As you likely know by now, Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate. It’s an interesting pick, but a risky one in my opinion. Ryan is best known for the Ryan Plan to slash the size of government. I’ve already made my peace on the Ryan Plan – I think it’s a dangerous ideologically driven proposal that shrinks government spending during a balance sheet recession and risks turning us into Japan. And this is the core problem I have with Ryan. He just doesn’t understand our monetary system despite chairing the House Finance Committee. He says all the things that sound right in theory (and better in a political speech), but are just totally wrong in reality. For instance, he has repeatedly stated why he thinks the USA is at risk of becoming Greece and appears to have no idea why his policies will actually turn us into Japan. Regular readers know precisely why Japan and Greece are polar opposites – one is a currency user like a household and the other is a currency issuer.
But most voters won’t approach this from the same perspective I will, which is almost entirely based on an understanding of the inner workings of the monetary system and the economics of the two candidates. Instead, they’ll view this as a move that energizes Romney’s base and gets conservatives excited. That’s all well and good, but I think it’s a dangerous play. The winner of this election will be the one who wins independents like myself (I am actually a registered Republican, but vote like an independent). I could be swayed to Romney’s side. But I could also be pushed away. Ryan’s economics definitely push me away, but I’ll wait to pass judgment until I see how the duo unfolds together and battles with Obama/Biden.
The bottom line is that this looks like an attempt by Mitt Romney to clarify his message. He’s a conservative who is willing to do anything to satisfy his base. Adding a smart, articulate, likable guy to the ticket is certainly a better move than picking another boring old while guy, but I am not sure this is going to push him over the hump (which is incredible to say because Obama should be getting his clock cleaned with the unemployment rate at 8%+). This move has the potential to push independents away and that’s an enormously risky move. It will be particularly unpopular for those who don’t like the healthcare components of the Ryan Plan (hello Florida, good bye Presidency!).
And the biggest problem Mitt Romney might have for himself now – Paul Ryan is more Presidential than he is. The main thing this pick might tell us is who’s going to be the next big conservative figurehead for the next 15 years.
As always, I’d love to hear reader input on the pick.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.