Saturday, 11 August 2012

Romney Selects Rep. Paul Ryan as VP Pick

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Standing near the USS Wisconsin, berthed at the Nauticus science center and museum in Norfolk, Virginia, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney named Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate on August 10.

“Paul and I are beginning on a journey that will take us to every corner of America,” Romney was quoted as saying by the Los Angles Times and other news sources. “We are offering a positive governing agenda that will lead to economic growth, to widespread and shared prosperity, and that will improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Our plan to strengthen the middle class will get America back to work and get our country back on track.”

"A lot of people may disagree with Paul Ryan, but I don't know of anyone who doesn't respect his character and judgment," Romney was quoted as saying by Yahoo News.

Readers of The New American are familiar with Ryan’s name as the congressman who has been the point man on the GOP’s favorite budget proposal (often called the Ryan Plan). The often controversial plan was synopsized in an article written last year by our own Bob Adelman. Adelman reports:

Implying that the proposal would cut the deficit by much more than $4 trillion over the next decade, he [Ryan] offered a synopsis of what to expect on Tuesday:

Medicaid (the state program to help the poor and disabled) would be funded with block grants to the states, letting the states work out the details on how best to implement the program.

Medicare would be changed to provide vouchers to those 55 and under to purchase health insurance from various private insurers at their discretion.

Spending on both programs would continue to increase even under his budget, but just not at the double-digit rates they are increasing now.

Medicare and Medicaid spending will go up under our budget. They just won't go up as much as they're going right now. [Governors want] the freedom to customize our Medicaid program. We want to [give] governors freedom to do that.

Medicare cost the federal government $396 billion last year, and is expected to rise to more than $500 billion in less than five years. Spending on Medicaid is even more frightening. In the year 2000, Medicaid cost the government $117.9 billion. This year that number will be $275 billion and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Medicaid spending will double to over $500 billion in 10 years.

The GOP proposal would also put a cap on discretionary spending, bringing it back to 2008 levels.

In another article published by The New American last April, we highlighted some of the issues raised by the Libertarian Party regarding the facts behind the figures included in Ryan’s budget proposal.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle calls Ryan out for mortgaging America’s financial future on unconstitutional programs and projects. Hinkle pulls no punches; instead, he accuses the House Budget Committee Chairman of “sucker-punch[ing]” America:

Republicans want to spend $40 trillion over ten years. That averages a staggering $4 trillion per year. As recently as 2000, federal spending was only about $1.8 trillion.

They also want to increase the federal debt from $15.0 trillion to $23.1 trillion. I hope our children and grandchildren enjoy paying interest on that extra $8.1 trillion.

The amount of American treasure spent on the various foreign entanglements is not left out of the Republican rap sheet. In his recrimination of the majority party, Mark Hinkle demonstrates a critical distinction between “conservatives” and “constitutionalists” regarding the idea of the virtue of defense spending:

Another unfortunate but predictable thing about Paul Ryan's budget is that it continues to mollycoddle the Pentagon. Paul Ryan is the Military-Industrial Complex's best friend. He apparently can't find one penny to cut from Obama's bloated levels of military spending. Only a big-government Republican could come up with language like "reinvesting $100 billion in higher military priorities."

That is to say, regardless of his shows and speeches, Congressman Ryan’s voting history is dispassionate evidence of his true political design.

Since taking office in 1999, Paul Ryan has voted in favor of:

• H.R. 2642 — Continuing funding for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan;

• H.R. 514 — Extending several key PATRIOT Act provisions;

• H.R. 1424  — Passing the so-called TARP (bailout) law; and

• H.R. 4954 — Expanding the Medicare program in 2003. 

In the case of Paul Ryan’s dedication to constitutional principles of limited government, the Libertarian Party’s criticism seems to paint an accurate picture of the congressman reported to be named by Mitt Romney today to be the number two man on the Republican presidential ticket.

Votes such as those highlighted above (and many others not listed) do not demonstrate a sincere desire to reduce the size of government, regardless of the rhetoric.

Last night, at 11:11 p.m. ET, officials within the Romney campaign informed the media that Romney would announce his VP selection today. Before Friday night, the names of those believed to be on the Romney VP short list included Ryan, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported Friday night during the “Special Report” that those contenders not chosen by Romney were informed of the final decision to tap Ryan via telephone by Romney’s son Tagg.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, introduces his vice presidential running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va.: AP Images