Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate sets up the framework for all future debates nicely. Ryan is the classic policy wonk, who, if known for anything, it's his laid back, non-combative debating style. When interviewed by mainstream media personalities, or in partisan debates, what follows is usually on topic and issue oriented.
Ryan's position – and this seems to be in line with conservative thinking – is: "We owe the country a clear choice." He's right, but naïve, like so many conservatives. His mission is to persuade voters to embrace policies of fiscal sanity, but liberal progressives have already made their choice.
President Obama's own 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Bowles-Simpson), which Mitt Romney and Ryan see as a model, was ignored by the President and his supporters. It was well publicized. The Commission thought economic and entitlement reform were critical. Nobody seems to care.
Realize this – and this is critical to any analysis – this commission, and Republicans, assume that both educated, progressive liberals appreciate the impending financial crisis; and that the even larger segment of the Democratic coalition – the undereducated person who made bad choices in life – even cares. The Census Bureau reports that one out of six Americans (44 million) receives cash benefits from government. The majority are single mothers with no formal education or job skills. This reliable segment of the Democratic coalition expects government assistance. They assume someone else will pick up the tab.
And polling shows that 52 percent of liberal Democrats prefer socialism to free market capitalism. So why on earth would any Democrat support reform and government austerity? Consider Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and France – which just elected a Socialist president and Socialist parliament. (The first 3 countries have already received sovereign bailouts.) Whenever these countries cut back on government spending, protests and riots ensue.
Socialism is all about big government spending programs for a citizenry which willingly accepts dependency on government. Balanced budgets and sovereign debt are a non-issue.
In every case of failed well intentioned government programs, the law of unintended consequences kicks in. Cost over-runs are endemic to any government process. (The social Security and Medicare trustees report that both programs have a mindboggling unfunded liability of $63 trillion.)
The financial legacy Democrats are bequeathing to future generations is staggering, with numbers beyond comprehension. They simply don't care.
Informed liberals in this country know full well we are heading down the fiscal cliff. They also know the filthy rich cannot support the whole country. But if one truly embraces socialism there is a mindset that a centralized federal government – not the free market – creates wealth, then redistributes it to its citizens. They don't realize that capital formation has to come from somewhere – not thin air – to start the investment process which ultimately creates jobs.
History proves socialism has never worked, and as socialist economies fail, they invariably double down and nationalize major industries making things worse.
Effective government has to be an enabler, not the whole enchilada.
Ryan's belief that the country "deserves a clear choice" could have benefitted from Congressional debates had the Democratic Majority Leader allowed the Senate to pass a budget or debate bills in response to reform legislation the Republican House passed. It is typical for both houses to pass competing versions of a bill which then go to conference committee to draft a compromise bill after a lot of haggling.
This process would have gotten reported by the media and been of educational value to voters. Harry Reid couldn't risk of debate on the Senate floor with the possibility of compromise in conference committee.
This goes to the larger issue of the tradition of progressive liberalism in the Democratic Party. Henry Wallace, FDR's Vice President, ran for president on the Progressive Party's ticket in 1948. (He failed to get the Vice Presidential nod from the Democratic Party in 1948.) He was endorsed by the Communist Party. Because of Harry Truman's nomination and FDR's untimely death, we missed having a socialist president by 82 days. To quote from the Communist Party, it said they would field a candidate only if there was no "progressive alternative to the twin parties of Wall Street."
Fast forward to the Obama era and the Center for American Progress which has socialist ties, and we read in their literature, "With the rise of the contemporary Progressive movement and the election of President Barrack Obama in 2008, there is extensive public interest in better understanding the origins, values, and intellectual strands of progressivism."
And as the President himself said, "The federal government must bring about economic justice. ...The civil rights movement lost sight of the community organizations…that are able to put together the actual coalition of power through which you bring about redistributive change."
We've had liberal progressives for years and their numbers are growing. We're kidding ourselves if we think we are a center-right country. We have 8.3 percent unemployment (even with more federal employees), a failed economy and a president who should be tanking in the polls. In spite of his dismal record he polls better than Romney/Ryan, and is overwhelmingly favored by women and younger voters.
It's all about government handouts and entitlements. Adam Smith. Father of modern economics, believed that self-interest promoted socially beneficial results for society as a whole. That works in economics, but not politics, where self-interest means it's all about me.
Many pundits believe Americans now understand the long term destructiveness of out of control spending, and are disenchanted about Obama. Some predict the independent voter is the key for Republicans, and point to a recent Gallup poll in which 40 percent of Americans identify as independents, larger than any single party. That may be true, but independents are closet partisans and lean one way or the other. In 2008, 90 percent voted for Obama.
This will not end well.