The Ryan Pick

I like the pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate. Given where Romney comes from ideologically, I think it was the best pick he could make. But the media coverage of Ryan is going to be skewed badly because both Republicans and Democrats share a desire to portray Ryan as some sort of free market purist who believes in “slashing” government. He is nothing of the sort.

As Jesse Walker over at Reason points out, “On the economic front, he has backed the bank and auto bailouts, Medicare Part D, even Davis-Bacon. His reputation as a free-market stalwart rests on his exaggerated reputation as a budget hawk and his habit of praising Ayn Rand.” Of course, on the positive side of the ledger, of course, Ryan is one of the only politicians in Washington who seems to grasp the serious nature of our entitlement problem and is willing to propose specific reforms that address it.

Ryan, unlike myself, is no free market ideologue. Of course, he’s a politician and has to run for office. As a moderate reformer, he has outlined specific plans to return the United States to solvency (eventually). Unfortunately, he’s at the bottom of the ticket, not the top. The real question is whether Romney shares his VP-candidates views on reforming entitlements or whether he’s just throwing a bone to conservatives.