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by E. F. Kaeding
12 Sep 2012
The economic crisis, the massive indebtedness of the country and Obama's election have radicalized politics and voters. Ryan's budget was recently described as a "fairy tale." The plan would in no way stop the economic decline of the country. Others call the plan a joke. Ryan's brain is so full of cognitive dissonances that he drives a normal person mad.
By E. F. Kaeding
[This article published 8/27/2012 in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.heise.de/tp/druck/mb/artikel/37/37505/1.html.]
With Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, a Republican dream team is discovered. If they should enter the White House, they could complete the vision of the Republican "New Deal"
Mitt Romney focuses on what is central: work hard. Work hard and success comes automatically, he preaches. He has accumulated private assets of $250 million as head of the investment firm Bain Capital. The firm has an ice-cold calculating business model. He stores his millions in tax havens and pays 13 percent tax. His wife Ann makes her hobby, the dressage horse Rafalca, into a business and deducts the costs from her tax. The free market is transfigured into a friend and helper.
Anyone could be equal to them, Mitt Romney is convinced. The state, this machine eager for regulation and acting the big shot, wants to chain the power of the free market and animates its citizens to receive alms instead of working. With Paul Ryan, the practical man and architect who hammered out the theoretical substructure for this dogma is now brought on board.
PAUL RYAN'S "PATH TO PROSPERITY"
The 42-year old representative from Wisconsin in the House of Representatives is regarded as a leading thinker of his party for the far-reaching restructuring of the US. "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal,"  his budget draft for the US presented in the spring, shows why his idea of redesigning the country is radical.
$5.3 trillion should be saved over the next ten years. The plan includes privatizing social security and the state health insurance for pensioners, Medicare. Seniors must expect a cost increase of $6,400 up to 2022, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded.  There will be tax cuts from which those earning over $1 million will profit most. For them, there will be savings  of $265,011 compared to $246 for citizens bringing home between $20,000 and $30,000.
But that is not all. Ryan wants to cut $2.4 billion from Medicaid, the health care program for families with low incomes and other health provisions so 44 million persons will not be covered. SNAP, the program for food stamps, will have to manage with $143 million or 17 percent less. Compared to Obama's budget plan, Ryan wants to spend 33 percent less up to 2022 "for education, training, employment and social services," the Washington Post warns [White House's budget plan (4) vs. Ryan's (5)].
THE ETERNAL BATTLE
Through social cuts and privatization of health programs, Ryan wants to shrivel his country to health and lead it back to its old economic strength. Together with Romney's belief in the freedom of markets and tax breaks for firms, they form the core of the party ideology on domestic policy: reward the rich, punish the poor and force the rest to struggle to survive.
For decades, the Grand Old Party has fought the same battle since Roosevelt successfully responded to the economic crisis of the 1930s with economic- and social reforms by introducing unemployment assistance, social security and laws regulating the financial markets. Displeasure rose within the party when Johnson concretized his vision of a more just America with environmental- and consumer protection policy and programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Ideas near Social Darwinism seldom had such a good chance of being implemented as now.
THE CRISIS AS A CHANCE
The economic crisis, the massive indebtedness of the country and Obama's election as president have radicalized politics and voters. Obama-care is one very prominent point at issue in the land.
Romney may have gained two percentage points in 12 swing states and is now nearly equal with the president according to a survey  by Purple Strategies from August 15, 2012, just after Ryan's nomination to be his vice-president. In a new survey  by the Quinnipiac University/ CBS News/ New York Times, Romney rallies while Obama loses several percentage points.
The reasons are varied and show that the US has long been in an identity crisis and not only in an economic crisis. Some still fear  the fairy-tale of the "socialist" Obama. Others living at the subsistence level simply want a change. Still others are annoyed that the state under Obama distributes so much income support that it is more rewarding for some to hold out their hand instead of going to work.
If life goes downhill instead of forward, in what should people hope? "Our country needs a push," Romney supporter Clint Eastwood declares.  He appeals to the emotional state in the country. Paul Ryan seemingly offers the necessary drastic cure. "His selection seems to have a small positive effect for Romney," said Peter Brown, acting director of the Quinnipiac-survey on CBS' "Face to Face" .
FETISH FOR TAX CUTS
But there are also critical voices from own ranks. The former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, David A. Stockman, recently described Ryan's budget proposal in a New York Times article as a "fairy tale." The plan would in no way stop the economic decline of the country, Stockman warns. The banks on Wall Street that stick to the state like warts and are prone to speculations could be the greatest problem. The plan demonstrates nothing but Ryan's "fetish" for tax cuts for the super-rich and alleged job creators.
Nobel Prize winner for economics Paul Krugman calls the plan a "joke" [12} whose numbers are contradictory. Ralph Nader offers the most entertaining slap in the face: "Paul Ryan's brain," he writes , "is so full of cognitive dissonances that he drives a normal person insane."
But "normal" is not clear any more since the success of the Tea Party. The US election campaign involves rage, powerlessness, fiscal-political fanaticism, pipe dreams and fewer and fewer rational arguments. For Romney appearing interpersonally stiff and cold, Ryan will play the desired role of warming and uniting the skeptics.
CONSERVATIVE "NEW DEAL"
Eighty years after Roosevelt's New Deal and over 40 years after Johnson's Great Society, programs that marked the face of the US as a free and fair society, the GOP is nearer than ever to turning back these achievements.
First, there was George W. Bush's neoconservative flexing of muscles in foreign policy and now Romney and Ryan's domestic neoliberalism. The circle closes. Republicans see the fulfillment of their dream of their own conservative "New Deal": merciless market freedom and social deforestation. The arch-conservative guidelines  will be presented at the party convention  in Tampa, Florida.
Maintaining the social peace is an argument for state responsibility, above all considering today's financial management. Social peace could be over if both of them enter the White House without carrying out their ideas. However the team seems prepared for this possibility. The Defense budget is one of the few programs where increases instead of cuts are earmarked.
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