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Paul Ryan’s Way Forward


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paul-ryans-way-forward-george-willNational Review:

To take the measure of this uncommonly interesting public man, begin with two related facts about him. Paul Ryan has at least 67 cousins in his Wisconsin hometown of Janesville, where there are six Ryan households within eight blocks of his home. And in his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, he says something few politicians say, which is why so many are neither trusted nor respected. Ryan says he was wrong.

 

At a Wisconsin 4-H fair in 2012, Ryan encountered a Democrat who objected to what then was one of Ryan’s signature rhetorical tropes — his distinction between “makers” and “takers,” the latter being persons who receive more in government spending than they pay in taxes. He had been struck by a report that 60 percent of Americans were already — this was before Obamacare — “net receivers.” But his encounter at the fair reminded him that, for a while, he and many people he cared about had been takers, too.

 

 

The morning after a night “working the Quarter Pounder grill at McDonald’s,” Ryan, 16, found his father, who had been troubled by alcohol, dead in bed. Janesville’s strong sinews of community sustained Ryan and his mother; so did Social Security survivor benefits. When GM’s Janesville assembly plant closed, draining about $220 million of annual payroll from a town of 60,000, many relatives, friends and constituents needed the social safety net — unemployment compensation, job training, etc.Scissors-32x32.png


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