Sharp debate offers voters real choice on the economy

Gerald F. Seib
Wall Street Journal
9/9/2010

While Democratic President Barack Obama stood before a crowd in Cleveland delivering a speech describing his economic philosophy Wednesday, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan sat in his Racine, Wis., district office, eating a Quiznos sandwich and describing his.

Those parallel discussions are significant, because these bright young men—Mr. Obama is 49, Mr. Ryan 40—have become the opposite poles of economic debate in the current congressional campaign.

Mr. Obama describes an America where the middle class has been squeezed by tax cuts for the wealthy that have left education, research and infrastructure investments under-funded, undermining job creation even as unfettered market forces helped push wealth away from Middle America and toward the top.

Mr. Ryan, ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, describes an America where the middle class finds its aspirations snuffed out by job-killing tax rates and the massive burden of health and Social Security programs that need to be transformed with market forces and eased into the private sector.

Republicans caricature the Obama view as a nanny-state philosophy that strangles growth. Democrats caricature the Ryan view as a Darwinian philosophy in which the social safety net is shredded.

Either way, the words of these two refute the notion that elections don’t offer real choices.

The article continues at the Wall Street Journal.

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