When I saw that Paul Ryan was doing an interview with far left-winger Ezra Klein at the WAPO, I wasn’t wild about the idea because Klein is a diehard partisan. However, I think Ryan did an excellent job of explaining conservative ideas about the economy in the interview.
Ezra Klein: It’s clear now that there’ll be no more deficit-financed stimulus coming out of Congress. And Republicans, of course, could well take the House in the next election. So with unemployment still near 10 percent, what does the GOP want to do? If stimulus isn’t the solution, what is?
Paul Ryan: I know uncertainty is a new economic buzzword, but for good reason: If we can reduce it, we’ll unlock capital. I’d revisit some of the major issues over the last year. Health care, energy, taxes, financial regulation. I’m not saying these aren’t important issues. We need to reform the health-care system. But these are the wrong solutions. I would advance different solutions with an eye toward international competitiveness and encouraging saving and investing and encouraging certainty.
Then there’s our borrowing. If you look at the deficit, the problem is spending, not taxes. Revenues will come back up. At the end of the day, I’m not a Keynesian, but even Keynesians would agree that raising taxes in this economy is a bad idea. So if it’s helpful for me to concede to that section of Keynesian doctrine, fine. Let’s do that. I really do believe that locking in budget reforms and spending control will help us in the short run by taking pressure off interest rates and monetary policy. Spending control is pro-growth in this age of sovereign debt crises.
The “uncertainty” angle is one Klein obviously doesn’t agree with, because he kept going back to it, but you’ve got to look at it from the perspective of a business owner.