Last Saturday, Mitt Romney officially named Republican Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate in the upcoming presidential race. A 44 year-old, seventh-term congressman representing Wisconsin, Ryan is so far best known for drafting a sweeping budget overhaul bill that would dramatically affect government spending. While supporters argue that his economic plan would significantly reduce the national deficit, opponents claim that it would do so at the expense of the poor, the elderly, and the middle class. His ideas regarding healthcare are so far proving no less divisive.
It is already well-known that Ryan is no fan of Obamacare, and is fighting hard to repeal it. In addition, the congressman has proposed privatizing Medicare, giving seniors a set amount of money with which to purchase private insurance, rather than have the government fund their healthcare directly. Ryan also wishes to remove the Federal government’s influence and funding from Medicaid programs, making them solely state-run. What’s more, Ryan has proposed legislation that would dramatically limit women’s access to affordable, reproductive care. It is also worth noting that while he initially went after the Social Security program quite aggressively, he has since backed off for the time being.
Supporters of Ryan argue that his plans and proposals would have a tremendous impact on the national deficit, paving the way to an easier life for future generations of Americans. His libertarian approach to government aid programs have been particularly popular with the Tea Party movement. However, Democrats and left wingers claim that his approach leaves America’s most vulnerable, the elderly, the poor, and the middle class, at greater risk of higher financial cost in their healthcare, with fewer benefits to show for it. They also argue that Obamacare has been proven as a deficit reducer long-term, without punishing the sick, the elderly, the middle class, and working poor.
As divisive as he is, it seems unlikely that Ryan as the VP pick will sway many voters either way. If anything, it may drive many voters on the far right to more enthusiastic support for Romney, who some have claimed isn’t conservative enough to represent the Republican party in such an important, national election. Those who support Obama may do so even more passionately now in the hopes of protecting women’s healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, and government programs designed to aid the disadvantaged and vulnerable. While a Vice President may have limited political power within that chair, he also sits one heartbeat away from the Presidency. If Romney were to be elected, and anything should happen to him, Ryan could very well be our next Commander In Chief. This raises the stakes significantly for voters, whether they are strongly in support of or opposed to the young congressman.
Where do you stand on Ryan? Do you applaud his Tea-Party-Friendly ideals and efforts to reduce the national debt? Or do you think his approach punishes the wrong people? Does his agenda to privatize Medicare make you support him more or less? What about his goal of giving both full liberty, and full responsibility, to the states in regard to Medicaid? What about his stance on women’s healthcare issues? Share your thoughts in our comments.