Ryan at WSJ CEO Council: ‘We Should Be Fighting for Free Enterprise’

John Boehner

Last week, Speaker Ryan appeared at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council’s annual meeting for a conversation with editorial page editor Paul Gigot on a range of issues, including the importance of promoting opportunity for all. Below is an excerpt from the conversation:

Q: How important is it for the Republican Party to dismantle crony capitalism—the idea that there’s a system in place to protect the rich?

“We’re a pro-market party—we need to be a pro-market party. That means we believe in free enterprise, equal opportunity, equal rules, open entry into marketplaces, and not having big business and big government join in a common cause to rig the rules and erect barriers to entry against their would-be competitors. Because if you do that, then you do have economic ossification, then you do freeze the playing field, then you do basically throw the basics—the guts—of the true American free enterprise system. There are different kinds of economic systems being exported and being promoted around the world—we should be fighting for free enterprise.”

“We are flirting with crony capitalism far too much. And as Republicans, we need to stand up for our principles. And the good news is, for Republicans . . . it’s just reconnecting ourselves with our principles. For progressives, it is what progressives more or less believe, which is having a large government, having more control over the means of production, and micromanaging the affairs of companies. Look at health care, it’s a perfect example of what’s going on in the health insurance marketplace today. So I do believe there’s a huge distinction here. And the difference from my perspective is upward mobility, open entry, everybody has a crack at success and making it, and we promote equality of opportunity instead of equality of outcome.”

The Wall Street Journal has posted additional excerpts from the conversation here.

Speaker Ryan also discussed outlining a positive agenda last Thursday during an interview on Fox News, telling Sean Hannity, “We can’t run on vague platitudes. We have to have a specific, coherent agenda, and then let the people of this country choose which path they want to take. . . . But what I’m most looking forward to is going on offense in 2016 and bringing a coherent, productive, exciting, inspiring conservative agenda to the country.” 

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