The Veep and the Stakes

by Mark Steyn

My weekend column was, as they say, overtaken by events, and pretty dramatically so. But, given that its central point was that multi-trillion-dollar spendaholic government is an existential threat, if it had to be overtaken by events, I’d rather it was overtaken by Paul Ryan than by almost anyone else.

Republicans won big in 2010 because the issues were front and center. In presidential years, personalities tend to be front and center, and, for whatever reason, the GOP is prone to problems on that front. Putting Ryan on a national ticket ensures that the critical issue of our age will be on the ballot this November. Whatever the outcome, it has the measure of the times, and for that I salute Romney. If the Democrats are frantically trying to reduce Ryan to his plan, then Obama is the no-plan candidate, and we’ll see how that pans out.

I have a lot of favorite Ryan moments, but this is one of them:

At the House Budget Committee on Thursday, Chairman Paul Ryan produced another chart, this time from the Congressional Budget Office, with an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075. America’s treasury secretary, Timmy Geithner the TurboTax Kid, thought the chart would have been even more hilarious if they’d run the numbers into the next millennium: “You could have taken it out to 3000 or to 4000” he chortled, to supportive titters from his aides. Has total societal collapse ever been such a non-stop laugh riot?

“Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.”

The U.S. economy shuts down in 2027? Had you heard about that?

Now we will. If the American people vote for the no-plan team, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

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