The leader of the Maine GOP praised the selection of Wisconsin Congressman and conservative budget hawk Paul Ryan as candidate for vice president, while the Maine Democratic chairman defaulted to demagoguery about class welfare in disparaging Ryan.
Gov. Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan, well known as one-man assault team on the federal budget, clearly signals that Republicans are taking aim at President Obama’s failed agenda on the economy, the federal budget and the country’s massive debt.
As chair of the House Budget Committee, the young, energetic and likable Ryan has had marksman-like focus on fiscal policy. His proposals for reducing debt and controlling spending include sweeping modifications to beloved but unsustainable entitlement programs—considered the third rail of politics—such as replacing Medicare with a “voucher” program for seniors.
Ryan introduced a plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” in April 2011, which included significant changes to Medicare. He then helped introduce the similar “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal ” in March 2012.
Ryan’s budget proposal would eliminate $5.8 trillion from federal spending over the next decade and would reduce the budget deficit by $4.4 trillion during the same period.
He calls for reductions in discretionary spending, including programs such as food stamps, which would total more than $900 billion in cuts. Ryan would also repeal ObamaCare, saving billions in federal subsidies.
Ryan proposes transforming Medicare into a defined-payment program that seniors could use to buy insurance. This would not affect seniors now using Medicare, but would apply to the next generation of seniors.
Ryan’s plan would also cut Medicaid by $735 billion over 10 years, allowing the states to administer their programs with more flexibility. His budget plan would leave Social Security and defense spending at current levels.
Ryan would reduce the top federal income tax rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent. His budget calls for eliminating some tax breaks and loopholes to offset the loss of revenue.
At 42, the good-looking Ryan is a rising star in the Republican Party. The fifth-generation Wisconsin native is a Catholic devoted to his wife and three children, an outdoorsman and a fitness enthusiast.
“Congressman Paul Ryan is a great choice by Mitt Romney to serve as the next Vice President of the United States,” said Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party. “He is a very bright young star in the Republican Party with fresh ideas and an ability to communicate our ideals like few others can. Together, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are America’s best hope for more jobs, less welfare and a strong future for working people.
“Republicans of all stripes admire Paul Ryan and are energized about what he brings to the ticket,” Webster said. “I congratulate Congressman Ryan and applaud Mitt Romney for his excellent choice in a running mate.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day were effusive about Romney’s selection of Ryan.
“My friend and fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan will serve America admirably as the next Vice President of the United States,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “Americans are starving for leaders who can fix our economy and get our spending under control. Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan have the knowledge, expertise and vision we need to get America working again and get our fiscal house in order.
“Across the country, Americans are hurting, but ‘America’s Comeback Team’ will offer us a new direction and a brighter future,” said Priebus. “I congratulate Governor Romney on his excellent decision. This is a great day for Wisconsin and for America.”
“I share the chairman’s enthusiasm for Congressman Paul Ryan,” said RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day. “The Romney-Ryan ticket will help get America working again.”
On the other side of the aisle, Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant continued the Democrats’ refrain about class warfare, claiming a Romney-Ryan ticket would favor the rich and hurt the poor.
“Mitt Romney’s choice of Congressman Ryan once again demonstrates how out of touch he is with working and middle-class families in Maine and America today,” Grant said. “He’s chosen as a running mate the architect of one of the most extreme, anti-middle-class budget plans in our nation’s history.
“A Romney-Ryan ticket would mean the end of Medicare as we know it, huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and more of a burden on middle class families and seniors,” Grant said. “Romney sent a message to Americans today: if you don’t have a big bank account and millions of dollars, he doesn’t want your vote.”
But U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) sees Ryan as serious candidate who is willing to engage debate on the critical issues that are facing the country. “Mitt Romney’s selection of Representative Paul Ryan is first and foremost an indication of his seriousness on the paramount issues of deficit reduction and economic growth,” she said.
“It is vital that we have a national conversation on the necessity of getting America’s fiscal house in order, given our skyrocketing and historic levels of deficits and debt—and how we achieve this goal will determine the future fiscal and economic security of our country,” Snowe said.
“Moreover, Governor Romney’s decision underscores his commitment to policies that are critical to establishing an environment for expanding our economy and creating jobs, including overhauling our broken tax code and reforming federal regulations that are stifling America’s greatest jobs generators: our small businesses.
“Our nation is at a tipping point,” Snowe said. “We cannot afford the status-quo course of more spending and an ever-expanding government, while families and individuals haven’t experienced any positive effect in their own lives. That’s what this election is all about, and that is the choice Americans will face on Election Day.”