Russ Roberts: The Political Circus

One reason I haven’t read [’s Roadmap for America] is that it’s not a real roadmap. A roadmap is the path you plan to take. Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America is more like the plan he’d like me to think he’s going to take. Which is not the same thing.

Paul Ryan Caricature

Paul Ryan Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Russ Roberts is an economics professor at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, which means that he is a conservative, probably an economist, and that he has a special gift of insight. This brief article of his illustrates all of this:

[Ryan’s Roadmap is] like a car company that sends me a brochure for their new car. The car looks fantastic: 80 mpg, safer than a tank, has a twenty year warranty, parks itself, has tons of leg room in the back and trunk but it’s smaller than a normal-sized sedan. And it’s only $12,000.

This is dreamland. No, this is fantasyland. Here’s the catch: you can’t buy one:

I’ll take one, I say. Or at least I’d like to test-drive one. Sorry, says the car company. It won’t be ready until January, 2013!

But his analogy is apt. We don’t buy cars this way. But we’re sold politicians this way!

Here’s is Ryan’s sales pitch:

It’s easy to say you’re going to get government down to 20% of GDP. I’d prefer a smaller number, but that’s a start.

But when he doesn’t tell me how he’s going to do it, it’s like saying you’re going to sell me a car that doesn’t exist but when it does exist it’s going to get 200 mpg and still be a functional gasoline-powered car that seats six and not a lawn mower.

Before I order one, I’d like to know how he’s going to manage that.

When he says he has a plan to create 12 million in the next four years, I really don’t feel well at all.

Don’t look too closely at the brochure, and for Heaven’s sake don’t look at the fine print. If you do, you’ll see the scam:

It’s a beautiful brochure but I’ve seen so many of those brochures before.

And they’ve always disappointed.  There is no such car. And there is no such plan.

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