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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/15/12

Paul Ryan IS the ticket...

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I love Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan for his vice presidential running mate. At long last, there is no doubt what Romney really believes. No other vice presidential choice has ever so perfectly defined the presidential candidate. Whereas most VP picks balance a ticket, Ryan IS the ticket.

Romney's a vulture capitalist who prides himself on being a numbers guy and Ryan has no proven competence in anything other than engineering his eponymous budget -- therefore, the Ryan Budget must be what most impressed Romney. Ryan brings nothing else to the table.

So let's look at this boyo carefully. The New York Times called Ryan's budget "the most extreme" ever passed by the House of Representatives "in modern times." Ryan, allegedly a devout Catholic, has had his budget denounced by the American Catholic bishops, Catholic theologians and the real conscience of the Catholic Church: its nuns. Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman stated Ryan's financial plan is "far from being a real solution" and relies "heavily on stuff that is pulled out of thin air" and calls his numbers just plain "flakey."

Ryan would raise taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for millionaires. His budget replaces the current tax structure with two brackets -- 25 percent and 10 percent -- cutting the top rate from 35 percent. This will cause federal tax revenue to fall by $4.5 trillion over the next decade which increases the national debt further. Ryan's answer to this is simple: massive cuts in social programs -- which is typical of devotees of Ayn Rand who embrace Starve-the-Beast theory -- and Ryan is demonstrably both.

He also calls for closure to special-interest loopholes and tax shelters but that's a sham -- he offers no specifics. Sixty-two percent of the savings he envisions will come from eviscerating programs benefiting the lower- and middle-class. As a double whammy these folks will also experience a tax increase because Ryan has said he would extend the Bush tax cuts (due to expire at the end of this year) and would not extend President Obama's tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes (also due to expire). Households earning more than $1 million a year could see a net tax return cut of about $300,000 annually -- but the vast majority of us will get screwed.  

Ryan wants to end Medicare, replacing it with a risky voucher system. M edicare is a very effective program that provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit but his proposed system replaces it with one that is more complicated, gives eminence to insurance companies, and has no mechanism to keep up with increasing health care costs. Ryan would also raise the age of eligibility to 67.

Most incredibly Ryan thinks Social Security is a "ponzi scheme" -- this is especially bizarre since Ryan received Social Security benefits after his father died when he was a teenager. Social Security has been the most successful program ever enacted in the United States and the reason far fewer people are in dire poverty today. It is funded by its future beneficiaries for their own benefit and that of their survivors. Ryan advocates for the privatization of Social Security. Conservatives argued for years that investing in stocks and bonds would outperform the current formula based on wages earned and overall wage appreciation. The economic crisis of 2008 demonstrated how catastrophic it would have been if we had ever been so foolish as to give our Social Security funds to Wall Street.

Ryan proposes cutting many other discretionary programs by nearly $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by another $284 billion. The Economic Policy Institute estimates this would "reduce employment by 1.3 million jobs in fiscal 2013 and 2.8 million jobs in fiscal 2014, relative to current budget policies."   Ryan also would eliminate Pell Grants for more than one million students. Ryan claims rising financial aid is driving college tuition costs upward and that Pell Grants, which help cover tuition costs for low-income Americans, don't go to the truly needy. All utter nonsense.

Ryan does support, however, $40 billion in subsidies for Big Oil. In 2011, he and all other House Republicans (and 13 Democrats) voted to keep Big Oil tax loopholes and his budget retains a decade's worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion while cutting billions from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies. Ryan, it seems, has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies. The Daily Beast reported a year ago that he and his wife have stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan's budget plan. (You're surprised, right?)

Oh there's a lot more to say about Paul Ryan -- and of course Mitt Romney.

I'm just beginning"


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Maureen Gill is an educator, author, blogger, and public speaker known for her insightful historical analyses, biting political commentaries and riveting fiction. Maureen is an OpEd columnist at and York County Journal Tribune in (more...)
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Paul Ryan IS the ticket...

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