By now, I expect you've heard the news that Paul Ryan is Romney's vice president pick. This is not an entirely unexpected development in the campaign, honestly. Ryan is really the closest thing to a policy wonk the Republicans have, especially on the economic side; as the architect of the last two budgets the GOP's put forward, I feel like this pick represents the Romney campaign's desire to centralize economic issues right up until Election Day.
Of course, the fact that I call Ryan the closest thing to a policy wonk that the right wing has should be a greatly depressing sentence for anyone that actually wants the GOP to have any influence over policy at all for the next twenty years. I won't hold my breath though.
Why do I say that? In a word, Ryan's policy proposals are ridiculous. The fact that his ideas are representative of intellectual thought and serious policy proposals on the right wing actively scares me. The budgets that he's put forward would be actively disastrous for everyone other than the top hundredth of one percent of Americans by wealth, cutting pretty much anything and everything from Pell grants to Medicare. And because it's not enough to gut the social safety net (that he's already benefited from, no less!), he's proposed cutting taxes on the wealthy while increasing them on the lower class.
Of course, the crowning jewel here is the fact that this budget is somehow supposed to also reduce the deficit all at the same time. How? That's an excellent question. No one knows. How he can manage to make all these claims when he himself has to realize how mendacious they are is what truly scares me. Any competent economist (and those four don't count as competent, not anymore) can tell that there is literally no way to reconcile all of these competing claims. And yet Paul Ryan is hailed as an intellectual genius, the rising star of the right wing policy wonks.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly could probably have realized before now that I was never going to vote for Romney in November anyway, so in that sense my disapproval means very little. However, prior to today, I would have shied away from voting for Romney because I had no idea which Romney I was going to get; would it have been the hard right wing Romney of the Republican primary race or the more moderate Governor Romney of Massachusetts?
Now, things have changed. Now, I know exactly what I'm going to get out of a Romney/Ryan ticket. I know full well what kind of economic policy we're going to get out of that White House. It is an economic policy that runs counter to any rational consideration of the needs of the United States or of the needs of the vast majority of American citizens. That it can be hailed as a policy masterpiece, by anyone, scares me a great deal.