Monday, August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan Playing Mr Potter

Paul Ryan makes me angry. He makes me angry in the same way Norman Tebbitt, a former Conservative politician in Britain, used to make me angry.

Tebbitt was a crony of Margaret Thatcher's and sat in her Cabinet. It was Tebbitt who, along with his wife, was injured in the Brighton bombing back in the 1980s. Norman Tebbitt, like Maggie Thatcher, had working-class roots. Tebbitt was the plain-talking face of the working class who'd turned to the Tory party for sustenance and had made good. Tebbitt was the Cabinent minister, who - when a huge chunk of the country was faltering under large-scale unemployment - told the unemployed, simply, to "get on your bike."

Meanwhile, in Spain, I read that unemployment is so bad and austerity has cut back on benefits so much that people are forced to remove their elderly parents from care homes, solely for the purpose of collecting their pension cheques as a means of financial survival.

Now, here's the gist of my message.

Paul Ryan's father died when Paul was a teenager. At the same time, his elderly grandmother was being cared for locally in a care home. When Mr Ryan Sr passed away, young Paul was entitled to his Social Security payments, considering that this is what SSI was originally supposed to do. And when Mr Ryan Sr died, his widow removed the elderly Mrs Ryan from her care home and brought her back to live with her and young Paul. One would like to think this was done from a sense of duty and devotion, but that pales before the fact that Mrs Ryan Sr used her mother-in-law's Social Security pension as a means of providing for the family, whilst young Paul dutifully banked his daddy's pension payment monthly toward the cost of his college education.

Without Social Security - a government-funded program - the Ryan family would have been destitute and Paul Ryan would have spent the rest of his life, probably driving the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. So, really, Ryan should be down on his knees in thanks to the government for the education it made possible for this toerag to achieve. He should also be thanking Medicare, because - no doubt - whilst Grandma Ryan's pension provided food for the Ryan household, her medical expenses were covered by Medicare, another government program.

The cruel irony of all this is that Paul Ryan's infamous budget, passed by the Republican House,  and stamped with the Tea Party's seal of approval, would seek to obliterate Social Security and  Medicare from existence - amongst other things.

The fact that Mitt Romney has chosen this Eddie Munster-doppelganger with the winsome eye contact of Princess Diana (another fraud), gives credence to the fact that this version of the GOP lives only to gut the government of any help and assistance it would give to middle- and low-income earners. But then, this has been the aim of the GOP since Roosevelt enacted his signature legislation. Actually, it's ludicrous that, after the fact, that the cowardly Romney campaign is now distancing itself from the Ryan plan, which - when widdle Paul accepted the VP nod - became joined at the hip with Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign.

Anyone with any modicum of common sense would see that a Presidential candidate, ostensibly, at odds with his running-mate is big trouble for the nation; but let's be honest: As far as the Republicans are concerned, this election is actually, really, truthfully all about subtly pointing out to a particular tranche of people just how "scary" it is to have a black man at the helm of government. And that's the rub.

The price the people would have to pay for this fear is electing a liar who will be in thrall to the extremist Right wing section of the Republican party, accompanied by the architect of a budget which will leave riot and ruination in its wake with a firm FUCK YOU message to the poor, the elderly, the indigent and - above all - the sacred middle class.

Once again, the New York Times nails everything in a brilliant editorial.

As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan drew a blueprint for a government that would be absent when people needed it the most. Medicaid, food stamps, and other vital programs would be offloaded to the states, but the states would not be given the resources to run them. The federal government simply would not be there to help the unemployed who need job training, or struggling students who seek college educations. Washington would be unable to respond when a city cannot properly treat its sewage, or when the poor and uninsured overload emergency rooms as clinics close.
More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan come from programs for low-income Americans. These cuts are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops protested the proposal as failing to meet society’s moral obligations, saying the plans “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors.”
To Mr. Ryan, the poor will benefit when they no longer rely on government handouts. But his plans contain no pathway to self-reliance for the tens of millions of people who are either poor, unemployed or uninsured. In his world, they will be entirely on their own, or will rely on charity.

If any of this should sound cruelly familiar, think Mr Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, because if budget proposed by Ryan were to be enacted, then we would all see our society forcefully hauled back to the bad old days of the latter 19th Century robber barons. In fact, in many Republican-controlled states, legislatures are doing just that by enacting the sort of legislation which would, effectively, prohibit certain demographics from voting.

For anyone and everyone on either side of the political fence who railed at and accused our current President of weakness (and in a way which whiffed unpleasantly of the pejorative mythology of the black man as weak), here's Mitt Romney, raised by a liberal father, who's formerly run to the Left of Ted Kennedy, and a moderate Republican governer elected by a blue state, tying his coattails and his future to the cruellest, most extreme faction of his Party.

 Mr. Romney made a clear statement in choosing the most extreme of the vice-presidential possibilities, both in Mr. Ryan’s economic views and his positions on social issues, like his opposition to contraception coverage under the health care reform law for employees of religiously affiliated institutions, repeal of the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy, and sensible gun control. More than any small differences that eventually develop between the men, it is their shared and troubling goals that bind them together.

If, at the end of the day, the electorate balk at re-electing the most competent President in modern history, then we may wake up to find we've allowed a 21st Century version of Mr Potter access and permission to mould our future to his vision. 

No comments:

Post a Comment