendoes and outright lies about such peripheral issues as what Mitt Romney is supposed to have done while running Bain Capital – or even what is supposed to have happened at Bain Capital, years after Mitt Romney was long gone.

The Obama campaign’s big smear, about how Romney is supposed to have caused a woman to die of cancer, has been exposed as a lie by CNN, hardly a Republican network. What smears like this show is that the Obama administration cannot run on its track record, so it has to run on distractions from the country’s real problems.

When Senator Harry Reid claims that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid his income taxes, and demands that Governor Romney disprove this unsubstantiated allegation, that raises an obvious question as to why the Internal Revenue Service has not prosecuted Romney, instead of leaving that to a partisan politician in an election year.

What makes this a farce is that Senator Reid himself has not released his own income tax records, while claiming that Romney’s release of only two years of his income tax records is not enough, even though it has been enough for other candidates in other years.

If Mitt Romney releases all his tax records going back to his childhood, it will not put a stop to this fishing expedition, much less bring an apology when those records show nothing illegal. It will just provide more material for making more distracting claims to change the subject from the track record of the Obama administration.

When Ronald Reagan ran against President Jimmy Carter back in 1980, he asked the question that should be asked of the voters when any president is seeking reelection: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Four years later, when Reagan ran for reelection, he implicitly asked and answered that same question in a campaign commercial titled “Morning in America,” which listed the ways the country was better off than it had been four years earlier. Don’t look for any “Morning in America” ads from Obama. “Mourning in America” might be more appropriate.

This election is a test, not just of the opposing candidates but of the voting public. If what they want are the hard facts about where the country is, and where it is heading, they cannot vote for more of the same for the next four years.

But, if what they want is emotionally satisfying rhetoric and a promise to give them something for nothing, to be paid for by taxing somebody else, then Obama is their man. This is not to say that the public will in fact get something for nothing or that rich people will just pay higher taxes, when it is easy for them to escape taxation by investing overseas – creating jobs overseas.

Even if most Americans do not have their own taxes raised, that means little, if they end up paying other people’s taxes in the higher prices of goods and services that pass along the higher taxes imposed on businesses.

There are no doubt voters who will vote on the basis of believing that Obama “cares” more about them. But that is a faith which passeth all understanding. The political mirage of something for nothing, from leaders who “care,” has ruined many a nation.



Kirk in Marylnd said:

Paul Ryan - short video from February 2010.
Find it at:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

A Concerned Citizen in Hilton, NY replied:

That was fantastic! I love the look on obummer's face. Well worth seeing as a prelude to the coming debates.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

India in GA replied:

Thanks for the link, Kirk.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Kris in Florida said:

Pepin, instead of resorting to extraneous and condescending blather, how about you come up with some objective rebuttals to either Dr. Sowell or wjm?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

hank in maryland said:

There is no point disputing liberal Democrats with facts. Their minds are immovably made up. If you try you will notice their thousand yard stare.. I know, I have tired.

Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM

MAJ USA Ret in Saint Louis said:

The worst effect of Senator Reid's outrageous demands and the main stream media's magpie echoes is the number of people that believe a rich person can get away without filing income taxes for ten years without prosecution or without any adverse consequences.
To make matters worse, these gullible persons fail to consider that if these allegations were true, the current Democrat administration could certainly expose the truth without delay. The IRS works for this administration. This administration could easily order an investigation. While full disclosure may be restricted by law, certainly the simple fact that a citizen did or did not file income tax statements as required by law is not prohibited public knowledge. And we know it is a federal crime to fail to file income taxes.
The fact our main stream news media promulgates such ludicrous assertions as newsworthy is evidence this media is either corrupt to the core, or so incompetently ignorant not to be entrusted with the news. I conclude they are corrupt. I see little evidence the media is ignorant. However, they manipulate the truth to an astonishingly ignorant electorate which is naively following it like doomed lemmings to the sea.

Monday, August 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Ted Gambogi in Dunlap said:

For months I’ve wondered why has Obama abandoned the independent vote? After all it was they who elected him. I watched as he returned to his base and rallied them to hate big business once again along with anyone bearing the GOP moniker. Independents don’t like conflict and Obama was driving them away but promoting conflict. Then came Biden’s alleged “gaffe” about putting you back in chains. The conservative press was outraged but the liberal press and Obama was subdued. At first I thought “they must be idiots not to disavow Joe’s incendiary outburst.” But, then it came to me. Obama and his axis of evil Axelrod, Plouffe, and Soros are trying their best to make this the dirtiest campaign in history because independents won’t vote at all when their feeling is “A pox on both their houses.” Axelrod’s strategy is not to abandon the independent vote but to suppress it and count on his virulent liberal base along with illegal immigrants to carry the day.

Monday, August 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM