Paul Ryan: The Anti-Romney Who'll Hurt Him
Published - Aug 12 2012 02:05AM EST
By Samantha Schoenfeld (Age 22, Young Democrat) Syracuse University - Graduate
Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan R-Wis., reacts to audience applause during a campaign event at the Waukesha county expo center, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012 in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Samantha Schoenfeld's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
Paul Ryan's an interesting choice for Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate, as he's essentially an anti-Romney. While Romney has flip-flopped his point-of-view on almost every possible issue over the years, Ryan has remained consistently steadfast.
But who is Paul Ryan? That seems to be a question that 56 percent of Americans are clamoring to know, according to a CNN poll from June. Well, he's the Republican Obama; he's young, fit, and well spoken (he was a speechwriter for vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp in 1996). He's an economics guru, with a degree from Miami University in Ohio in economics and political science (his highest level of education), and he's the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan's a lifetime Congressman, having first been elected to the House of Representatives at the ripe age of 28, and never having left. He has a blue-collar background -- he worked as a waiter and fitness trainer during his early days in Washington, D.C. -- and, unlike Romney, has no business experience.
As for his policies, he never agreed with Romneycare or Obamacare, and supports a voucher system for Medicare to encourage private sector competition. He was one of few Republicans who voted with Obama on the auto and bank bailouts, partly because his district has many factory workers, and partly by reasoning that without a bailout both industries would have collapsed and subsequently required even more government handholding than the bailout did.
But his signature is his budget plan. Optimistically dubbed "The Roadmap For America's Future," it hopes to overhaul the tax system and to decrease the top income bracket to 25 percent, eliminate capital gains and corporate income taxes, and privatize social security.
This is more absurd than that time President Ronald Reagan changed modern economics by asserting that reducing taxes on the rich would somehow boost the economy because rich people would spend more, and the money would trickle down to the poor. That was stupid. Ryan's plan is ridiculous. At least President George Bush's tax cuts were for all classes, not just the wealthy, but Ryan wants to eliminate capital gains and corporate taxes (the reason Romney pays only a 14 percent tax rate), while hurting the middle class by revamping (a.k.a. ruining) Medicare.
Romney's pick will have some interesting results. Obama has been shying away from talk about the economic recovery by criticizing Romney's tax returns, his time at Bain Capital, and trouble trimming spending as Massachusetts Governor, but with Ryan, Obama's arguments will be blunted. Also, eliminating Medicare remains nationally unfavorable, which may hurt Romney in Florida, where he's already trailing. In addition, neither Romney nor Ryan's religion fits into one of the standard Christian sects normally seen in the White House, which may be a problem since Romney was already struggling to overcome America's view of Mormons.
And finally, one of the biggest issues for the Romney-Ryan ticket to overcome will be their invisible foreign policy record, as neither has had much experience dealing with issues abroad while Obama and Biden have spent four years in office dealing with other countries on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, I can respect Ryan because he sticks to his beliefs and votes on his own convictions. But not only do his economics and entitlement programs separate him from most Americans, he is also furthering the gender gap Romney was suffering from because of his strong opposition to women's health (he co-sponsored a bill banning in-vitro fertilization, birth control, and abortions) and opposition to women getting equal pay for equal work.
Paul Ryan is an extremist, and hopefully that will spell disaster for Team Double R on November 6.