I have to object pretty strongly to Jonathan’s first reason for liking the Paul Ryan pick–I believe the characterization of Paul Ryan as a policy wonk is an affront to policy wonks of all stripes.
As Mr. Allen very astutely characterized, Ryan is an ideologue–which is perfectly fine! He is a politician, that is the best thing for an ideologue to be! However, it frustrates me to no end when people say that Paul Ryan is driven by policy. He is clearly not.
Like most other people, he is driven by a set of core beliefs in which he has faith. They were also illuminated by Mr. Allen: tax cuts always stimulate, and government spending is fundamentally bad.
My biggest problem with Mr. Ryan is that he tries to use policy research and econometrics (my fields of study) to justify his beliefs. Here is an example of what frustrates me: when I was getting my Masters degree in public policy, we had a class which was essentially about how to be a non-partisan research staffer for a legislative branch. One of the lessons we had was about how to deal with policy makers who try to rig the rules of the game to get their research staffs to achieve the conclusions that they want, rather than conclusions that reflect reality. The example for the class? Paul Ryan. (The issue at hand was his 2010 “Roadmap”, for which he asked the CBO to ignore all possible economic effects of his tax cuts, because, as Mr. Allen states above, he believes tax cuts to be stimulatory.)
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