Though I’m sympathetic to Ryan’s vision — I really think that increasing household income growth should be our central goal, and that the best way to achieve this growth sustainably is to embrace the deregulation of the labor market (i.e., the rollback of licensing restrictions, etc.) and of (most) product markets, to improve the efficiency of the public sector, and to improve work incentives by reforming the tax code and social insurance programs — my goal was not so much to make the case for Ryanism as to explain the basic idea behind it. Critics of Ryanism see cuts in federal expenditures for programs devoted to aiding the non-elderly poor as an attack on the non-elderly poor; what they fail to understand is that maintaining or increasing current levels of spending on programs devoted to aiding the non-elderly poor isn’t necessarily the best, and is certainly not the only imaginable, strategy for encouraging upward absolute mobility.
For a different take on the Ryan budget, I strongly recommend the scrupulously fair-minded breakdown provided by Loren Adler and Shai Akabas of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
KEYWORDS: NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE