Congressman Paul Ryan For U.S. Vice-President: Good or Bad Choice?

What does a Romney-Ryan future for working families look like? Well, lets start by looking at Congressman Ryan’s Budget Plan passed by the Republican dominated U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Ryan entitled his budget plan “The Path to Prosperity,” which opponents refer to as the “Road to Ruin”. When reviewing the Ryan Budget Plan, opponents ask the Romney-Ryan ticket, Haven’t you learned trickle down economics did not and will not work? Many assert that Congressman Ryan’s Budget Plan gives us great insight into what the future of working families would look like under President Romney.

Since Mitt Romney’s announcement of his running mate for the 2012 Presidential Election this weekend, the Democrats and others have been carefully reviewing Paul Ryan’s voting record in Congress for the last fourteen years. Both fiscal conservatives and Democrats are pleased with Governor Romney’s selection of Congressman Ryan as his running mate but for very different reasons.

After Governor Romney’s running mate announcement, Romney has made headlines and donations have poured in from all over the country. Congressman Paul Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running mate has drawn a clear distinction between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney’s vision of the road to financial recovery for our nation.

Many people have asked after reviewing the Ryan Budget Plan where is the shared sacrifice? Independent economists have reported that the Ryan Budget is not a pro-growth document. In fact, economist warn that under the Ryan Plan that we, as a nation, would lose over a million jobs.

In Donna Jablonski’s  recent article she asks the question, Do you remember the budget plan written by vice presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), entitled “The Path to Prosperity,” which opponents refer to as the “Road to Ruin”. Ryan’s Budget Plan gives voters a great insight into the Romney-Ryan tickets position on issues important to working families.

In case we have forgotten what was in the Ryan Budget Plan, Jablonski provides us with a reminder of the impact of the Plan on working families. According to Jablonski, the list of consequences from the Ryan Budget Plan which appears below is drawn from works which were prepared by the Center for American Progress[i].  The Center for American Progress’ work indicates that the Ryan Budget Plan if enacted would do the following:

1. “It caters to the 1%.

Ryan’s proposed tax cuts for the rich are larger than the windfall they received from former President George W. Bush.”

2. “It ends Medicare as we know it.

The budget would move toward a privatization of Medicare…and anyone new to the Medicare program could see costs rise by nearly $6,000 by 2050.”

3. “It eliminates the health care safety net.

The budget would cost 47 million people their health insurance benefits over the next decade.”

4. “It increases unemployment.

The House budget seeks to balance the deficit on the backs of unemployed Americans, whose ranks would increase under the plan.”

5. “It threatens our economic competitiveness.

The plan slashes $871 billion from government investments in education, job training, scientific research and transportation infrastructure over the next decade.”

6. “It showers money on Big Oil.

The budget would continue to shower oil companies with $40 billion in tax breaks over 10 years.”

7. “It devastates Social Security.

The House budget would cut Social Security benefits for most recipients, while giving the wealthy a windfall.”

8. “It shortchanges K–12 education.

The budget proposal lumps spending on education, social programs and training into a category targeted with a 20 percent cut.”

9. “It shortchanges higher education.

Low-income and middle-class students…may find it harder to get financial aid: The budget proposes big cuts to the Pell Grant program.”

10. “It ignores the wishes of the American people.

About two-thirds of Americans think the rich should pay higher taxes. And 70 percent believe Medicare should continue operating as it does currently….The plan ignores the will of the people, favoring the wealthy while ending Medicare as we know it.”

When discussing his budget plan, Congressman Ryan said his budget focused on cutting spending rather than raising revenue because “spending’s the problem.” If government spending continues to grow, he said, “You’ll end up shutting down the American dream, the American economy.”

By a partisan vote of 228 to 191, the House passed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which as you can see calls for steep spending limits and dramatic changes to Medicare. Ten Republicans voted against the bill, and no Democrats voted for it.

It is very important for the electorate to know the candidates’ positions on key issues confronting working families in the 2012 Presidential Race.  Romney’s selection of Ryan as his running mate for the 2012 presidential election highlights that this race is all about choices.  Choices about whether we, as a nation, will invest in good jobs under President Obama or give tax breaks to rich Americans and large corporations under Mitt Romney. Choices about investing in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, good schools, and higher education or whether we have decided to turn back the clock and repeat the policies that caused the crisis we are currently confronting.

With that said, nowhere are these choices more glaring than in Mitt Romney’s recent selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. If Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan win the White House in 2012, millions of working families, seniors, people with disabilities and children could loose their social insurance (i.e. Medicare, etc.).

As stated in the Huffington Post, even, “David Stockman, a former budget director under President Ronald Reagan, derided the budget plan of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick in an op-ed in The New York Times Tuesday.” “Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to ‘job creators’ (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse,” “Stockman wrote in the op-ed, later adding: “Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.”

Sources: AFL-CIO Action Alert, 08/13/2012, “What’s Wrong with Paul Ryan?” , Donna Jablonski, Political Action/Legislation. Stephanie Condon, CBSNews.com., March 29, 2012. www.americanprogress.org. Huffington Post Business Brief, “Ex-Reagan Budget Director: Ryan Budget ‘Is Devoid Of Credible Math Or Hard Policy Choices'”, 8/14/2012. SEUI Action Alert, 08/14/2012. “Koch brothers have Paul Ryan’s back,” Politico, August 11, 2012 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=278940&id=48818-18765278-9EQdIFx&t=17

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art


[i] The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.

Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, their work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.

The Center for American Progress develops new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate.

Founded in 2003 by John Podesta to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, CAP is headed by Neera Tanden and based in Washington, D.C.

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