Yaron and I tackle the sequester, over at Politix:
The sequester debate is a national embarrassment - though not for the reasons you might think.
We are debating whether shaving a few percent off the government’s bloated budget will bring the country to its knees. It’s a good thing the Founders are long dead, because if George Washington or James Madison saw this, they would regard it as a shameful farce.
A few percent off the budget? Their question would be: What happened to the idea of principled limitson government - limits which, if adhered to, would mean reducing the size of government more on the order of 60 percent, 70 percent, or more?
Whole thing here.
Our latest Forbes.com column looks at last Thursday’s debate. Bottom line? Rand’s defense of the free market was nowhere to be found.
Paul Ryan has been called the “Ayn Rand candidate,” owing to his praise of Rand’s philosophic novel Atlas Shrugged. But her name, and more importantly, her ideas, were absent from last Thursday’s debate.
That should bother those of us concerned about the growth of government intervention in the economy. Rand’s defense of free-market capitalism is potent stuff. Since President Obama was elected, Atlas—which celebrates its fifty-fifth anniversary this month—has sold nearly two million copies. No other thinker in the last century has done more to change people’s minds about markets.
What makes Rand so powerful is that she is not a timid apologist for the free market, but an idealistic champion of it.
First thoughts on the debate? I wish there was one.
In his closing statement, Paul Ryan said that Americans face a choice between two different visions of America. But you wouldn’t know it from the debate. Neither candidate took a stand for limited government.
What you saw instead was two Big Government politicians quibbling over the details of how to regulate, tax, and redistribute other people’s money.
Take the issue of entitlements, which is the issue Ryan made his name on. We all know the Obama administration wants to expand entitlements. Did Ryan come out and demand that we cut them? No. Instead he went on about how important and noble these programs are and how vital it is to save them.
The best statement on how to fix the economy actually came from Biden, who urged several times: “Get out of the way!” Biden, unfortunately, was referring to Republicans getting out of the way of the left’s policies. The real key to fixing the economy is to get the government out of the way. But neither candidate advocated for that.
Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate. In one corner will be Paul Ryan, whose appreciation of Atlas Shrugged has led some to label him the “Ayn Rand candidate.” In the other corner is Joe Biden, who as far as I know has never been accused of being overly influenced by a philosopher. In any case, Yaron and I will no doubt have a lot to say about the ideas raised in tonight’s debate. In the meantime, here is some of our existing commentary on Ryan and Rand.
I’ve talked about the destructiveness of package-deals on this blog before. I got a chance to talk about a number of different package-deals with Mike Slater, including the package-deal of “the rich” and “the poor” lurking beneath Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments.