Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Video and transcript of the Paul Ryan speech at the GOP 2012 convention

Remarks by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan at the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Part 1 of 3:

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

Full text is here.

First excerpt on Obama’s stimulus waste:

Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work.  Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed.  Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty.  Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life.  Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.

So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus.  It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule.  It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.

It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal.

What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus?  More debt.  That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent.  You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.

But this president didn’t do that.  Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over.  That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money.  They needed more.  They needed hundreds of billions more.  So, they just took it all away from Medicare.  Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.  An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.  The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

And another on Obama’s spending and debt:

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.

It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis.

It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new.  Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made.  He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.”  He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and weneed to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House.  What’s missing is leadership in the White House.  And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old.  The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time.  Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.  One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems.  How did the president respond?  By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.

So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing.  In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.

They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

And one more on Obama’s assault on job creators:

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died.  She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison.  She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business.  It wasn’t just a new livelihood.  It was a new life.  And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past.  Her work gave her hope.  It made our family proud.  And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing.  All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.  A lot of heart goes into each one.  And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place.  Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning.  Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them.  After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit.  What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less.  That is enough.  The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

And one more on liberty and personal responsibility:

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.  Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now.  And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.  When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life.  I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself.  That’s what we do in this country.  That’s the American Dream.  That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

This was the speech of the convention, which is why I am blogging on it. Don’t miss it.

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Paul Ryan speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in May 2012

Since he’s the VP, I thought I’d post a recent long form video of Paul Ryan discussing economic policy. The introductions end at 6:30.

I recent blogged a few clips of Paul Ryan engaging with Democrats, in case you want to see him in action, as well

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Analyzing Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for VP

The Wall Street Journal says that Romney wanted to pair up criticism of the Obama economy with Paul Ryan’s reform plan.

Excerpt:

Mr. Romney is signaling that he realizes he needs a mandate if he is elected, which means putting his reform ideas before the American people for a clear endorsement. He is treating the public like grown-ups, in contrast to President Obama’s focus on divisive and personal character attacks.

The Ryan choice also suggests that Mr. Romney understands that to defeat Mr. Obama he’ll have to do more than highlight the President’s economic failures. He must also show Americans that he has a tangible, specific reform agenda that will produce faster growth and rising incomes.

Mr. Ryan is well equipped to help him promote such an agenda. The seven-term Congressman grew up in the GOP’s growth wing and supply-side ranks as a protege of Jack Kemp. Far from being a typical House Republican, he was a dissenter from the Tom DeLay do-little Congress in the last decade. He began talking about his reform blueprint in the George W. Bush years when everyone said he was committing political suicide.

[...]In Mr. Ryan, [Democrats] face a conservative advocate who knows the facts and philosophy of his arguments. He is well-liked and makes his case with a cheerful sincerity that can’t easily be caricatured as extreme. He carries his swing Wisconsin district easily though it often supports Democrats for President.

This may be why, in his meetings with House Republicans, Mr. Obama has always shied away from directly debating Mr. Ryan on health care and spending. He changed the subject or moved on to someone else. The President knows that Mr. Ryan knows more about the budget and taxes than he does, and that the young Republican can argue the issues in equally moral terms.

In moral terms, just like Arthur Brooks of the AEI urges conservatives to do.

The conclusion of the article explains Romney’s strategy:

In his remarks on Saturday in Norfolk, Mr. Ryan also hit on what is likely to be an emerging Romney theme: leadership that tells Americans the truth. “We will honor you, our fellow citizens, by giving you the right and opportunity to make the choice,” he said. “What kind of country do we want to have? What kind of people do we want to be?”

The underlying assumption is that at this moment of declining real incomes and national self-doubt, Americans won’t fall for the same old easy demagoguery. They want to hear serious ideas debated seriously. The contrast couldn’t be greater with a President who won’t run on his record and has offered not a single idea for a second term.

In choosing Mr. Ryan, Mr. Romney is betting that Americans know how much trouble their country is in, and that they will reward the candidate who pays them the compliment of offering solutions that match the magnitude of the problems.

Another editorial in the WSJ agrees that Ryan is there to provide a positive agenda.

Excerpt:

Mr. Ryan provides the crucial shift in emphasis, the opportunity to go on offense. We will now have a focus on, and explanation of, the choice between stagnation and renewal. This is what Mr. Ryan excels at—not just crafting ideas, but explaining them in a positive and serious way. This ability is why the congressman—despite his supposedly extremist reform blueprint and budget (says the left)—has continued to win a district that in 2010 went for Mr. Obama.

[...]The first pitch to… voters came with Mr. Romney’s introduction of Mr. Ryan on Saturday, in which the campaign made clear it intends to use this pick as a way of underlining the intellectual poverty of the Obama campaign. Mr. Romney spoke of Mr. Ryan’s “integrity,” his “seriousness,” his “intellectual leadership,” and his refusal to “demonize his opponents”—traits for which Mr. Ryan is well-known.

