The quick economic case for V.P. Paul Ryan

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Paul Ryan may be the only vice presidential short-lister who can save Mitt Romney from an economic crisis within the first month of his presidency. If that's not a good reason to put him on the ticket, what is?

The quick argument here: Assume Romney wins in November, and that the lame-duck Congress doesn't vote to raise the federal debt limit. (Both reasonable assumptions.) Now assume, as the Treasury Department estimates, that America hits the debt limit around the end of the year.

Treasury will start deploying "extraordinary measures" to buy time, probably a couple of months, before the government either defaults on some loans or misses scheduled payments to contractors or benefit recipients.

In that scenario, President Romney would take office with a ticking clock - maybe a month to raise the debt limit or impose the dramatic budget cuts and/or tax increases necessary to balance the budget immediately. The latter isn't likely - Romney's plan wouldn't balance the budget for eight years - so assume he needs to raise the limit.

Who will help him do it?

Ryan is his best hope.

Here's why: The math for another debt-limit increase is tough for a Republican president.

Democrats won't be in any mood to help out - especially since the increase would likely be tied to more budget cuts, and because Romney will be pushing for more tax cuts on top of it. So, with a few centrist Democratic exceptions, it's likely Romney will need to build a largely Republican coalition to raise the ceiling.

There's a not-small chunk of the House and Senate Republican caucuses who didn't vote for the last debt-limit deal. They're not likely to raise the ceiling just because Romney asked them to. To get their votes, he's going to need to link a debt-limit increase to a big batch of spending cuts - much bigger, probably, than the ones Romney has campaigned on. He'll need a credible salesman for those cuts. Enter Ryan.

The architect of the Ryan Budget is probably the only potential veep pick with the gravitas to walk into a room of skeptical House fiscal conservatives and say, trust us, these cuts are the real deal. Hold your nose and lift the ceiling.


If the Romney administration can't make that sale to its own party, then it will need to throw itself - and the economy, because a default would be a ticket to another recession - on the mercy of a just-vanquished opposition party. Recent history suggests that's not a great plan.

 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.