In an effort to inject a bit of â€œspunkâ€ into his otherwise dry presidential campaign, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Congressmen Paul Ryan to be his vice president in his face-off with President Barack Obama this fall.Â Ryan, who currently serves as the Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, was seen a risky choice due to his controversial budget measure that is seen as a radical restructuring plan for the national entitlement state.Â Titled â€œThe Path to Prosperity,â€ Ryanâ€™s plan has received a lot of attention over the past few days.
The mainstream media has predictably chosen sides with the announcement of Ryan as the veep nominee.Â The praise and criticism launched at Ryan by the usual suspects amounts to little more than predetermined clichÃ©s that fall within the simple paradigm of elephant versus jackass.Â On the left side of the political spectrum, Ryan has been charged with proposing draconian spending cuts that leave the poor to wallow in destitution without any assistance from Uncle Sam.Â The New York Times has lead the charge in accusing Ryanâ€™s blueprint of being â€œcrampedâ€ and creating a governmentâ€ that will be absent when people need it the most.â€Â Over on the right, the Wisconsin Congressman has been extolled for his braveness in meeting Washingtonâ€™s fiscal challenges head-on.Â Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal has written that Ryanâ€™s â€œpolicy roots lie in the growth and opportunity wing of the GOP.â€
In short, Paul Ryan is being depicted with regurgitated slogans that have little to no bearing on reality.Â The state-supporting media needs a story and is desperate to keep the American people convinced they still have an actual choice in policies come this November.Â The clearly unsustainable status quo is of no concern to the two major political parties that act as â€œtwo wings of the same bird of prey.â€
On the progressive side, what the demagogues fail to admit is that without substantial alteration there will be no Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.Â Recent research by professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff of Boston University calculates that the U.S. governmentâ€™s unfunded liability gap exceeds $211 trillion.Â Social Security itself is currently paying out more than it takes in.Â As Gary North puts it
Social Security is broke.
How do I define â€œbrokeâ€? When you have no assets to pay your bills and you must borrow money to pay old bills, youâ€™re broke.
No politician, commentator, or economist should be taken seriously if they speak or write as if the entitlement state in its current form is sustainable.Â The numbers donâ€™t lie; the situation is dire and for good reason.Â The post-war boom brought an abundance of tax revenue into the Washingtonâ€™s coffers in time to save the New Deal and provide the cash flow for additional federal programs.Â Like reckless teenagers who stole their parentâ€™s bank card, politicians were too enticed at the prospect of buying more votes than to think in the long term about the public debt burden they happily passed onto another generation.
None of this is to say that Ryanâ€™s proposed budget is just what America needs.Â Despite all the labels of â€œsocial Darwinismâ€ or â€œextremism,â€ Ryanâ€™s so-called â€œPath to Prosperityâ€ hardly makes a dent in the looming debt and fiscal crisis that is Washingtonâ€™s balance sheet.Â Over the next ten years, Washington would spend $40.135 trillion under Ryanâ€™s plan compared to the $46.959 trillion proposed by the Obama White House budget.Â The federal budget itself wouldnâ€™t be balanced till 2040; practically guaranteeing that the plan will be altered by a new generation of Congressmen much too focused on buying reelection.Â And though Ryanâ€™s plan lowers the income tax rate, it would do so in a revenue-neutral manner by closing loopholes and deductions.Â These loopholes have yet to be explained in detail.Â What Ryan or his supporters fail to mention is why revenue neutral is such a laudable goal. The federal government spends close to $4 trillion a year ($3.7 trillion in 2011).Â That means nearly $4 trillion in resources are siphoned out of the private sector and spent on political purposes rather than productive ones.Â So why is maintaining Leviathanâ€™s current appetite so appealing to a supposed endorser of laissez faire economics?
The answer is that for all his talk on the positives of capitalism, Ryan is no patron saint of limited government judging by his voting record.Â He has voted for the bank bailout known as TARP, the bailout of the auto industry, the use of military force in Iraq, the Medicare part D entitlement, continued funding for the war in Afghanistan, the National Defense Authorization Act, in support of the union bolstering Davis-Bacon prevailing wage mandate, and to raise the debt ceiling numerous times.Â Even the revamping of Medicare in Ryanâ€™s budget ends up being similar to Obamacare in a number ways in that it still gives discretion to the government over who receives care.Â Under Ryanâ€™s proposal, the government would dole out vouchers worth up to $8,000 a year to seniors in order to replace the current system.Â The catch is that only insurance companies given the approval by Washington would be eligible to accept those vouchers.Â Under the pretenses of a market solution, Ryan keeps ultimate discretion in the hands of the ruling class.
