Monthly Archives: September 2012

Is Paul Ryan really that far to the right?

Spoiler alert: No.
Now I know he has some pretty outrageous positions on things like abortion and guns and what have you. Unfortunately these aren’t the real issues of the election. Oh, they’re real in the sense that they will affect a lot of people, but let’s look at what’s making him relevant on the political stage: he has the courage to gut entitlements in the name of deficit reduction.
Let’s leave alone that he’s not really interested in cutting the deficit, that any savings in throwing old people in the street would be offset by his tax cuts on the rich or increased defense spending. Let’s leave a lot of things alone really and stick to this issue:
Gutting entitlements in the name of deficit reduction.
It bears repeating. Like a mantra. At least until November 3rd.
Because the major media channels, while going right or left on all the other issues, are all pretty much agreed on this. We must reduce the deficit, entitlements are the place to reduce it.
It’s maddening really. Politicians and pundits on the left may blow smoke and protest this idea. But like the war on Iraq, they never get to the heart of the issue. You don’t hear anything about how his plans don’t reduce the budget. You don’t hear that the vast majority of people in this country pay way more taxes than benefit they receive. You barely hear that social security and medicare aren’t handouts, it’s cashing out on a savings plan that they paid into for decades. I barely heard anyone contradict Romney’s assertion that 47% of Americans are on food stamps!
This kind of avoidance is deliberate and conscious. It’s a warning that they may throw a fuss but they’re not going to stand in the way, and in fact, at the heart of the issue, they all agree.
I’ve been hearing this drumbeat for gutting entitlement programs ever since I’ve been politically conscious. But up until now it was always a “third rail”, a derisive term various publication used for politicians who knew pushing this issue was political suicide. No more. Finally, they get to seriously approach this issue while still maintaining poll numbers.
And it’s this formula that leads to the success of politicians. How likeable they can be while pushing the interests of the bourgeoisie.
And that’s where the other issues come in. Like laws against women, or sanctioning religion, or toadying to gun nuts. Yeah, the Republican party panders to the right. But it’s the only way they can raise enough passions to vote for them. And that makes them useful to the well-heeled in this country. These issues are just side-issues, issues that aren’t really all that important if you’re already well off.
The thing is, there are ways to maintain these benefits properly. The biggest increase in government expenditures comes from the increased cost of health care. This can be easily tackled by going after runaway health care profits. Unfortunately, I saw what happened when we even put forward the Public Option. You have to be Kucinich or to the left to even broach this issue (talk about a third rail). So if we can’t cut costs on health care, throwing old people in the street may be the bourgeoisie’s only solution. The rest follows.