On Friday, I had the opportunity to see Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. While waiting for Ryan to arrive I spoke with Andy East, an ardent Ryan supporter who works at a packaging supply company in the area. East said he’s voting Romney- Ryan because they “[support] agriculture and the family culture deeply rooted in the valley, and smaller government.” Most of the people in the crowd seemed to agree—many wore hats that said “Coal=Jobs” and nearly everyone was decked out in Romney gear. In his speech, Ryan, like pretty much every major politician in recent memory, spoke about his goal of energy independence. He called the coal industry a “jobs machine,” to great cheers from the crowd.
Ryan also discussed a need to cut federal spending for both the benefit of future generations and the economy today. To my disappointment, he failed to mention any cuts, and instead reiterated his belief that the United States needs a still-stronger military. Ryan’s statement that he and Romney “believe in peace through strength” made it sound like our enormous military presence worldwide is keeping us safer, when recent events seem to indicate otherwise.
The high point of Ryan’s speech was his criticism of the Federal Reserve’s pledge of more quantitative easing, which will inevitably lead to more inflation. Ryan’s statement that “sugar high economics is no substitute for pro-growth economics” was on point and gave a libertarian like me something to agree with him about.