If any more evidence is needed to finally take a wrecking ball to Paul Ryanâ€™s image as a big government fighter, just consider his allegiance to the military industrial complex and the American empire.Â While his budget plan is touted as the equivalent of taking an axe to spending, it eliminates the mandated cuts in defense spending coming at the beginning of 2013 and increases the Pentagonâ€™s budget by billions of dollars every year thereafter.Â Ryan sees the cuts as detrimental in maintaining Americaâ€™s leadership abroad.Â In a speech before the Alexander Hamilton Society in 2011, he declared that the United States must â€œremain committed to the promotion of stable governments that respect the rights of their citizens and deny terrorists access to their territory.â€Â These are awfully ironic words for a Congressman who has made no objection to affiliates of Al Qaeda in Syria being funded by U.S. tax dollars.Â Ryan closed the speech by declaring â€œwe must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen.â€Â Again, these words are puzzling when considering that the current drone campaign being waged by President Obama is responsible for the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands, of civilians.
In the end, Paul Ryanâ€™s devotion to the empire is rooted in the Trotskyite origins of the neoconservative movement.Â No self respecting lover of liberty can be an advocate for global democratization.Â War, like all government spending, sucks resources away from private society.Â You canâ€™t pay for freedom by stripping it away from others.Â The warmongers masquerading as champion of small government are nothing of the sort.Â They are as feverishly dedicated to the mother state as their more leftist colleagues.
To put it in simple terms, all the talk of Ryanâ€™s â€œPath to Prosperityâ€ being in any way draconian has been greatly exaggerated.Â The cuts are minimal; bordering on insignificant in the short term.Â The revenue projections are overly optimistic and assume robust economic growth with no major wars or recessions on the horizon.Â It is no solution but yet another exercise in kicking the can.Â Former director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman is on point when he calls the Ryan plan “devoid of credible math or hard policy choices” and that neither he nor Romney have put forth a trustworthy plan “to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nationâ€™s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity.”Â Their campaign thus far has amounted to no more than “empty sermons.”
Still, the critics continue to make â€œPath to Prosperityâ€ out to be a product of ideological hatred of government.Â Worse is the assertion by Reverend Thomas J. Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University who claims â€œsurvival of the fittestâ€ visions like Ryanâ€™s are not fit for â€œfollowers of the gospel of compassion and love.â€Â Comparing the moral teachings of the Bible to a government spending programs is like comparing Mother Theresa to a roving band of highway robbers.Â The state is a necessarily coercive institution that can only acquire revenue through taxation, the threat of future taxation by borrowing, or the printing of money which necessarily devalues the currency in everyoneâ€™s wallets.Â There is nothing good natured in forcing someone to do something against their will.Â In other words, morality does not come forth from the barrel of a gun; only malevolence does.
Reeseâ€™s statement is representative of how radicalized the idea of living freely has become.Â Those who value liberty dearly to the extent where they regard coercion of the innocent as unjustified are made out to be heartless, utopian dreamers who refuse to buck up and face the real world.Â The truth is, and this canâ€™t be stressed enough, that the people who endeavor to have government involve itself in every aspect of daily life are the real radicals.Â They value top-down rule over the free assembly and exchange by individuals.Â The statist mind stands in opposition to the very aspects that allow society to thrive.
Paul Ryan may not be a genuine voice for liberty but many have taken him at his word and have shown their utter disgust at the prospect of a slight rolling back of the monstrous federal government.Â If he, along with Romney, should win the Oval Office, it is incredibly doubtful they will retract the parasitical reach of the state.Â And all the problems the develop from a Romney-Ryan presidency will hence be blamed on the inadequacy of the free market.
We have yet to see if the choosing of Ryan will be beneficial for the Republicans or Democrats.Â One thing for sure is that no matter who emerges victorious in November, liberty will be the real loser.