ATLANTA - Early Saturday morning, former Massachusetts Gov.announced his running mate, Rep. of Wisconsin.
Young and well-spoken, Rep. Ryan is a strong supporter of what many consider extreme right-wing conservative policies. His voting record on a number of issues, including a bill that repealed key provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act, reinforce the notion.
Some call him an ideologue. I don't know that this isn't accurate. Not that that means anything necessarily, it's just good to know that he is just about the exact opposite of his running mate.
Ryan is a career politician, and lifelong Republican. Romney didn't enter politics officially as a Republican until he was well into his 40s; previous to this he'd been registered as an Independent.
To understand Ryan, though, one must do more than simply compare and contrast him with Romney. One must understand the influences that have guided Ryan's economic thought.
A student of Milton Friedman's economic ideas , it comes as no surprise then that Ryan voted to repeal Glass Steagall and to privatize (?) Social Security. Friedman was chief economist during the Reagan Era, a huge proponent of Post-Keynesian economics. Mr. Friedman's model economy, as he often remarked, was Hong Kong's heavily deregulated, sweat shop and knock-off heavy version. My description, not his.
Friedman felt that the business practices in Hong Kong were fair, because after all, that's what the "market" dictated, right? Who are we to tell people that they should only work for a livable wage when evidence shows that they'll work themselves to death for much, much less?
Oddly enough, Friedman's ideas were adopted by a number of influential heads of state, including Margaret Thatcher. In general though his theories were applied mostly to South American countries, their leaders corrupted by the idea of unlimited wealth.
A specific excample of Freidman and his Nobel Prize winning theories in action may be Chile. In the early 1970s after a CIA backed coup, Chile's economy was thrown into a tailspin. Prices skyrocketed. Under the tyrant Pinoche, Chileans spent an estimated 74% of their income on bread.
Freidman began advising the dictator on economic policy in the midst of the chaos.
Reasercher Naomi Klein dubbed Friedman's philosophy the Shock Doctrine. Essentially, it is a system based primarily on keeping the citizenry in line monetarily by threatening that communists would come in the night and redistribute everyone's wealth. Starting to sound familiar?
By choosing Ryan as his running mate, Gov. Romney has thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak. Ryan is as extreme right as one can get without coming back around in a full circle.
Ryan voted in favor of the Iraq invasion, and also voted in favor of the Bush Administrations TARP plan, the initial $700 billion bailout of Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs. I mean, they're too big to fail, right?
Just this year, Ryan voted in favor of H.R. 4310 a defense spending bill that would increase the defense budget to unprecedented levels.
Under Ryan's heavy hand, "entitlement programs" (Social Security, veteran's benefits) would be significantly defunded, though. After all, American's need to learn fiscal responsibility.
I don't want to tell anyone who to vote for. I will say however, that despite mainstream media coverage to the contrary, there are a number of candidates vying for the highest office in the land come the November election.
In it's purest form, government is supposed to be our shield against humanity's baser instincts. The irrational desire to murder, to take what is not ones own, to abuse the defenseless.
As the election looms ever nearer, it seems we may have forgotten this somewhat.
But, like I said earlier, I won't tell you who to vote for.
Actually, not to be too cliche, but I kinda like how Battle: Los Angeles. In the film, Eckhart plays a Marine sergeant tasked with defending the planet from off-world invaders.put it in
In the face of overwhelming odds, his newly promoted commanding officer begins to lose it. Eckhart pulls the young lieutenant aside and says,
"You can go left. You can go right. I don't care, just make a decision."
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.
Benjamin Burton Jr.