Before we talk about how Paul Ryan is a pseudo believer in small government, I find it prudent to at least mention a simple statement: Ryan is not a horrible pick. A true Libertarian Mr. Ryan is not, but then again, he’s a far cry from Mitt Romney and his “less than small government” agenda he set forth as governor of Massachusetts.
One of the bigger criticisms of Paul Ryan is that of his proposed budget, which does cut some spending, but most small government activists believe the Ryan budget to fall short of instituting true reform. Others point to the budget and are thankful that the Wisconsin Congressman at least put forth something on which to debate. Small victories, I guess, in today’s political world of virtually no progress.
Ryan voted in favor of a $15b bailout to General Motors as well as another $192b in so-called “anti-recession” spending. Ryan supports using the Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman and supports a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Ryan supports making the Patriot Act permanent as well as an initiative to allow electronic surveillance without a warrant.
Ryan supported the military invasion of Iraq in 2002 and voted in favor of the nearly $80b in emergency spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ryan was not in support of bringing our troops home back in 2007 (and again in 2011) and previously voted to allow indefinite stationing of troops in Iraq as part of our nation’s supposed “War on Terror”.
Ryan does offer some better qualities. For example, Ryan voted to terminate funding for National Public Radio in 2011. In 2000, he supported a $46b tax cut plan for small businesses in the U.S. and generally supports the concept of tax simplification, as well as a nearly $400b deduction in marriage taxes over 10 years.
But, Ryan’s support of propositions like the Patriot Act, DOMA, TARP and a wide variety of wasted stimulus spending leaves a lot to be desired in Paul Ryan’s support of small government. Again, not a horrible pick, but definitely nothing too encouraging when it comes to his actual voting record that Libertarians and small government activists could hang their hat on.