On Saturday Governor Romney announced his running mate on the 2012 Republican ticket, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. He made his announcement — and Ryan accepted — aboard the USS Wisconsin, a battleship named after a battleground state in a dogfight presidential election. Admittedly, great imagery.
Conservatives have uniformly fallen in behind Romney’s pick, calling it a brave move that shows immense character on Romney’s part.
One Latino conservative, Daniel Garza of The LIBRE Initiative, also approves:
“This pick says much about the priority that Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, has decided to set in his campaign and the focus that he would have as incoming President. It is true that wonkish, complicated, and hard to decipher reforms concerning things such as entitlement programs, defense spending, and healthcare reforms have not typically been sexy campaign topics; yet, they are necessary to put our fiscal house back in order. The fact is that there are none more important to address at this point in our nation’s history.”
Undoubtedly, Garza represents an ideological minority within the Latino community that believes economic freedom, long denied Latinos by the Democrats, would allow Latinos to flex their industrious, entrepreneurial muscles and lift themselves out of perpetual poverty. “Rugged individualism,” as Being Latino’s own Nick Baez regularly terms it, is indeed a growing trend in our community. The rich are rich, says the argument, because they’ve bust their humps and earned it; conversely, the poor are poor because they just don’t try hard enough. And because greed was a virtue for Ayn Rand and continues to be so for her followers — like Ryan himself — some conservatives look to reward the rich by cutting their tax liability and punish everyone else by raising taxes on the middle class and cutting programs much of the country relies on in times of need.
Randians argue that people either fail or succeed based on personal initiative and effort, and Latino Randians insist that the Democrats have fattened their Latino base through dependency on entitlements like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (commonly known as “food stamps”). Since blacks and Latinos are disproportionately poor, the line of reason seems to suggest that blacks and Latinos are also generally lazier or less ambitious than their white counterparts. The Democrats are to blame, say these conservatives, because it’s the Dems who have transformed entire sections of society into entitlement addicts firmly latched onto the government teat.
Before arguing the moral principles of the Ryan budget plan any further, we must point out that, fiscally speaking, Ryan’s budget is “a fraud,” as Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains:
“Ryan hasn’t ‘crunched the numbers’; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work. This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal.”
Ryan’s plan will do nothing to alleviate the nation’s economic crisis in the short-term. But even if it did eliminate current economic woes, his plan still remains morally bankrupt. Randian policies are diametrically opposed to the well-being of the Latino community, who are disproportionately poor not because of laziness or lack of drive, but because Randian economic policies have created a highly stratified socioeconomic class system — with a small, ravenous, well-protected elite gorging itself at the top.