Paul Ryan: GOP’s “Boy Wonder” Nominated VP on Romney’s Ticket
By Ron Steinman
NEWS JUNKIE POSTAug 11, 2012 at 10:31 am
Recently, Congressman Paul Ryan has been getting a lot of press from news outlets across America. It is as if his office put out a feel good press release and editors everywhere jumped on the story as more than filler. It is good that our esteemed press can think for itself. Instead of doing original reporting, why not follow each other into the abyss of the copycat. Covering stories is easier that way. Here is what is going on.
Paul Ryan is now the face of fiscal responsibility for the Republican Party, and thus, in what they dream is best for America. Not so fast because for mere mortals, meaning those who disagree with his ideas, Ryan has become a dangerous man, especially now that Mitt Romney genuflects when he burbles about Paul Ryan and the way he can fix America and save it from its coming fiscal doom. Ryan usually gets good press from the self-anointed pundits on the right, as expected. But rarely do we see stories elsewhere about regular guy Mr. Ryan, a man who catches catfish with his bare hands and was once an instructor in a gym.
It is as if some in the press have been seduced by Ryan, the budget he calls The Path to Prosperity and his desire to change America from a caring, socially conscious society to one where if you cannot make it, it is under the bus you go. It is a tough world we live in, losers have no place in it and only the fit will survive, at least for Paul Ryan and his cohort.
It is worth repeating what Ryan wants to do with the budget. He would start by cutting the budget by about 5 trillion dollars over ten years. At least he does not want to put his plan into operation immediately. He would take that money from Medicaid. He would cut and discontinue monthly food stamps for probably millions of single mother households. Mostly whatever else the poor and needy require to just get by will disappear.
Unemployed workers would be dropped from the rolls until they spend down their cash savings below two thousand dollars, as if the unemployed have that much cash, if any, on hand. He would also cut Pell grants. So much for education. Ryan believes government welfare, in his words, “ dissolves the common good of society and it dishonors the dignity of the human person.”
By killing anti-poverty programs, because that is what he would do, Ryan believes he will restore human dignity and thus reform the social compact.
The trouble with the Ryan budget is that it is a perfect fit for the Republican ethos that says numbers come first, people last. For Republicans, people are statistics, ciphers, and pixels on a virtual ledger. They are merely numbers on a chart, an actuary’s dream. Once on the chart, they number among the walking dead.
If a person cannot help him or herself, why should anyone else help? Especially if the person is among those in society who no longer contribute the way Republicans want them to.
The New York Times ran a story several weeks ago about how poor mothers on welfare are faring in the recession. The story especially cited Arizona, the poster child of state conservatism, where life in the poor lane is more difficult every day. Arizona is one of 16 states that cut welfare rolls since the recession.
Single mothers suffer the most. And because they cannot make ends meet, “they have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals for their children, shoplifted, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans … and even returned to relationships with violent partners – all with children in tow.”
Due to a variety of circumstances, many of these women fight addiction and depression, sometimes separately, often in combination, and sometimes dangerous to those around them. Cutting them off from government help is not the answer to solving their problems.
Equally relevant, The Employee Benefit Research Institute has some fascinating news about America’s aging population. In a study that took place before and during the first year of the Great Recession “between 2005 and 2009, the rate of poverty among seniors rose as they aged.” It is highest for the oldest of the elderly, meaning that almost 15 percent of those older than 85 were living in poverty in 2009. The poverty rate for women is almost double that of men.
One in 5 single women over 65 lives in poverty. The odds of a health crisis striking at any time go up 45-55 percent for those who live below the poverty line.
According to the Center for Rural Affairs, using the Great Plains for the basis of its study, rural areas have higher poverty levels than urban centers and the region as a whole. Studies reveal, “that there is often not enough food for a healthy life.”
Add to this that people often have to choose between “ adequate food and other expenses such as medical expenses.” The study finds, “that childhood poverty is higher in rural areas in the region than the general poverty rate.”
We have a situation here that is not going away soon. According to a Census Bureau report issued in 2011, 46 million people were living in poverty, the highest number in the last 52 years. That translates into more that 15 percent of Americans living below the poverty line. As the Great Recession only slowly abates, that number has surely gone up.
Fix entitlements, you say Mr. Ryan. Cut welfare, you say. Reduce government help for the poor. Wear your actuarial green eyeshade and your horse blinders to keep out the truth. Maintain that chasm between your Republican blindness and what is real. With all this, I wonder, have you, Mr. Ryan and your colleagues ever heard the cry of a hungry baby? Did you ever see the face of an undernourished child or watched helplessly as an elderly person drifts away at the end of his or her life because he or she has no food or medicine?
Editor’s Note: All photographs and graphics by EN2008.
- November 26, 2012 -- Open Letter to Obama: Get Tough Mr President, Get Tough
- September 7, 2012 -- DNC and RNC: Same Circus Different Clowns
- August 17, 2012 -- Paul Ryan: The Ideologue
- March 5, 2012 -- The 13 percent Congress: Representing the 1 Percent
- April 14, 2012 -- Will America’s Moral Bankruptcy Cause its First Real Revolution?
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