In a cynical, divisive and fact-challenged speech Wednesday night, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan offered a vision of America that may be the dream of the extreme-right, tea party Republican base and the wealthy, corporate financiers fueling Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, but it is a nightmare for America’s working families, according to the AFL-CIO.
According to the union, Paul Ryan painted a picture of his and Mitt Romney’s vision of America where he and Romney choose more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations — paid for by cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and other programs that poor and working-class families rely upon. It’s paid for with cuts to investments in our future such as education and rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure, both vital to maintaining and growing a middle class.
Ryan appealed to resentment and division, cynically labeling Obama’s cutting of waste from Medicare as a takeaway from seniors. But the reality is that the Affordable Care Act cut overpayments to private insurers who were making billions in profits. That money was invested back into traditional Medicare. Seniors saw improvements, not cuts to their Medicare benefits.
“The vision Ryan painted tonight is a vision that is shaded pale and leaves no room for DREAMers,” the union said in an e-mail blast reacting to the speech. “Ryan may have avoided the harsh anti-union rhetoric that is a staple of his and Romney’s campaign speeches. But a listen to the convention remarks of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and a look at the Republican platform shows the depth of the Republican/tea party hatred of unions and workers and their road map to dismantling collective bargaining rights.”
With Romney’s well-known privileged background and life in the elite upper atmosphere of the corporate world—where he pioneered today’s common practice of offshoring America’s workers. Ryan tried to cast himself as up from the working class. Perhaps compared to Romney, but as the Los Angeles Times notes, “Ryan’s rise to political power and financial stability was boosted by family connections and wealth.”
Ryan touted the economic policies and principles that shape the Romney/Ryan vision of America. That vision is drawn from Ryan’s budget plan that most economists deride as a steroid-fueled rehash of failed Bush policies and discredited Reagan-era supply side economics.
Romney-Ryan gives millionaires tax breaks while the poor and working class pay in cuts to programs and services.
The Romney/Ryan budget blueprint shifts an enormous burden to states and repeals the Affordable Care Act. The long-term impact of its spending cuts, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office, would shut down all government functions except defense, Social Security and health care. That includes, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “everything from veterans’ programs to medical and scientific research, highways, education, nearly all programs for low-income families and individuals other than Medicaid, national parks, border patrols, protection of food safety and the water supply, law enforcement, and the like.”
Ryan said “America needs a turnaround.” Turnarounds like Romney specialized in as head of Bain Capital, turnarounds that shipped American jobs overseas and shattered the dreams of working families?
Surely mainstream working Americans and rank and file union members are not going to vote for that vision on Nov. 6.
© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.