Monday, August 13, 2012

Winning By Losing ... We the People Will Win in November, Regardless of Who's Elected

Paul Ryan is now the somewhat surprising nominee for Vice President on the Republican ticket.

Democrats seem to like the choice.

I do, too. Now we'll see what happens this November when the votes are counted.

The Kempian Roots of Ryanomics says this about Mr. Ryan and his beliefs:

"President Obama's campaign is exulting that Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate highlights the contrast of campaign visions about America's economic direction. They're right....

Mr. Ryan broke into politics in the 1990s at Empower America, where he became a protégé of former Buffalo Congressman Jack Kemp, the pro-growth, pro-trade, pro-immigration leader of the GOP during the Reagan revolution and into the 1990s. Kemp understood, as Mr. Ryan also does, that while spending restraint is important, faster economic growth is a precondition to averting a fiscal impasse. More than anyone else in Washington in recent years, Mr. Ryan has adopted the Reagan-Kemp message.

At Empower America, Mr. Ryan worked with Kemp on issues ranging from enterprise zones for inner cities to school choice. Like Kemp, Mr. Ryan has always made a case that free-market policies benefit minorities and poor people generally who are "capital deprived." That message has special resonance now given the reversal of minority progress on income growth, and the high black and Hispanic unemployment rates, during the Obama years. . . .

Mr. Ryan has made clear in his budget and has educated his congressional colleagues that with a growth rate of less than 2% you can never cut government spending or raise taxes enough to balance the budget. At what is now the explicit Romney-Ryan target of 4% annual growth, deficit reduction and fiscal stability would be achievable, and with much less pain and suffering. When I recently asked Mr. Ryan whether 4% growth was reasonable, he responded: "It should be easy. Under Reagan we had growth rates of 7% and even 8%.". . .

Where Mr. Ryan diverges from Jack Kemp is on his emphasis on spending restraint, which is in part a function of their separate eras. Federal spending and debt are simply too big to ignore now. The difference between the Obama spending baseline over the next decade and the Ryan baseline is just over $5 trillion. Mr. Obama would allow the debt to grow by $10 trillion over the next decade, while under Mr. Ryan that growth would be cut in half. Mr. Ryan's House Republican budget would lower the debt as a share of GDP to 50% from 72.5% now, while the ratio rises under Mr. Obama.

The Obama fiscal strategy has taken federal spending from 20% of GDP to 24.1% in 2011, while Mr. Ryan's budget would slowly return the spending locomotive to 19.8% within a decade. That's a giant difference.

Mr. Ryan's budget is also aimed at reducing what he calls "the dependency culture" in Washington. Mr. Obama publicly acknowledges the entitlement time bomb, but his presidency has resulted in expanding dependency on Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, student aid, mortgage subsidies, and on and on. Fifty-seven percent of American households now receive a government check or service every month."

What's not to like about Paul Ryan?  Well, read on.

Some Seniors Worry Over Ryan Selection discusses the Medicare and entitlements issue now squarely facing the Romney and Ryan team:

"The news that Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan, who has suggested changing Medicare, as his running mate sparked worries over the weekend among some residents at the Stella Maris retirement community in Miami Beach—concerns that could reverberate among seniors nationwide.
Mr. Ryan has proposed overhauling Medicare and Social Security—including introducing private accounts for Social Security and giving future retirees the option to choose a privately run health insurance plan. . . .

Republicans say the changes would safeguard the programs for the future, while Democrats argue they would cut seniors' benefits and saddle them with greater financial obligations.

The argument that prevails in this retiree-rich state—where people aged 65 and older make up roughly a quarter of the electorate—could prove decisive come November.

Seniors have proved a tough audience for President Barack Obama. A July Mason-Dixon poll of Florida registered voters found that 42% of seniors supported the president, compared with 47% for Mr. Romney—Mr. Obama's weakest performance among various age groups. Meanwhile, 39% of seniors supported the president's health-care law, while 54% opposed it.

Another poll conducted in July for the AARP, the big advocacy group for older adults, showed that only 37% of retirees were hopeful or confident about achieving their financial goals in the next five years, compared with 49% who were worried or concerned.

Now, Democrats sense an opening. As soon as Mr. Romney's vice-presidential pick was announced, they went on the offensive. "Both Ryan and Romney want to end Medicare as we know it," said Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.

Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist in Florida, questions the effectiveness of such Democratic attacks. The "kill-Granny" argument, as he put it, "has been their strategy for decades," he said. "As a general rule, it has not worked." . . .

The battle for Florida's seniors may well devolve into a debate over what should scare seniors more—Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul or Mr. Ryan's Medicare proposals, said Daniel Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida. "Is that fearmongering? Of course it is," he said. "Politics is filled with playing to those deep concerns."

It's an argument Democrats believe they can win. "Middle class families and seniors in my home state of Florida want no part of a Romney-Ryan economic scheme that puts millionaires ahead of Medicare," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

But Mr. Wilson says Democrats "are fooling themselves" if they think they can win a debate framed as a choice between "a hypothetical situation under a Ryan plan and the actual circumstances of Obamacare."

With many seniors already decided on a candidate, the real fight will center on the small group whose loyalties remain up for grabs. For those voters, many of them moderates, Mr. Romney's choice of someone from the right wing of the GOP could prove risky.

"I think Romney should have picked someone more middle-of-the-road," said Manny Meland, an 82-year-old independent who lives in Miami Beach. "I don't want [politicians] to rule with ideology. That puts me off."

Mac Williams, a 62-year-old independent who receives Social Security and lives in New Port Richey, north of Tampa, was similarly turned off by Mr. Romney's choice. "Ryan is entirely too extreme," he said. "I think Romney blew his chance of winning over independents.""


In his bid for re-election, President Obama apparently intends to offer no plan to fix our nation's unaffordable entitlement benefits, including Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare and Social Security.

The Democrats evidently believe they can win by staying away from an honest discussion of our enormous financial issues, most of which center around the elderly and the sorry legacy that continuing to follow our current big government, big spending policies will leave to future generations to solve.

My own view is that both decency and morality require that we have such a serious and long overdue debate about our fiscal budget, national debt and unaffordable entitlements--- even if it means losing the election this November. Our kids and grandkids deserve nothing less from us.

By having this straightforward discussion about running toward or staying away from our many financial issues, and regardless of who wins in November, We the People will come in the next few short months to know much more about what has to be done than we would have known had Romney played it safe and not picked Ryan as his running mate. 

And engaging in such a critically important national conversation can only help advance the entitlements discussion toward an eventual and totally necessary solution.


The days of ducking and hiding from the real issues facing America are numbered, and politics as usual is on the engdangered species list for sure.

So even if Romney-Ryan lose the election, in my view they will have proven themselves to be winners.

And whatever happens, We the People will be better off for the ideological debate about to take place in clear view of We the People.

Winning by losing isn't so bad, but winning outright is an even better outcome.

As the saying goes, if we know where we're going to end up, we may as well go there now.

I know that individual freedom and competitive capitalism is the best road for all Americans to travel, and that's especially the case for the less fortunate among us.

Isn't politics full of irony?

Thanks. Bob.

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