By: Bob Lucore
With the selection of Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, the contours of November’s election have become much more distinct. The election is fast becoming, as Jared Bernstein remarks, a “plebiscite on the role of government.”
Until now, the Romney campaign’s economic proposals have been frustratingly lacking in specifics. Though highly critical of Obama, Romney has not put forward detailed plans and proposals of his own. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post explains that they look like policy proposals at first glance, but they contain none of the details necessary for any kind of reasoned analysis or comparisons.
With the addition of Ryan to the ticket, we get some very specific economic proposals. Ryan, as chief architect of his party’s recent budget proposals, has laid out some extremely conservative programs that would eviscerate our federal government. Romney has explicitly endorsed Ryan’s approach on the campaign trail. By naming Ryan, he is continuing in his “severely conservative” persona, rather than shaking the Etch A Sketch to reset for a broader appeal to the electorate.
However, between now and the election we can expect the Romney-Ryan campaign to obfuscate about the true impact of their proposals and to make blatantly false claims about President Obama’s proposals and record. We can hope that the media will be effective in sorting this out—but we can hardly rely on it.
It is therefore incumbent on liberal activists to educate themselves, and the public, so that the radically reactionary nature of the Romney-Ryan approach becomes clear. In that spirit, the following readings are offered as a starting point for understanding exactly what it is that Ryan has proposed and Romney has endorsed.
• Ryan Lizza provides a general profile of Paul Ryan in the New Yorker, and Jared Bernstein has some interesting reactions to Lizza’s piece.
These provide a good starting place for those who want to ensure the voting public knows exactly what they are getting with the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Bob Lucore, a long-time ADA board member, is the former Director of Research and Policy for the United American Nurses and has worked for the Teamsters and the Department of Economic Research at the AFL-CIO. He taught economics for several years at Centre College and Colorado State University and is currently studying Library and Information Science at San José State University. Bob is a member of UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union.Back