The introduction was designed to highlight the Obama campaign’s own relentless smear attacks, and its focus on the trivial. This is the first sign of Mr. Ryan’s influence, since the strategy is clearly modeled on the congressman’s own history of winning on ideas against opponents who resort to cheap attack.

My own view of this pick of Ryan is that he is exactly what the country needs. When you contrast Paul Ryan with a typical Democrat like that Georgetown feminist student who demanded that the taxpayers provide her with free contraceptives, then we win.

My previous post on Paul Ryan has some clips of him engaging with Democrats. He’s very, very good at it.

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Who is Paul Ryan? What are his political views and positions?

Let’s see whether Paul Ryan has what it takes to push the Tea Party agenda in a debate situation.

Paul Ryan vs Barack Obama:

Paul Ryan vs Debbie Wasserman-Schultz:

Paul Ryan vs Tim Geithner:

Paul Ryan against MSNBC leftist Chris Matthews:

Paul Ryan can really debate economic issues – he is the Chair of House Budge Committee, after all. The focus of this election will now be on the economy, where it belongs, and the Democrats will be forced to discuss specifics.

Not only can he debate, but he explains our economic situation well:

He can explain this stuff to you and I. He can explain this stuff to Democrats and Independents.

By the way, Paul Ryan has a perfect score on the pro-life issue, and he has even written about his pro-life views on his Congressional web site.

Here is an excerpt in which he contrasts the Supreme Court decision on abortion with the Supreme Court decision with racial discrimination:

Twice in the past the U.S. Supreme Court—charged with being the guardian of rights—has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination that it “disqualified” a whole category of human beings, with profoundly tragic results.

The first time was in the 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford. The Court held, absurdly, that Africans and their American descendants, whether slave or free, could not be citizens with a right to go to court to enforce contracts or rights or for any other reason. Why? Because “among the whole human race,” the Court declared, “the enslaved African race were not intended to be included…[T]hey had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In other words, persons of African origin did not “qualify” as human beings for purposes of protecting their natural rights. It was held that, since the white man did not recognize them as having such rights, they didn’t have them. The implication was that Africans were property—things that white persons could choose to buy and sell. In contrast, whites did “qualify,” so government protected their natural rights.

Every person in this country was wounded the day this dreadful opinion was handed down by this nation’s highest tribunal. It made a mockery of the American idea that human equality and rights were given by God and recognized by government, not constructed by governments or ethnic groups by consensus vote. The abhorrent decision directly led to terrible bloodshed and opened up a racial gap that has never been completely overcome. The second time the Court failed in a case regarding the definition of “human” was in Roe v. Wade in 1973, when the Supreme Court made virtually the identical mistake. At what point in time does a human being exist, the state of Texas asked. The Court refused to answer: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” In other words, the Court would not “qualify” unborn children as living persons whose human rights must be guaranteed.

Who wrote that? Scott Klusendorf? No – Paul Ryan!

He actually opposes focusing only on fiscal issues at the expense of social issues – this man is a man who social conservatives can get behind.

He is also solid on national defense.

Excerpt:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave a speech Thursday to the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington. If one is looking for clues as to Ryan’s interests beyond chairing the House Budget Committee, a speech, as he put it, to “a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy” would merit attention.

…Ryan delivered an above-the-fray talk on the subject of American uniqueness (a less loaded term) and the myth that American decline in inevitable. He posited, “Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power.”

Ryan contends that the debt crisis is not a bookkeeping problem or even simply a domestic problem; it is about maintaining our status as a superpower and about American values.

[...]He plainly is not with the cut-and-run set on Afghanistan. “Although the war has been long and the human costs high, failure would be a blow to American prestige and would reinvigorate al-Qaeda, which is reeling from the death of its leader. Now is the time to lock in the success that is within reach.” Nor can he be accused of wanting to “go it alone.” “The Obama administration has taken our allies for granted and accepted too willingly the decline of their capacity for international action. Our alliances were vital to our victory in the Cold War, and they need to be revitalized to see us through the 21st century.”

As for China, he bats down the idea that we should go along to get along… He’s clear that China has “very different values and interests from our own.”

And finally on defense spending, he rejects the sort of penny-pinching isolationism of Jon Huntsman or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.).

I have blogged about Paul Ryan continuously over the life of this blog – probably second only to Michele Bachmann. Definitely more than my other favorites Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal. I think it’s telling that Romney chose one of my 4 favorites.

So we are basically getting a full spectrum conservative (social, fiscal, defense) who can debate calmly and confidently, and with the support of evidence. Ryan also has a solidly middle-class background. I now predict a Romney-Ryan victory in November.

