Viewers around the country had two very distinct reactions to Congressman Paul Ryan's speech this week at the Republican National Convention.
On one hand, there were the liberals (not to mention the occasional Fox News commentator) who thought the speech was mendacious political screed filled with half-truths and deliberate outright distortions.
On the other hand, there were conservatives who thought the speech was a "bold" and "effective" indictment of the Obama administration that framed economic conservatism as a moral issue and hopefully moved the national conversation away from ceaseless questions about "legitimate rape."
"Last night was one of the first times since Ronald Reagan spoke in 1980 where I was surprised by the Republican party and what they were doing on the national stage and was really excited about it," gushed MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. "I mean, this I think could get the base a little more excited than they are right now."
The latter point of view--underpinned by a belief that unfettered free market capitalism is a fundamental force for good--was elucidated by libertarian billionaire and former presidential aspirant Steve Forbes during an appearance on the Current TV show of California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.
"I think Paul Ryan understands that free markets are about innovation, about optimism for the future," said Forbes.
"Its about turning scarcity into abundance," the Forbes magazine editor-in-chief explained, leading into an example of capitalism's creative destruction. "We all have cell phones. We all know that 30 years ago those things were as big as a shoebox, had 30-40 minute battery life an the first ones cost $3,995. Now 5 billion people around the world have them. They use them in Kenya. The poor have them. They use them for banking for health care and you can get any kind you want now. Turning scarcity into abundance--that's what free markets are about. The problem with government is because it doesn't have that dynamism about figuring out what the next best thing and trying to anticipate it, they end up with rigidity and scarcity."
Forbes has been one of Ryan's biggest cheerleaders in the media, penning a column in next month's issue of his magazine with the immodest title, "Will Paul Ryan Save Civilization?"
Newsom and and Forbes then moved on to monetary policy. "Where is the [political] leadership on the Federal Reserve?" asked Newsom. "Why is nobody talking about this?"
"Because it's boring," replied Forbes wryly. "If you're ever on a bad date or a meeting you want to get out of, start talking about monetary policy."
"We could have never had the housing bubble if the Fed hadn't printed up so much money and yet they go their merry way," Forbes continued, arguing for significantly limiting role of the country's central bank and a return to the gold standard. "This is the difference between big government (I emphasize big because you do need government) and free markets. In the free markets if you messed up like that, you'd get a reaction pretty quickly and have to cease and desist. But the Fed gets praised and gets to continue to go on these jolly expeditions to continue undermining the integrity of currencies, manipulating currencies and we get stuck in the mud."
Paul has been deeply critical of the Fed, authoring a bill in the House of Representatives to increase transparency at the institution and authoring a book with the self-explanatory title End The Fed.
Forbes's interview on the Newsom show airs on Friday night at 10 p.m. PST.