Now that Rep. Paul Ryan has hit the national stage, his Ayn Rand-style views have come into the spotlight. Among them is his assertion that Social Security is a “welfare transfer system.”
In a 2005 speech, Ryan said, “When you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capitol Hill, it’s a tough fight…. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system …” according to the Daily Kos.
There appears to be no change in Ryan’s position on Social Security from his 2005 speech. His budget plan, which Mitt Romney has thrown his support behind, promises deep cuts to entitlements, particularly Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Now it is clear why.
Like his running mate, Republican GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Ryan is fundamentally against government assistance for anyone. This is part of the Tea Party vision that has its basis in a survival of the fittest approach. It also suggests that millions of people who are currently low income can, through sheer determination, become wealthy enough for complete independence. And if they fail to achieve that, it must be their own fault.
The concept does not take into account those who are disabled, children, or the elderly. Moreover, it discounts all who are weak or vulnerable in society.
Radical right-wing fundamentalists agree with Romney and Ryan and look at government assistance for the population as "socialism" and "welfare."
Ryan added, “This is where I’m talking about health care, as well—from a third party or socialist-based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system.”
By using harsh terms like “socialist” and “welfare,” Ryan stirs deep emotions from people who are frightened by those words, or view them as an example of something that is unfair.
However, there is a massive hole in the Romney-Ryan anti-entitlement argument because they believe in the “welfare transfer system” for the rich, in the form of corporate welfare, tax loopholes, and tax rebates.
If Ryan and Romney went on the campaign trail and told voters that their real plan was to transfer more wealth to millionaires and pay for it by completely ending Social Security, Medicare, and all other entitlement programs, there is a good chance few but the super-rich would vote for him.
So instead, Ryan and Romney are using the national debt as an excuse to sell their plan. All they have to do is use strong intimidating phrases, and convince the American public that the only way to solve the national debt issue is to cut their entitlement benefits.
As Bill Clinton so aptly pointed out at the DNC earlier this month, the math just doesn’t add up.
And quite frankly, it shouldn’t take a mathematician to realize that if you want to reduce debt, you don’t start out by cutting tax revenue.
This is about ideology, not balancing the budget.
Clinton said that Romney and Ryan “want to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high-income Americans, even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts… And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children. As another president once said, there they go again.”
Romney and Ryan believe that the government should collect taxes from American workers, but provide no safety net in return. They believe that corporations and wealthy individuals should pay little or no taxes as a reward for their great success. It is then up to the wealthy to decide if they want to share their wealth with the working class by giving them jobs.
That is how a two-class society works, and that is what Romney and Ryan want for America.
While it may be sold to the electorate with dramatic or misleading wording, this is not a secret plan for anyone who bothers to read the Romney-Ryan economic plan posted on their campaign website.
President Obama is not a socialist. He is called a socialist by his rivals because they believe that such labels are an effective way to advance their cause, and get people to vote against their own self-interests.
Why else would people vote for someone who plans make their lives a deeper struggle?
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Read the full Transcript of Bill Clinton’s 2012 DNC speech here