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A look at homeschooling and alternatives to college

I do think that college can still be a good deal as long as you are careful to choose a major that will re-coup the costs of your education in a timely fashion. That will probably mean a STEM degree in something like computer science or petroleum engineering. I myself have the BS and MS in computer science, and I think that those are excellent choices for a man to deliver on his obligation to provide for a family. But it was a much better deal back when tuition was very low, and salaries were very high. Plus, public schools used to me much better at preparing you to go to school to learn STEM subjects. These new problems: underperforming public schools, college debt, and a weak job market, it makes sense to consider alternatives to the mainstream education system.

Here’s an article about homeschooling – an alternative to brick-and-mortar schools – that was posted in the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Today in the U.S., some two million children are home schooled, growing at an annual rate of 7% to 15% for over a decade, according to the president of the National Home Education Research Institute. The term “home schooler” once implied “isolationist religious zealot” or “off-the-grid anarchist who makes her own yogurt.” Today, it also means military parents who hate to see their kids keep changing schools; or the family with a future Olympian who ice skates five hours a day; or your cousin whose daughter is gifted but has a learning disability. The average home schooler is no longer a sideshow oddity.

“I could never ever teach math,” more than a few parents told me in horror at the very idea of home schooling. Or science. Or a foreign language. But mostly, it was math. Here’s my secret: I can’t teach math either. Once they start calling them integers instead of numbers, I recoil as from a fat, angry snake, which is why Alice takes an online math class, with great lashings of help from her father.

But the biggest thing people want to talk about is socialization. Everyone is worried that I keep my child in a crate with three air holes punched in it and won’t let her have friends until she gets her AARP card. There’s a long answer, of course, but I’ll sum it up this way: Homo sapiens have walked the Earth for at least 130,000 years and, in this time, they learned to be human from their elders, not from their peers. Mandatory education in the U.S. is less than 150 years old. Learning to be a productive adult human by spending a third of every day with other kids might be a good idea, but it’s too soon to tell. I’m still unsure that the people best equipped to teach a 14-year-old boy how to be a man are other 14-year-old boys.

In fact, home-schooled kids are just as socialized as other children. They certainly seem to grow up to be, and feel, fully engaged. One study, by a Canadian home-schooling group, found that 67% of formerly home-schooled adult respondents said they are “very happy,” as opposed to the general population’s 43%. Another study, published in the Journal of College Admission, found that home-schooled students perform better on their ACTs, have higher college GPAs and are more likely to graduate in four years.

So how far would you go with alternatives to mainstream education? Well, the smartest engineer I know doesn’t even have a college degree in computer science – or the student loans that often go with them.

Just look at these numbers: (links removed)

Across the nation, graduates are tossing their caps into the air and investing their hopes of success in their sheepskins. Not since the Magna Carta has so much faith been put into a piece of paper; indeed, belief in the college diploma seems these days to outpace belief in the document that binds a man and a woman. For the past couple of generations, conventional wisdom has said that a college degree is the golden ticket to a great job. For a time, because of the simple laws of supply and demand, this was true.

In 1947, when just 5 percent of Americans age 25 and over held at least a bachelor’s degree, the supply was low, making demand for degreed employees higher. However, with easier access to college through taxpayer-funded student loans, today’s bachelor’s degree has become yesterday’s high-school diploma. Now that over 30 percent of Americans 25 and over have a college degree—and the President has called for that figure to grow to 60 percent—the supply is up, which might help explain why 53 percent of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

What’s more, the burgeoning cost of college means that even for those who do land good jobs after graduation, payoff on their investment will be diminished and take more time. The graduation rates tripled between 1980 and 2010, rising 37 percent between 1999 and 2010. Two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993. The average debt for last year’s college was $24,000, while the total outstanding national student debt has passed $1 trillion, more than the nation’s credit card debt. Not surprisingly then, the national student loan default rate is on the rise, too, hitting 8.8 percent for the 2009 budget year. Even the number of Ph.D. holders on public assistance has made recent headlines.

College still works for people, but you have to choose your major more carefully – or just choose to focus on practical skills and then attend a trade school. It’s probably a good idea to put more emphasis on getting work experience at an early age, no matter what you do after high school. Work experience is very important for getting a job, which is why the liberal fixation on higher minimum wage rates hurts younger workers. Sometimes, online degree options can be more cost effective than regular school, but again work has to be done to see where the jobs are and what skills are required before you make a decision.

People sometimes ask me whether this is it for civilization, and I point to new discoveries and feedback mechanisms like these alternatives to government-run or government-regulated schools as an example of how we can get things turned around. What taxpaying parents need to realize is that they have to start thinking practically about laws and policies that promote freedom in education. We have to vote for more choice and competition, and lower taxes, so that we can buy what we want instead of letting an ideologue who has spent his or her entire life in a bubble decide for us.

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