The first words that came into my thoughts when Paul Ryan was announced as a vice-presidential candidate by Mitt Romney were “collateral damage.” What exactly is collateral damage? By definition, collateral damage is damage aside from that which was intended. And that so aptly describes the effect that would occur if the Romney-Ryan team won the presidency. Why? Because between the Ryan budget plan and the Romney budget plan, which could also be described as cut and slash finance, extreme reductions would be made to the very institutions that keep our country afloat during difficult times: Medicare, Social Security, education, infrastructure.
Congressman Paul Ryan is best known as the author of a budget so radical The New York Times called it "the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times." With Mitt Romney's support, Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing -- all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.
So who would benefit from this duo? The largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals would find their taxes reduced. The middle class and the poor would find their taxes increased. This information is provided by the Congressional Budget Office evaluation of these plans.
And who would lose from this duo? The nation’s poor would lose the possibility of medical insurance and care, they would lose or face drastic reductions in food programs, poor school children would lose their breakfasts and lunches, the elderly would face drastic cuts in both Medicare and Social Security. The students who will become our future will face greatly reduced educational benefits and opportunities. Investments in infrastructure and energy grid development would be curtailed or cut completely. There is not a federal program which would not benefit from improvement, but there is a difference between improvement and destruction.
And what would be the ultimate goal of all this terrible cut-and-slash? Theoretically, the national debt, the debt incurred by the previous Republican philosophy of unpaid-for tax cuts, unpaid-for wars, unpaid-for prescription drug programs, all that debt would now be magically cleared away, unless a Republican administration decided that another war was required. Because this particular Republican duo of Romney and Ryan do not operate on plans to nurture our country, either as a country or as individuals. They operate on a statistical theory that looks beautiful to them: take this money from here and just apply it there.
But the true nature of governing, in the true definition of the word, would be to care about the effects of decisions, to understand that social programs are investments in the governed, and above all, to avoid ‘perfecting’ financial theories at the expense of collateral damage.