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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paul Ryan: VP Nominee -- August 25, 2012

Two weeks ago I watched Mitt Romney announce his choice for vice president on TV, and have been captivated by political commentary since then. Despite critics, I do not think he could have chosen a better running mate. Paul Ryan focuses the Republican ticket on the economy and complements what Mitt Romney brings to the table. Romney is a successful businessman who not only has private entrepreneurial experience but the executive experience of being the governor of Massachusetts. Paul Ryan is the leader of the House Budgetary Committee and has been engaged in creating economic legislative policy for decades. Democratic partisans including the current president cannot deny the intelligence and depth of knowledge Paul Ryan has. He is not only a fiscal guru but brings substance, energy, and charisma to the Republican campaign. Liberals and Obama's reelection team have been ostensibly jubilant by Mitt Romney's choice for vice president because they believe it played into their quasi-Marxist rhetoric. However, pandering to special interest groups and using racial, gender, and class division will not overcome the enormous discontent of the electorate. Paul Ryan is not an albatross to the Republican Party but rather a great asset. He has an inspiring patriotic message of freedom, economic growth and prosperity.

The choice for vice president was clear to me from early in Mitt Romney's campaign. I even made a wager with another prisoner that Paul Ryan would be chosen but it only was a wash because I failed to predict the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare. It was obvious the two got along well during their campaigning in Wisconsin when Democrats tried to unseat Governor Scott Walker. Many people, including the inmate I wagered, believed Romney must choose a running mate based on swing states and Wisconsin was not thought to be one of those at the time or worthy enough to consider. There was also encouragement to choose a successor based on race or gender in the belief this would somehow diminish Barack Obama's support base. However, these were clearly red herrings. They had little to contribute to the campaign and would not increase enthusiasm amongst the base, independents, or minorities.

Before the selection of Paul Ryan, the Republican campaign had a lack of focus. It seemed those assisting Romney's election sought a referendum on Obama while not offering much of their own ideas. Of course, the Chicago-style politicians who represented the president were not going to go down without a fight. Contrarily, they would attempt to turn the tables and use whatever tactics or dirty tricks to maintain power. Mitt Romney had to fill the void to prevent being hit like a pinata and go on offense. Paul Ryan's legislative ideas brought substance and refocused the campaign on the ailing economy. He also brought charisma, energy, and enthusiasm to a flat, lackluster candidacy. Even I was excited to have a battle of ideas if not the very soul of the Republic.

Paul Ryan is a person I can identify with on many political as well as personal levels. He is a man with family values and lives in a nice home in the Midwest suburbs. He also has a strong work ethic and lives his life with intensity. The congressman is not an old grey haired man like most politicians and is not far in age from myself at 42. He listens to heavy metal, rock, and classical music such as Beethoven. Paul Ryan is also an avid bow hunter, Green Bay Packers fan, and a fitness fanatic who regularly trains to P90X, an exercise regimen similar to the one I do in my prison cell. From an early age, he has been interested in politics and has focused on fiscal policy in political think tanks before becoming a congressman where he is now the leader of drafting budgetary legislation. He understands the financial crisis the U.S. faces and is driven to reduce government spending and the $16 trillion deficit while cutting taxes and growing the American economy. Political pundits have described Paul Ryan as a bold and risky choice because of his unabashed willingness to grasp so called "3rd rail" political issues. However, in this I only have more respect for him.

The main attack on Paul Ryan by liberals has been his plan to structurally reform Medicare. The Democrats even have a political ad that depicts a Ryan look-a-like tossing grandma off a cliff from a wheel chair. However, these scare tactics have no merit and do nothing to resolve the immense problems facing the Medicare program. The fact is the Medicare trust fund runs out of money in four years and cuts must be made. Ironically, Barack Obama takes $716 billion dollars out of the fund to help pay for the massive expenses of Obamacare which still will devour an additional $2 trillion of taxpayers' money over the next decade. He is able to extend Medicare, however, by 8 more years by reducing payments to hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes, and other health care providers. Obviously, Medicare will quickly become much leaner and look very similar to Medicaid until it becomes insolvent.

If Barack Obama wins reelection, his government mandated health care will go into full effect and eventually consume the Medicare program. The quality of care will greatly decline despite the extra debt and taxes Americans as well as American businesses will pay. Before Medicare is extinguished, doctors will increasingly cease to take new patients under the program. There will also be less incentive for many of the brightest minds and competent staff to enter the medical profession or practice in the U.S.  Hospitals and nursing homes will begin to lose money and be forced to reduce services, the quality of care, or personnel. Some will even be forced to shut down altogether. Medical innovations in the U.S. will dramatically retract from state of the art technology to designer medications and therapies. Americans, like in socialist countries, will face long delays for medical procedures or just doctor appointments. Lawsuits for negligence and malpractice will escalate causing prices to escalate with them as those expenses are passed on to the consumer. In effect, Obamacare will be very similar to the care prisoners receive at Stateville. Possibly, Republicans can produce a political ad of grandma behind bars in her wheel chair.

