It’s tough to find anything in Washington both Republicans and Democrats agree on, which is why we find it somewhat amusing that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate, Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan also gives the other side of the aisle exactly what they want – a stereotypical conservative target to put in the crosshairs.
Say what? Yep. While Ryan provides the quasi-conservative Romney the street cred he needs to motivate the party base to swallow their bile and vote for him, the budget hawk stance of the new veep candidate also offers up liberals a new poster child for their continued cries that Republicans want to starve children and kill senior citizens. Choosing Ryan does seem to have made at least one solid point, namely clearing up any perceived fuzziness about Romney’s dedication to shrinking the size of government.
For those with a short memory, it was Ryan who came out of nowhere recently with a legitimate budget proposal designed to drastically reduce the deficit in the short term and bring the budget into balance by 2040. Standing in stark contrast to President Obama’s focus on slashing costs primarily through reductions in Department of Defense money and tax increases, Ryan takes on practically every government entitlement program out there, operating on the idea that you need to do the most cutting where you do the most spending.
We’re talking about Social Security and Medicare, two of the most sacred cows the Washington scene has ever seen. We all know the systems are unsustainable as presently constructed, but no politician or political party has found the will to change them. Why? It all comes down to votes and human nature. So many people are reliant on the services provided by these programs that it is seen as political suicide to be perceived as being in favor of reductions.
So Paul Ryan stepped into the breach earlier this year with a budgetary approach designed to root out and eliminate “corporate cronyism” in energy, housing, health care, financial services, and other areas, while, at the same time, restoring the defense budget Obama seems intent on gutting.
We’ll close with a telling quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president who started both Social Security and Medicare.
“We shall make the most lasting progress if we recognize that Social Security can furnish only a base upon which each one of our citizens may build his individual security through his own individual efforts.”
As Ryan properly recognizes, at some point the program became a retirement system, which it was never intended to be. Either way, campaign leading to the election in November just got a little more interesting (Top image: Flickr | DonkeyHotey).
The American Monetary Association Team