I must take exception to Dr Hendrickson's critique of Paul Ryan's budget proposal in the June Review. While it is true that the Ryan plan is not a conservative dream budget, it is, as Dr. Hendrickson admits, "a step in the right direction," and it is probably all we can get at this time. Instead of demanding all or nothing, I think conservatives should embrace the chance to advance our cause by incremental steps, constantly putting forward viable alternatives, a "policy-oriented conservatism" in Yuval Levin's words.
Hi, Barry. Thanks for forwarding the correspondence.
Mr. Ingraham has put words in my mouth. I never stated that conservatives should reject the Ryan plan or that we should demand "all or nothing" in terms of reform. I simply pointed out that the Ryan plan is not as "conservative" as it could have been or as liberals have made it out to be.
The writer and I agree that what is politically achievable is going to be far from ideal; also that, relatively speaking, the Ryan plan is better than the status quo. The reason I wrote the article the way I did (criticizing Ryan's plan from the right) was so that his position would seem more centrist; also, to make the case that sooner or later we will need to go beyond the Ryan plan (or whatever parts of it eventually are enacted into law in a post-Obama/Harry Reid era) if we are ever to restore fiscal soundness to government. That is an inescapable economic fact.
How reform works out politically is beyond my capacity to predict, but if I have a choice between policies that are, say, 70 percent destructive and 90 percent destructive, I'll go for the less destructive policies, of course.