Paul Ryan instead has a plan to bring down costs and increase the quality of care for seniors not by collective rationing but by using free market principles. In ten years, Medicare will be transformed into a voucher system. Seniors will be given a fixed amount of money to buy their own medical insurance. They will have the power to choose amongst competing health care providers. Government will not dictate to the medical providers what they can and cannot do nor will it tell seniors what type of care they will receive. There will be no government board directing the health care industry. Critics point out the voucher may not keep pace with health care costs and shift a growing cost to seniors or force them to settle for lower quality services. Depending on the details, this is probably true, but unavoidable. There is a growing number of elderly in the U.S. and fewer people paying into the fund. The enormous deficit the country endures already consumes 40 cents on every dollar of government revenue in interest payments.

Since Paul Ryan was announced to be Mitt Romney's running mate, there has been speculation that seniors will turn against the Republicans and this will cause them to lose swing states, most notably Florida. However, polling since August 11th demonstrates otherwise. Seniors, since Ryan has been added to the ticket, are more likely to vote Republican. The gap in Florida has narrowed so that it is now an even race. This should be ever more concerning for Obama when the enthusiasm of likely Republican voters is much higher. Although people who answer their telephones may be split 50/50, those who are going to vote for Romney will be decidedly higher. I suppose those scare tactics of the Obama campaign did not succeed or possibly seniors are more scared of Obamacare than Paul Ryan's plan to reform the program so it is better and sustainable. Seniors are not even going to be affected by the proposed voucher system and they are thinking not about themselves but their children and grandchildren. The same goes for Ryan's plans to delay payments for Social Security which will go bankrupt in 21 years. Voters want solutions, not further lies, delusions, or the financial collapse of the country.

The socialist and class warfare antagonist, Barack Obama, has attacked Paul Ryan's tax plan. Recently, I have heard the president declare Ryan seeks a tax code which will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and it will allow people like Mitt Romney to pay virtually no taxes at all. However, Obama has no idea how to grow the economy, only redistribute wealth. There is a reason a 25% top income and corporate tax is necessary to expand the economy as well as keeping dividend and capital gains taxes low. Those people who make over $200,000 are the most contributing citizens in the country. These are your doctors, engineers, scientists, and other professionals. These are also businessmen who are not incorporated and are the largest employers in the U.S. (and, by the way, they did build it). At the end of this year, if Obama wins reelection, taxes will increase for all those people to 45%. This is going to greatly retract the economy and it is going to hurt not just the 1% but the 100% who are not living off the public aid of Barack Obama.

There is this misconception amongst liberals that by taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor, economic growth will occur. However, the vast amount of poor are poor for a reason. They do not know how to grow capital or even save it. At best, redistribution of wealth creates a short term stimulus because of the consumption it creates. Encouraging consumption is the last thing the U.S. needs considering 70% of its economy is based on it and it leads to individual and governmental debt. An illustration of the folly of Obamanomics are people who win the lottery. Those who have never had money before do not know how to invest it. Typically, lump sums of money are blown away in years. I have even read about mega lottery winners filing for bankruptcy soon after spending sprees and terrible investments. Athletes who become sports stars often are poor years after their short careers are over. The NBA and other leagues have recently created funds for their players to pay into so they will have retirement money. Now if the poor who are given or abruptly earn millions of dollars cannot grow their wealth or maintain it, how are those given public aid going to lift the American economy? Liberals call the idea of supply side or trickle down economics "voodoo economics," however, the economy looked a lot better under Ronald Reagan than Barack Obama.

President Obama is correct that if dividends and capital gains were not taxed people like Romney and Warren Buffet would pay little to nothing. This is because a vast amount of their wealth comes from these two sources of income which is taxed currently at 15%. They, furthermore, make huge charitable contributions which are tax deductible. Successful businessmen and women are bright and have ways to pay Uncle Sam as little as possible. Although Paul Ryan agrees that loopholes and numerous tax deductions should be eliminated to create a simpler, fairer tax code, taxes for corporations and shareholders must be kept low. Already American companies pay the highest taxes in the developed world and people wonder why these businesses move to Switzerland or elsewhere. By reducing the taxes of U.S. corporations, the government will not see a reduction in revenue but contrarily the opposite as more and more companies return. I read corporate reports regularly, and I know how and why many corporations move their headquarters overseas. It just makes plain financial sense. Obama appeals to peoples emotions while Ryan is an economic intellectual. He and especially Mitt Romney may not feel Americans pain but they know what works.

