In picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made it clear that the highlight of his tenure, if elected, will be massive changes in the US Budget. In March, this year, Ryan introduced a federal budget plan seeking to reduce all discretionary spending in the budget from 12.5% of GDP in 2011 to 3.75% of GDP in 2050. His budget plan was praised for making tough choices in a scenario where the downward spiralling of the US economy seems irreversible.
Ryan seeks to cut Medicare for geriatrics, by changing it to a voucher-based system for those over 55. He first proposed something similar in 2008. The 2012 The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise Federalism is a sign of Paul Ryan's far-right capitalist views.
"With the choice of Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney adds... the ghostly presence of the controversial Russian émigré philosopher and writer Ayn Rand," wrote Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.
In 2005, Ryan paid tribute to Rand in a speech he gave to the Atlas Society, the Washington-based think tank devoted to keeping Rand’s “objectivist” philosophy alive, crediting her with inspiring his interest in public service, saying, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”
Even as he embraces Rand's capitalistic views he distinguishes himself from her atheist views. By choosing Ryan, Romney has ensured that the Republican agenda does not sway away from far-right policies.
"The President's vision of higher tax rates for small businesses and more complexity in the tax code would exacerbate the problems with the current code and lead to economic decline," Ryan writes in the budget, as reported by CNN.
He wants to slash tax rates for corporates by almost 10%. By targeting Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps and encouraging the privatisation of the energy sector, the Republican vice-presidential nominee does not win any popularity. However, he has been lauded for aiming to take some tough steps.
In The Foundry, writes Patrick Louis Knudsen: The budget’s restructuring of Medicaid and food stamps applies the principle of federalism: It shifts more control to the states... rather than relying solely on the government—aims to bring to retirees’ health care the same benefits of market competition that exist throughout the economy.
Ryan has also targeted President Barack Obama on America's defence budget. He claims Obama's the current US defence plan does not focus on America's true strategic requirements and threats.
It's not just Ryan's ideas on spending that have won him brownie points, but the media has also played up his charming looks. TMZ. com, recently, described him as one of the "hottest vice president nominees ever."
It's not wonder then, that Ryan is a major crowd-puller for Romney's campaign.
As The Politico reports, in 2008, Ryan was included in The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful list. “Let’s face it, the reform of entitlements like Social Security is an important topic for members of Congress to debate. But listening to lawmakers speak about it on the floor does not exactly cause the heart to race. Unless, that is, the speech is being delivered by the tall, handsome and fiscally conservative Rep Paul Ryan,” The Hill wrote.
For Ryan, politics didn't happen by choice. He was urged into it by his mother and started his career as a speech writer. He was first elected to the House in 1998, but only because the then Democrat two-term incumbent Mark Neumann retired from his seat.
Ryan defended his seat against Democratic challenger Jeffrey C Thomas in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. In 2002, Ryan also faced Libertarian candidate George Meyers. Ryan defeated Democratic nominee Marge Krupp in the 2008 general election in his district.
Under Wisconsin law, he is allowed to run concurrently for Vice-President as he also competes for his eighth term in Congress.
It may be 'Goodbye Obama' as the US economy is in a dismal state at the moment. And Mitt Romney may just win this presidential race with a touch of Paul Ryan's superhero-like good looks, super conservative views on the Budget and far-right views.
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Updated Date: Aug 13, 2012 16:49:32 IST