Last Saturday the Republicans completed their ticket by giving the nomination for vice president to the intellectual father of their party, Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin. The scene in Norfolk was full of military references and took place in front of a ship that looked like it was poised for combat. You would have thought that the Republican ticket was comprised of Generals Dwight Eisenhower and U.S. Grant. The current Republican nominees have interesting backgrounds when it comes to the military. Despite their bellicose rhetoric on the Iranian problem, neither man served in the military. Both qualify for the Dick Cheney-led Chicken Hawk Wing of the Republican Party.
When Mitts’ peers were either fighting or dying in Vietnam or protesting to end that tragic war, Mitt did neither. He was on a “mission in France” for his church. As he pedaled through Provence perhaps he was seeking the souls of those victimized by the famous Vel d’Hip round up of August 20, 1941 when Jews were arrested by the French police, kept in a bicycle-racing stadium in Paris, and then sent to extermination camps. This year, some members of Mitt’s church have baptized Holocaust victims Ann Franck, and Simon Weisenthal, among others. Most find this practice of “converting” people after their death as a disgusting lack of respect for the Jewish religion. We await Mitt’s condemnation.
Paul Ryan proves his pro-military mettle by refusing to cut the Defense budget. In his “magnum opus”, a Path to Prosperity, Paul states that “military spending is not a driver of the debt.” Funny, I learned in Accounting that all debits and credits were equal. Paul, in his self-proclaimed brilliance in matters economic and financial, has changed the rules of double-entry Accounting.
What makes this Cheesehead’s position even more interesting is his lack of justification for his proposed spending levels. There is no analysis of potential threats, no discussion of whether of the current force structure containesthe proper tools to meet those and not one idea to make the military more efficient. Paul believes that a big Army is proof enough of national strength. The last group that had a similar mind-set was the Politburo of the old Soviet Union. And we all know what a strong economy they left behind.
“Mr. Economics” seems conflicted about the use of a sequester to balance the budget. According to Ryan, the budget sequester contained in last year’s Budget Control Act is a bad thing. But on page 72 of this new Republican Bible, one of his solutions to control spending by capping it is enforced by, of all things, a sequester. I guess for people as smart as this guy, consistency is not a virtue. So many ideas, so many Tea Party members to pander to.
In his budget plan, the Republicans’ new Adam Smith writes a lot about cronyism and corporate welfare without giving any specific examples. He argues that Dodd-Frank has “solidified Government control of Wall Street at the expense of tax payers” but offers no plan to break up these bank s into smaller units that would not threaten the economy should they fail. This financial guru never speaks of the role of financial futures, credit default swaps, or collateralized mortgage obligations. And what, if any, regulations should apply to these instruments. It seems that actually understanding how contemporary finance works and what type of structure is needed to prevents a recurrence of the problems of 2008-2009 wasn’t covered in Paul’s plan. I guess the editors of the latest edition of Atlas Shrugged eliminated that chapter.
Mr. Ryan broadly attacks student loans, blaming this program for the huge increase in college tuition. He cites the work of two University of Oregon economists. In fact, the study by Drs. Singell and Stone, shows that the Pell Grant program has had no effect at in-state tuition at in-state universities, and a small effect for out-of-state students at public universities. As an economist, Paul should know that increasing the skill level and academic achievement of the general populace is the cornerstone of maintaining private-sector productivity.These programs help reduce structural unemployment by matching skill level with private-sector demands. I guess that Paul fell asleep and did not finish the chapter on productivity.
A brief reading of the Ryan Plan indicates that it is not economics at all but an ideological polemic designed to please the Club for Growth and other mindless plutocrats at the far-end of the political spectrum.