San Jose, CA — After going through names such as Condoleezza Rice, Bobby Jindal, David Petraeus, Susana Martinez, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee as potential running mates for his presidential bid, Mitt Romney picks Wisconsin First Congressional District Representative Paul Ryan as his election partner for the November polls.
At first glance, Generation-X Vice Presidential candidate Paul Davis Ryan kind of reminds you of a cross between Kasey Kasem and Mr. Fred Rogers. The Wisconsin born and bred GOP candidate has been serving as Congressional Representative for the 1st district of Wisconsin since 1999 and he is already on his 7th term. A graduate of Miami University in Ohio, Paul Ryan has been an aide to Senator Bob Kasten of Wisconsin, a speechwriter for then Republican Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp in 1996 and as a legislative director for Kansas Senator Sam Brownback.
Ryan has been at the helm of the House Budget Committee and is key figure in coming up with budget proposals of the Republican Party. He has been credited for coming up with the budget proposal plan called the “The Path to Prosperity” or more popularly known as the “Ryan Budget.”
Despite the many reincarnations of the Ryan Budget, it failed to garner support to make it into a house bill. The first version of the Path to Prosperity was first released back in 2008. The proposed bill placed heavy cuts on Medicare and was so unpopular that it only attracted 8 sponsors, it never even survived the committee evaluations. Version 2.0 was supposed to be another option for the 2010 United States federal budget. With this proposal, the top tax rate would be cut down to 25%, a mandatory 5-year spending freeze on any kind of discretionary spending, an 8.5% value-added consumption tax, get rid of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and still heavily slash Medicare.
In the said plan, anyone born after 1975 would no longer be eligible for Medicare but instead will have to avail of vouchers to procure private insurance which was to begin in 2021. He was heavily criticized for his proposal for not having concrete figures to rely on, his voucher system was dependent on the inflation increase and not the medical cost increase which will only partially insure beneficiaries, people can also opt out of federal income tax and just pay a flat 10% rate based on adjusted gross income up to $100,000 and any income after that would be taxed 25%. It eventually lost in the House by 293-137 votes and 38 Republicans opposed the bill.
But not to be deterred, Ryan came up with version 3.0 which he called H.R. 4529 Roadmap for America’s Future Act of 2010. In this modified version, income tax rates would be reduced to give way to across-the-board tax cuts, get rid of income taxes received from capital gains, interests and dividends, drop estate tax, corporate income tax, alternative minimum tax. The plan also proposed privatization on some parts of the Social Security, dump the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance and Medicare privatization. He does have a major beef with Medicare.
And after this proposal failed to attract support, a fourth version came out H.Con.Res. 34 targeting the fiscal budget for 2012. It had a bit of success in the House of Representatives by winning in a vote of 235-193, with only 4 Republicans voting against it. But it died in the Senate by a vote of 57-40.
But he is a man who believes that it is better to try and try again and March of 2012 proposed another bill for the federal budget for the fiscal year 2013. It has passed the House by a vote of 228-191. This proposal aims to cut down all discretionary spending and reduce the GDP to 3.75% by 2050.
With proposed budget plans, Paul Ryan has earned the praise of deficit hawks who are keen in reducing the nation’s budget deficit. Ryan’s proposals indeed will slash the budget to a great extent at the expense Medicare and Medicaid and somewhat favors the rich but taxing 95% of the American population. If his budget plan goes into effect, it would be a nightmare come true for low income earners and minorities.
Mitt Romney fully supports Paul Ryan’s vision and that is one of the reasons why he chose him as running mate. With the selection of Paul Ryan, the GOP has refreshed its focus on fiscal spending which will be the focal point of their campaign. Romney’s campaign has been re-energized.
But for the Obama camp, the party has found another option to attack the GOP campaign with the naming of Paul Ryan as running mate. Team Obama has now focused their attack on Ryan’s Budget which they described as a “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”
Paul Ryan’s appeal to draw crowds and the ability to come up with ideas maybe the stuff that Romney needs to win the campaign but he could also be his downfall if his opponent will capitalize on the issue of the GOP’s proposed fiscal spending. But one thing is for sure, being drafted to run as vice president will definitely propel Paul Ryan to greater heights and fame. He might end up being president one day if his luck does not run out.