For People of Color, Paul Ryan May Be Even Worse Than Romney
Republican vice presidential candidate and Wisconsin native Rep. Paul Ryan greets supporters during a campaign event on August 12 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
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Mitt Romney’s choice of the swashbuckling, budget-cutting ideologue, Paul Ryan, as his vice presidential nominee shows that when it comes to the GOP’s economic policy, it’s same script, different cast. Together, Romney and Ryan represent a retread of 40 years worth of Republican ideas on economics, race and the role of government. Not content to let failure remain dormant, they want to reanimate bankrupt concepts and take them to a whole, new level.
Ryan is the chair of the House Budget Committee, author of the jobs and social safety-net destroying “Ryan Budget,” and a self-described “Young Gun.” Romney announced his selection aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin. The seven-term congressmember hails from Janesville, Wisc.; population 63,000. He is a darling of the Tea Party and an adherent to its cause.
For progressives and people of color, it’s hard to imagine a worse choice. Romney and Ryan may make a telegenic pair, but the reality of their policies and philosophies is downright ugly.
The focus of their campaign will be to reignite last summer’s disastrous debate on the deficit and debt. But the problem isn’t America’s debt, it’s America’s values. Ryan and Romney’s idea of a country where the rich matter more than the rest, fueled by tax cuts which make millionaires even more powerful, is exactly what caused the current crisis.
Under Romney and Ryan, the tremendous gains of the rich—which are subsidized by average Americans through the very deficits that they decry—will continue.
More disturbingly, Romney’s and Ryan’s discredited proposals would take America back to a less-just, less equitable place. To them, that era of racial and economic injustice was America at its best—and the effort to end it created the current economic mess.
Nothing illustrates this perverse understanding of economic history more dramatically than the very reason why Ryan was chosen: the popularity amongst conservatives of his infamous “Ryan budget.”
Ryan’s budget—or “ A Roadmap for America’s Future,” as its formally known—would effectively end Social Security for those under 55; do the same for Medicare and Medicaid; strike the last bit of fairness in our tax code, by eradicating the principle that if you earn more you pay more; drastically reduce food stamps, and slash government education assistance, scientific research, and infrastructure spending.
As a result, America would be without a retirement plan for seniors; 47 million Americans would lose health insurance. The rich would receive a massive tax break. Fifty million Americans would be deprived of reliable food sources, and the investments we need to grow fairly and sustainably would be undermined.
The most radical and reckless idea embedded in the Ryan cuts is that America is at its best only when millionaires prosper.
It’s disguised as fiscal responsibility, but according to The New York Times, almost 70 percent of the savings from Ryan’s spending cuts go to fund tax cuts for the rich. The Ryan budget is a giveaway to millionaires made in the name of getting the nation’s budgetary house in order.
Analysis of the Ryan plan by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center concludes, “those making $1 million or more would enjoy an average tax cut of $265,000 and see their after-tax income increase by 12.5 percent. By contrast, half of those making between $20,000 and $30,000 would get no tax cut at all.”
Because of these tax cuts, Ryan’s plan plan can’t achieve its stated goal of deficit reduction. Ryan reduces spending by huge amounts, but his millionaire giveaways reduce revenue dramatically. Under his proposal, the U.S. would still have deficits for as far as the eye can see.