SmallBiz Vote

What Paul Ryan wants for small business

Paul Ryan proposes a Path to Prosperity

In the two days since he was named GOP vice presidential candidate, most media attention has addressed Congressman Paul Ryan's proposals for overhauling Medicare, Medicaid, and other social services. But what does Governor Romney's choice of running mate mean for small business?

Ryan has said he wants to let "individuals keep more of the money they earn and restore the certainty needed for families and businesses to plan for the future."

Key points of his Path to Prosperity proposal included that "the free enterprise system is being stifled by an epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation's institutions and its economy." His plan, he said, "revisits flawed financial-reform regulations and eliminates provisions that make future bailouts of Wall Street insiders more likely."

In March, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he is in favor of spurring "economic growth with bold tax reform—eliminating complexity for individuals and families and boosting competitiveness for American job creators."

On his website, Ryan puts forth three main tax agenda items addressing jobs and the economy:

  • "close loopholes that distort economic activity and that reward the politically well-connected at the expense of the hard-working small business owners."
  • "simplify the code by reducing the number of tax brackets, so that people spend less time and money figuring out how to comply with the code."
  • "lower the tax rates, to encourage economic activity and to allow our businesses to compete on a level playing field against those in countries where business tax rates are much lower."

Ryan's "message of smaller government and reduced regulatory burdens" have made him popular in the small business community, the Wall Street Journal reported today, even if they have "stirred some anxiety among business leaders who fear they will lead to a loss of tax breaks and government grants big businesses, in particular, find useful." The Journal reported:

"The National Federation of Independent Business—which calls itself "the voice of small business"—gave him a score of 71 out of a possible 100 on congressional votes the organization monitored last year. The Chamber of Commerce, which represents a broader range of businesses, gave him a perfect score of 100 for the same year. He has a lifetime rating of 90 on the Chamber's scorecard through last year.

… The Business Roundtable, for example, praised his budget blueprint by saying it "focuses the policy discussion on the importance of entitlement reform in putting America's budget in order for the long term." The National Association of Manufacturers earlier this year called his budget "a credible, fiscally responsible budget plan that will pave the way for durable economic growth and job creation in the United States."

Last night, Romney and Ryan tried to keep the focus on the economy in their first media interview with Bob Schieffer on 60 Minutes. "I've felt for a while now that our country is in a perilous position," Ryan told Schieffer. "I've done everything I could to tackle this fiscal and economic challenge before it tackles us." He added, "I think we can turn this thing around."

Ryan told Schieffer that Romney's record of "creating businesses and turning around struggling businesses" makes him the leader who can reverse the recession, and said he's already "planting the seeds for bipartisan compromises on the big issues of the day to be realized next year."

In a speech he gave Saturday upon accepting Romney's running mate invitation, Ryan said he tells his own children that "America is a place where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead." Schieffer suggested that such a notion seems out of touch with today's mainstream sentiment that "the rules have changed" and that "rich people are getting breaks and they're getting stuck with paying the bills." Ryan blamed "a new amount of crony capitalism and corporate welfare which both parties have been engaged in, but the President has taken to a whole new level..."

"We want entrepreneurs to have barriers removed so people can work hard and succeed," Ryan told Schieffer. "We want a system of upward mobility and we want to get fairness back into the system by getting bureaucracy out of the way."

What's your reaction to Romney's choice for running mate? Will Paul Ryan's positions influence your vote? Tell us in the comments.

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