By Michael R. Griffith for the College Democrats
Mitt Romney changed GOP tactics this election cycle. Instead of picking a vice presidential nominee who is a Washington outsider, he chose the ultimate Washington insider, someone who’s spent his entire post-college career involved with D.C. politics: Paul Ryan. Ryan hails from Wisconsin, was elected to Congress in 1998, became the chair for the House budgetary committee in 2011 and has been considered a “policy wonk” by conservative colleagues and the Tea Party.
Ryan claims to be a “fiscal conservative” and a “deficit hawk,” preaching that he will make the tough choices to lead our country out of debt, but don’t believe the hype. Ryan is just another cut taxes, cut services, increase defense spending, increase the deficit Republican. Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts, Troubled Asset Relief Program and the auto bail-out, strange moves for such a “deficit hawk,” whose recent budget proposals have been as astoundingly cruel to the old and poor as they are generous to the wealthy.
I’m not sure if Ryan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing or if he is blissfully unaware of the damage his budgets would cause to millions of Americans. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman called his budget “simultaneously ridiculous and heartless,” while the Congressional Budget Office projects that “over the next decade the plan would lead to bigger deficits and more debt than current law.”
This is not a vision for American fiscal sustainability, but another one of the Republicans’ irresponsible budget policies that raised the deficit and helped lead the country into its current state. These are policies that hurt Americans who need the most assistance: our poor, our elderly and ourselves.
What policies would directly affect us? To begin with, Ryan wants to cut Pell grants by $170 billion over the next 10 years, causing over one million students to lose their Pell grants entirely during this time. According to an article by Joy Resmovits, Ryan wants to “allow the interest rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans to double (and) end student loan interest subsidies for those still in school.” If you’re one of the students that depend on both Pell grants and loans, well, good luck with that.
The list of problems with Paul Ryan continues: He’s an environmental nightmare, his social conservatism is astounding (his track record for women and LGBT rights are incredibly poor), his foreign policy experience is minimal, he voted to make the Patriot Act permanent, he has been a major force of gridlock in Congress and what he wants to do to millions of children, disabled and elderly on Medicare and Medicaid is shameful.
Do I think he was a good political choice for Romney? Maybe. Ryan should help Romney gain support with that extreme conservative base. Do I think Ryan would be a good choice for our nation? For the love of America, no.