Paul Ryan’s retirement from Congress marks the end for one of the most prominent Republicans of his generation. Even before taking the role of Speaker of the House, Ryan had managed to become, in the words of Mitt Romney, the “intellectual leader” of the post-Bush GOP. Unfortunately Ryan’s story can be seen as nothing but a tragedy. By all accounts he is a good-natured man, but one who ended up betraying almost all the causes he claimed to care about.
The legend of Paul Ryan begins when he was a college student studying economics and political science. As his enemies in DC love to remind us, he was inspired by the works of Ayn Rand. He may have even been exposed to the works of Hayek and Mises. He ended up as an intern in DC before eventually catching the eye of Jack Kemp, who would become his mentor, and inspired him to embrace the role of a reform-minded conservative when he entered Congress in 1998.
Paul Ryan ran for office at a time when the Federal government was running budget surpluses. He won over his Wisconsin district with simple mid-western values: promising to shore up social security, simplify the tax code, and reduce the Federal bureaucracy.
(Courtesy of the Mises Institute in Auburn)