Romney-Ryan vs. The Working Class
by Colton Darger
On Saturday, Aug. 11, presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney—in a heartfelt speech—announced to the world that Paul Ryan would be the next “president” of the United States of America. Although Romney’s endorsement of the Wisconsin Representative was obviously a slip of the tongue, perhaps it foreshadows the relationship between the running mates, and what policies we can expect from their administration. While Romney continues incessantly with his attempts to convince the American populace that he is devoted to bolstering the middle class, and he’s just a “regular guy,” despite his vast fortunes and Swiss bank accounts, his recent decision decimates the façade that he has spent months perpetuating. The Ryan pick effectively demonstrates to the nation that the Romney campaign is one hell-bent on the destruction of the social programs that benefit the lower and middle class, and one that intends on cutting taxes for only the most affluent citizens.
Although Paul Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has managed to stay out of the mainstream political discourse, and only began to receive the national spotlight in 2011 when he drafted his budget proposal The Path to Prosperity. While the GOP quickly embraced and propagated the Ryan plan as the long-awaited solution to America’s rapidly increasing debt, others saw the plan for what it was: massive tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the lower and middle class. The plan immediately received support in the Republican dominated House, but failed to gain traction in the Democrat controlled Senate, and was eventually shot down in a 57 – 40 vote. Despite the failure of his plan, Ryan has been crowned as a champion of fiscal conservative ideology, and has become a Tea Party favorite.
After the ultimate failure of his first budget plan, Ryan has returned with a remarkably similar plan titled The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal. This plan has been avidly endorsed by Romney, and the majority of the GOP base. Overall, the revisions to Ryan’s new budget plan are as negligible as the name change. While his plan contains many aspects to it, here are some of the most important elements as detailed by The Washington Post: It would cut government spending by $5.3 trillion over the next decade, drastically reduce the amount of money allocated to Medicare and Medicaid, would spend 16 percent less on programs such as food stamps and housing assistance compared to Obama’s plan and would cut funding for education. This could mean higher education costs for college students across the country.
While Ryan also purports that his plan would cut taxes across all income levels, the co-director of the independent nonpartisan group Tax Policy Center, William Gale, said that Ryan’s plan is, “An effort to have low- and middle-class households bear the entire burden of closing the fiscal gap and bear the costs of financing an additional tax cut for high-income households.”
So, not only will the people who have experienced the brunt of the global recession lose funding for programs that they have had to increasingly rely on, they will also be forced to pay for huge tax cuts for an elite upper class.
For most of the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney has attempted to center the nation’s attention on poor job creation and a still struggling economy; he wanted to assure us that with his business experience, he would have the knowledge to jumpstart the country. But after the announcement of his running mate, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Romney campaign’s fiscal policy is nothing more than an assault on the lower and middle class, and just another disguised attempt at relieving the upper class of their tax responsibilities.