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Paul Ryan's America

A series of Stories leading to the November 2012 USA Presidential Election
Mr. Dickson Igwe
By Dickson Igwe

Mitt Romney announced Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate on the morning of August 11, 2012. This was a very interesting choice. Ryan is an intelligent man born into a wealthy family, and further, he married into wealth. But more to the point, he is the architect of the RYAN BUDGET.

The Ryan Budget is a controversial proposal crafted by Ryan and his Republican colleagues in the US Congress. The document places reduced public spending, and control and reduction of US annual deficits and the National Debt, at the very top of the national economic agenda. The Ryan budget spells major transformation in how the US treats the most vulnerable in its society, for the worse, Democrats believe. On the other hand, Ryan’s budget plans contain components that are considered crucial to American prosperity and long term economic growth, by a new breed of Republican. 

Ryan’s idea is one that translates to small government, deregulation, tight fiscal control, and low taxes; then add to these a culture of competition, free enterprise, and innovation that spurs the type of economic growth that will put the US back on the road towards robust economic growth, and the type of surpluses last seen in the 1990s, during the Clinton Presidency. This is an interesting assertion indeed! Ryan is viewed as a competent business manager and fiscal hawk, as is the much older Romney. Romney is 65 years of age. 

Ryan is right wing, anti-abortion, pro guns, and anti-gay marriage. He is also a darling of the Tea Party Movement. The Tea Party Movement grew out of frustration with continuing multibillion dollar annual deficits that began and mushroomed with the George Walker Bush Presidency, of 2001-2009. Bush’s profligacy was root, and trunk of the current US national debt mountain, which crossed the 16 trillion dollar mark in August. 

The Tea Party Movement claims Barack has made the problem worse: but it appears to forget that Barack had to spend trillions of dollars to rescue the US economy from an imminent depression that could have been the fallout of the 2007 financial crisis. 

Tea Party members are very much the real face of the new Republican Party. Some have taken to calling Ryan, at 42 years of age, a New Ronald Reagan. He is definitely viewed as a future US President. 

Now, both men are wealthy, Romney more so. Mitt Romney is worth a quarter of a billion dollars. And this may play into rich versus the rest dynamic of the current politics of class, in the USA. Ryan, by comparison, is worth a paltry 5 million, but both he and his wife will inherit hundreds of millions of dollars someday. Romney and Ryan are members of the top one percent in the USA wealth metric. It appears that today, one clear qualification for political power in the USA is the requirement of being a millionaire. 

Both men are of the Milton Friedman School of economic thought: with the belief that small government, low taxes, less regulation, reduced public spending and fiscal conservatism are prerequisites to strong economic growth, and panacea for any realization of the American Dream.  Fiscal conservatism and a strong defense are considered the route to the American Way by Conservatives: an idea which began when President Ronald Reagan ruled the Free World. 

REAGANOMICS was an early 1980s modus Vivendi that allowed free markets to rule, while a central and independent bank managed the national financial infrastructure. This was enabled through a culture of prudence, tight control of the supply of money, and pursuit of a policy that promoted low inflation, through the calibration of interest rates, or the rate at which the Feds lent money to the biggest banks. On the other side of the Atlantic, in Great Britain, Reaganomics was echoed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and was termed THATCHERISM. 

The latest polls show Barack Obama only slightly ahead of Mitt Romney in a number of crucial swing states, less than 3 months before a US General Election. The race remains a dead heat in real terms, despite the fact that Obama is a couple of points ahead in most polls. Then, there is greater enthusiasm among Republican voters than Democrat voters.  

That may change after a rousing Democratic Convention and powerful speeches by the like of Presidents Bill Clinton and the current incumbent. Getting the base out to vote is crucial to winning an election on Election Day. 

Understand this: the vote for US President in November will affect the trajectory of the global, but more specifically, the West Indian economy, in ways yet unknown. The USA remains the world’s largest economy and most powerful nation. In the Western Hemisphere, the US is Gulliver, who when he sleeps, his snoring keeps the neighbour’s awake at night, but when he falls off his bunk next morning, the seismic impact is indeed terrible. When the US sneezes, the saying goes, the small guys in the neighbourhood catch pneumonia.  

Now, Polls show Mitt Romney leading among whites by 15%, especially white males; however Obama is ahead 65% among non-white voters. He is also a favourite among Jews. Latinos also favour the President despite disappointment with his lack of action on easing immigration controls, and the granting of amnesty for illegal immigrants, a sensitivity which concerns Latinos. 

Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the US population and strongly favour Obama. That is a huge advantage the President possesses. Latinos and Asians are a critical and swiftly growing demographic. Barack also leads among white liberals and women. His lead among women is worrying for Republican strategists, especially. If the electoral math holds as the polls currently state on Election Day, then Barack, despite his deficit with white males, will return to the fortified mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. 

To be continued

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