Why would someone who believes in limited government choose to work in government? That's one of the mysteries surrounding Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick.
Throughout his 14 years in Congress, the Wisconsin Republican has championed the individualist philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." He even credited her with the reason he got involved in public service in the first place.
"If I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," Ryan said in a 2005 speech to a group of Ayn Rand followers at the Atlas Society. "The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."
Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, says some of Ryan's proposals — including his controversial budget — do not follow Rand's philosophy of limited government. The Ryan budget would reduce the size of the federal government from 24% of GDP to around 20% by cutting many government programs — primarily for the poor — as well as taxes — primarily for the rich. But Brook says he would like to see even bigger cuts in government spending and Medicare.
"I don't think Ryan, even in his political philosophy, is as radical as I am or as radical as Ayn Rand would be," says Brook in an interview with The Daily Ticker. "Maybe he is in terms of his long-term vision and is just a practical politician."
Even though Brook says Ryan's plan is "nowhere near" what the economy needs to save it from a "debt disaster," he is quick to defend it against attacks."It brings expenses back to 2008 levels," he says. He's also "shocked" that Ryan's plan has been criticized so severely.
According to Rand, government "doesn't regulate business [and] doesn't redistribute wealth" but what it does do have is "a strong police force, a strong judiciary to arbitrate disputes and a military to protect us from outside invasions," says Brook. "Other than that (government should) leave us to pursue our happiness...leave us alone."
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