Mitt Romney’s decision to name Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate says quite a lot about what Romney thinks about America and its workers, and none of it is good. In recent years, Ryan has earned a reputation as the intellectual of the conservative movement. He’s a gutsy guy who has been willing to transparently share his vision for America through a detailed budget proposal that leads inescapably to this conclusion: He believes that American workers are slackers and freeloaders.
Ryan hasn’t written a book, but his defining work is “A Roadmap For America’s Future,” where he was admirably honest about his plans for dealing with the long aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
But his diagnosis of the problem should make taxpayers who go to work every day wonder what the potential vice-president of the United States really thinks about them. Summing up the problem, he writes:
Americans have been lured into viewing government – more than themselves, their families, their communities, their faith – as their main source of support; they have been drawn toward depending on the public sector for growing shares of their material and personal well-being. The trend drains individual initiative and personal responsibility. It creates an aversion to risk, sapping the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for growth, innovation, and prosperity. In turn, it subtly and gradually suffocates the creative potential for prosperity.
To support the notion that most Americans have come to view the government as a provider, Ryan cites analysis done by the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research group that had concluded, when Ryan first published his “Roadmap” in 2008, that 60 percent of American taxpayers receive more in government services than they pay in taxes. Of course, these taxpayers make up the bottom 60 percent of wage earners. This is the source of the “rich man’s burden” argument – that our society is built on a system of patronage where a minority pays for the needs of all the rest and the richer you are, the more you pay and the less you get back.