Economic policy

Paul Ryan Discusses the Congressional Experience and Economic Policy – The GW Hatchet

Media credit: Anthony Peltier | Photographer

Ryan said Winston Churchill’s legacy inspired him to adopt a level-headedness and positive worldview.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan discussed the ideologies that influenced his political career during a virtual event on Thursday.

The Graduate School of Political Management and the National Churchill Leadership Center hosted the interview with Ryan, who spoke about his experience in Congress and his foundation which aims to increase economic opportunity in the United States. Justin Reash, Program Director of the National Churchill Leadership Center, moderated the Event as part of the Churchill Leadership Series.

Ryan said he initially didn’t plan on becoming a congressman or running for office at a young age and was more drawn to creating ideas and shaping economic policy. He said that while he could brainstorm ideas as a legislative staffer, he wanted those ideas to be taken to Congress and actually implemented, which motivated him to become a policy maker.

“There was a year or two at a time when I concluded that I would rather be a policy maker than just write things down and hope that policy makers would read them one day,” he said.

Ryan said the leadership style of Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, made him believe strongly in knowing its principles, understanding its philosophies and being able to persuade people in debates.

Ryan added that Churchill’s legacy inspired him to adopt a level-headed temperament and a positive outlook on the world. He said this led him to focus on how to advance democratic capitalism and prepare citizens and policy makers to avoid economic conflict in the country.

“That lesson in Churchill is what allowed me to focus on the things that I focused on in Congress,” Ryan said.

He said his eight-term experience in Congress allowed him to build a relationship of trust with Republicans, which helped him effectively lead the body when he took over as Speaker of the House.

He said he was transparent about his beliefs and personality and relied on his honest interactions with voters when running for Republican Party president.

“If I tell you who I am and what I think, and I get elected, then I have a moral obligation or opportunity to work on my policies,” Ryan said.

He said the country’s leaders can ensure that they achieve their political goals by developing realistic and achievable programs.

“You do it to deliver on your promises and hopefully your policies work, and in our case they worked where tax reform and deregulation worked,” he said.

Ryan said he believes in democratic capitalism and higher mobility, but worries that younger generations are emotionally attached to socialism. He said his foundation, called the American Idea Foundation, seeks to tackle issues such as poverty with center-right, free-market policies.

He said the foundation works to test free market solutions that can lift people out of poverty by using data from government anti-poverty programs that measure which programs are effective in breaking poverty.

“I am more than willing and confident that our principles of personal responsibility, higher mobility, free enterprise and incentives are working, so I think you can advance these ideas using data and statistics instead of ideology and partisanship,” he said.