Outsider View of Romney VP Choice
In a surprise move, Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Congressmen Paul Ryan as his VP running mate.
Ryan is best known for his controversial “Ryan Budget” plan for setting the U.S. back on a path to fiscal solvency. The fireworks over Romney’s choice has already begun.
This is the year of the great ideological political divide between Democrats and Republicans. Charges and counter-charges over Ryan from mainstream media outlets will come fast and furious. It will be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
It is therefore instructive to get a first impression perspective on Romney’s VP choice from the outside.
London’s Financial Times, one of the world’s most respected newspapers, provides an outsider’s first impression this morning:
“Romney picks Ryan as running-mate“
– Richard McGregor and Reuters, Financial Times, 8/10/2012
The FT’s Take on Paul Ryan
In its first sentence, the FT describes Ryan as:
a bold choice that puts the Wisconsin congressman’s controversial budget at the centre of the campaign
The FT hit the nail squarely on the head. The 2012 campaign is a deeply divisive ideological war between Democrats and Republicans over how best to fix the economy and create jobs.
The Ryan budget just became ground zero in that war.
Most economists forecast a very slow economic recovery featuring exceptionally high unemployment lasting years, not months as in previous recessions. We are already nearly 4 years into it and the end is nowhere in sight.
The FT says Romney was urged by “conservative leaders” to pass over safer choices. Romney was widely expected to make a middle-of-the-road selection. Ryan is a darling of the Tea Party Movement which spearheaded the Republican landslide in the 2010 mid-term elections. The Tea Party is the Republican’s secret weapon in 2012 to.
The FT concludes that the Florida leg of the Romney bus tour will be an instant test of the Ryan choice. Florida has a high senior population that is affected by entitlement reforms proposed in the Ryan budget. Democrats salivate at the chance to jump all over Ryan.
The FT has it right. Ryan is a bold, but risky choice for Romney.
Ryan’s biggest problem is that he is the first elected official to seriously confront this nation’s unsustainable entitlement spending spree. That paints a giant target on his chest for Democrats to take pot shots at.
Unsustainable spending is the single largest impediment to long-term growth and prosperity facing the nation today.
The long-term unfunded liability for just three entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare and the Prescription Drug Program – is now over $120 trillion!! It goes up about a trillion more every couple months or so.
That means the federal government has promised $120 trillion in benefits to its citizens that it has no funding for. The federal government will take in about $2.4 trillion in tax revenues this year. It will spend about $3.8 trillion. Entitlement liabilities are growing much faster than even the national debt.
Whether Romney is elected or not, entitlement reform will necessarily happen one way or another. It’s impossible for this nation to come up with $120 trillion to pay for entitlements.
We can either take a Ryan-like planned approach to entitlement reform and fiscal responsibility to return back to prosperity or fall into a catastrophic approach without a plan and no prosperity. That will happen one way or the other regardless of who gets elected in 2012.