Dividends and capital gains are in effect double taxed. The corporation is taxed on its profits and then the shareholders who own the company are taxed again when they receive a portion of those profits. Under Barack Obama, taxes on shareholders who earn over $200,000 will be taxed at about 45% while the corporation is taxed an additional 35%. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that investors who take on great risk funding and growing businesses will have less incentive to do so if they only receive a reward on profits of 20%. To spur growth in the economy, government cannot hit investors over the head with an oppressive tax system. Even former President Bill Clinton has disagreed with Obama's tax increases and said that taxes should remain as they are.

The current national debt is over $16 trillion, surpassing the gross domestic product of the entire nation. It is outrageous that Barack Obama ridicules Paul Ryan's tax plan as increasing the deficit while under his tenure it has skyrocketed almost $6 trillion. A second Obama term will bring the national debt to over $20 trillion. At that point, the country's annual debt will far exceed America's gross domestic product. This means the government will be borrowing more than the entire economy produces. It is absurd this enormous amount of money can be paid on the backs of the wealthy. Already, nearly half of Americans pay ZERO federal income taxes and those Obama seeks to increase taxes on contribute over half of all government revenues. Even if these people were to have their taxes doubled as the president seeks, it will not put a dent in the national deficit. The solution to the nation's debt crisis cannot be solved by more redistribution of wealth as if stirring a pot will magically create more from what you started with. It is also not creating more grasshoppers to live off fewer hard working ants. America must cut spending, increase productivity, and grow its way out of the looming economic catastrophe. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney know how to trim fat and create wealth and prosperity. Barack Obama only knows how to take, oppress, and destroy it.

The Obama campaign in the last two weeks has not been getting any traction on the fiscal debate and therefore has turned to social issues when given the opportunity by an ignorant candidate running for senate. Todd Akin of Missouri this week gave an interview where he claimed a woman can naturally stop the pregnancy of a rapist. Apparently, he has not had a very good education and I and other prisoners have joked about how stupid he must be. However, Akin is not Paul Ryan despite how Democrats and feminists would like to cast them into the same group. It is true Ryan is pro life and will end government mandated free contraception, but this is honorable and just. The government should not be imposing its values or lack of them onto churches or other charitable organizations as well as health care insurance companies. Neither contraception nor abortion are health issues in the vast majority of cases. They often are a means for men, but especially women to avoid responsibility which should not be encouraged or financed by the American taxpayer.

Since Paul Ryan has been announced to become the running mate of Mitt Romney, I have renewed enthusiasm and belief the Republicans will win in November and turn this country around. The inmate who I wagered on Obamacare and Romney's vice presidential choice to a stalemate, has accepted a new wager on the presidential election. He does not want Obama to win but thinks it is inevitable. The mass media is unquestionably behind the president, social demographics have changed, and many people have become dependent on the nanny state. America has changed radically from its roots and the news media is predominately biased in favor of liberalism, but I think Paul Ryan has the ability to break through those headwinds. On my way to chow, I have taunted my political nemesis even telling him he is invited to the tea party at my cell. I will be serving tea along with various desserts. The lieutenant quipped instead he will bring the Uncle Ben's Rice and fried chicken to celebrate Obama's victory. I asked him if he did not mean dog meat which the president has said to have eaten while living in Indonesia. Walking back to the cell house, I thought it was preposterous Obama who is a millionaire eats any of those things. He may not be as rich as Romney but lives quite lavishly. Despite what Obama may say or how he acts, he is a part of the 1% he demonizes in his rhetoric.

I am looking forward to the battle of ideologies this election year in large part due to the ideas Paul Ryan puts forth. In many national elections, both candidates run to the center and attempt to blur their values. However, in 2012, there will be a clear contrast in messages: socialism and big government vs. free market capitalism and individual liberty. This presidential election may be the most important choice American voters will ever make. There is no return from the path Barack Obama seeks to take this country. He will change the Republic indefinitely, and I doubt if it will ever be able to claw its way out of the abyss. As a prisoner, I have no vote. I am also a captive who lives in a cage and my circumstances probably will not change in the slightest regardless who wins this November. However, although my existence may be meaningless, I can see past the bars, fences of razor wire, and walls around this maximum-security prison and envision the millions who will be affected, if not the world. I may be oppressed and hopeless but this need not be the case for others.

1 comment:

  1. "hit like a pinata..." hahaha... a humorous reference to the ever-growing majority of democratic voters? If so, really funny. But funny either way because it's true.

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