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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens to testimony during a hearing on
Paul Ryan thinks about Ayn Rand. (But shh, he doesn't want anyone to know.)
Republican budget boy Paul Ryan just keeps trying to pretend that Ayn Rand is not one of the most important influences on his economic views. Ryan recently came up with a list of his six favorite books about economics and democracy, and, Jonathan Chait points out:
... [Atlas Shrugged,] the volume that Ryan once handed out to all his staffers, listed as one of his three most frequently reread books of any kind and cited as the entire reason he got into public service, no longer makes the top six list of books on politics and economics.
So that's convincing. Meanwhile, Chait argues that:
More interesting—and revealing of the direction Ryan is headed—are the final two books Ryan does name: The Way the World Works by Jude Wanniski and Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder. I have read both. Wealth and Poverty is a weird, rambly, mostly unoriginal recitation of free-market homilies whose influence largely derives from the fact that it came out just as Ronald Reagan swept to power and was thus seen as an intellectual manifesto for the new Republican Party. The Way the World Works is a novel argument that the entire history of the world can be explained by changes of tax rates. The fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Nazis — Wanniski attempts to explain it all as a result of taxes. It is a work of genuine derangement on the same intellectual level as the sorts of unpublishable hand-scrawled diatribes that I used to scan through when I sorted the mail as a magazine intern.
The foremost budget wonk of the Republican Party, ladies and gentlemen!
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Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 09:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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