Backward to the Future!

Paul Ryan revealing his master plan at Cleveland State

 Ryanomics is Smoke and Mirrors

Watching the presidential election unfold, I am reminded of an observation on the American character posited by the late political theorist and cultural critic Harold Cruse: “Americans are anti-intellectual and anti-historical.”  One need only look at the opinion polls on likely voting patterns of the American electorate – which has President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney running neck and neck – in order to see the obvious truth of Professor Cruise’s observation.

In less than four years after the Republicans wrecked the economy – despite inheriting a multi-billion dollar surplus from the Clinton Administration  –  President Obama stepped in and saved the world from a financial catastrophe,  resulting’ from a total collapse of the American banking system.

Yet while the President has employed  innovative policies to restore the economy, the Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan are proposing the same policies employed by the Bushmen that led to the great disaster.  As  President Clinton observed, Ryanomics is Bushinomics “on steroids.” And the GOP is counting on millions of Americans being too ignorant to recognize it…alas.

This is why Ryan could feel confident in presenting a speech that gets the rhetoric right but the policy wrong.  Trying his best to look empathetic he opined:

Too many children, especially African-American and Hispanic children, are sent to mediocre schools and expected to perform with excellence. African-American and Hispanic children make up only 38% of the nation’s overall students; but they are 69% of the students to the schools identified as the lowest performing. That’s unacceptable. We owe every child a chance to succeed in life in this country.

He even quoted Abraham Lincoln, a man whose legacy has been disgraced by reactionary Republicans like him.  “In the words of Abraham Lincoln, we all owe them an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.”  Since Lincoln was killed before he was faced with dealing with the plight of the newly freed slaves it would have been far more informative to quote Frederick Douglass, who pointed out that both the Egyptian Pharaohs and the Russian Czar was  more generous to their bondsmen than white Americans upon freeing them.

Only in the US were slaves given nothing to get them started after 250 years of slavery. Instead whites erected a system of institutional discrimination that was protected by law 100 years after the country fought a very bloody war to end slavery.  Not only did “Lyin Ryan” dodge any meaningful discussion of the legacy of racism in the USA, the government programs that Ryan trashed in his speech, were indispensable to the progress of African-Americans…and poor whites too.

Ryan recited the same silly superficial Republican talking points about the glories of the free market, which he assured us if left alone without government regulation or taxation will solve all our problems and provide a new heaven on earth.  The problem is that we have heard it all before.

Ryan’s ideas are just recycled dogma that we first heard as “The Laffer Curve” or “Supply side Economics,” which was the economic model of the Reagan years that resulted in the greatest shift of wealth from the poor to the rich in American history, and created the first billion dollar deficit.   We heard this persistent Republican prattle again when George Bush adopted it as the basis of his economic program,  and dare we forget how close these policies brought this nation to economic destruction?

Ryan closed his scripted spiel with the following drivel:

“Whether we are rich or poor, black, brown or white, American by chance or by choice, we are one nation, rising or falling together,” he said. “That is the promise of America, and we can make it real in the lives of the many who feel left out. To all those Americans, I ask you to support our campaign, because our cause is yours, and yours is ours.”

The simple fact is that the policies Ryan proposes cannot achieve this promise.  It is not as if we are in unfamiliar territory here; we have the recent record of the results of Democratic and Republican economic policies. After eight years Bill Clinton left the federal budget was balanced and created a surplus, while lifting 8 million people out of poverty.  Under eight years of Bush the surplus was squandered, the economy crashed, millions were unemployed, record deficits were created, 8.3 million Americans was reduced to poverty and poverty rose among children by  3%.

When we examine the proposed Ryan ‘Prosperity Budget” – which has been passed by the Republican controlled House and Romney has previously approved – there is no way to achieve the promises Ryan made in his Ohio speech.  For instance he plans to pay for the 5 trillion  dollar tax cuts  – the lion’s share going to the rich – by cutting funding to programs that serve the neediest Americans by 62%.  He would severely cut food stamps, healthcare benefits, the child tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Taken together these programs have prevented millions of Americans – children and adults – from falling below the poverty line and going to bed hungry.  This is why the bishops and theologians of his professed Catholic faith have called Ryan’s economic vision for America inhumane. It has been roundly denounced by the largest national coalition of church congregations the PICO network.

“The mission of the Church is to ‘bring good news to the poor’ and to protect the vulnerable, not to justify the impoverishment of the very young, the very old and the sick in order to enrich the wealthy…” Their statement said in part.

Father John Baumann independently echoed this view and exposed Congressman Ryan as a hypocrite:

“It’s the height of hypocrisy for Rep. Ryan to claim that his approach to the budget is shaped by Catholic teaching and values,” said Fr. John Baumann. “A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”

Hence while Ryan’s  economic philosophy reflects the vision of ungodly Social Darwinist Ayn Rand – whose ideas Ryan is captured on videotape claiming as both his inspiration and guide as a politician –  but it does not keep faith with the teaching of Jesus Christ.  Hence even if these policies get him elected vice president, they will not get him into the kingdom of heaven….and life on earth, here and now, will become a hellish experience for everybody but the rich.

Ryan Exposes His True Intentions

The are all running from it now!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

October 25, 2012

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