Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paul Ryan: The Republican nominee for 2016?

After the 2012 election happened and it finally dawned on most Republicans that Barack Obama would win re-election, two things happened, first it was fun to say that Barack Obama won with the help of voter fraud and second it was fun to say that Paul Ryan would run for the presidency in 2016. 

After the 2008 election it became fashionable to assume that Sarah Palin would run for the presidency in 2012.  Of course, that never happened.  Palin did not run in 2012.  Even though speculation grew until she finally announced that she would not run.  People who were Palin supporters were somewhat surprised by her announcement but columnists who regularly followed Palin were not surprised, at all.

The new talk in some of the more Conservative channels has been talking about the inevitability of Ryan being the Republican nominee in 2016.  Some of the talk has shifted to Marco Rubio.  But Ryan is mentioned as a heavy favorite for the Republican nominee in 2016. 

Why am I not buying into this belief? 

 A number of reasons:

1. The last vice-president who was a part of a losing 1st term presidential election who later was a party's nominee for president was Bob Dole.  Dole was Gerald Ford's nominee in the 1976 presidential election which he lost to Jimmy Carter.  Dole was the Republican nominee in 1996. 

2. Gerald Ford is a confusing case.  Ford was a member of the House of Representatives when he was nominated to the vice-presidency by Richard Nixon.  He later became President.  He, then, ran for re-election in 1976.  If Ford wouldn't have been President, Ronald Reagan likely would have been the Republican nominee in 1976.  But one can argue that Ford was a sitting member of the House of Representatives when he ran in 1976.  This was the only case since 1948 where a member of the House became a presidential nominee for a major party.

So, it would be historically unprecedented for Ryan to win the nomination in 2016.  But that's not all.

3. His voting record is spotty, at best.  It is open for a lot of criticism. Paul Ryan voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The Budget Control Act of 2011 was a key ingredient in our sequestration that is happening now.  Also, the Budget Control Act of 2011 stated that half of the reduction had to be in defense spending.  Ryan opposes abortion exceptions in the case of rape or incest.  But he is ok if the abortion is necessary to save the mother's life. While this is not a big deal to Republicans, and in fact, may be preferable in the Republican primaries, it's not a popular sentiment outside the party.  Despite Ryan's claims of being a deficit hawk or a proponent of austerity measures, Ryan's voting record doesn't necessarily reflect those views.  He voted for the Bush tax cuts, which accounted for $1.4 trillion in debt in 2001 and $550 billion starting in 2003.  Ryan actually claimed that the tax cuts were too small.  Ryan reformed himself from a supply side economic supporter to a deficit hawk approach.  But he still believes in tax cuts for the rich, bigger ones than under George W. Bush but pays for it with deductions that simply take too much math to explain.  Additionally, Ryan voted for the war in Iraq and continuing appropriations there.  This is another driver of debt.  There was a lot of talk about Ryan requesting stimulus dollars after the stimulus was passed.  I don't want to hold it against him, since he was doing his job.  Ryan petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency directly to receive stimulus funds.  The EPA was one of those agencies Rick Perry wanted to eliminate, which definitely plays into Republican beliefs that the EPA is too powerful.  I could continue but I think his voting record, overall, would hurt him during the primaries and during the general election. 

4. The recent news for those who have been touting austerity measures in America is rough.  The paper that they have been basing their critical data has been under attack for failing to find a causal link, coding error(s), selectively choosing data, and other reasons.  After talking about how austerity measures are the only way to save the economy and how much Republicans focus on facts, this could be an issue.  I imagine that people are going to slowly back away from using this data to support the claims. 

5. Paul Ryan's budget is unpopular.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  I'm sure it's popular with Republicans if they don't know what's in it.  Ryan mentions that he would like to eliminate Obamacare but his budget still includes the revenue because of the Obamacare taxes.  This has been criticized in Republican circles because that high revenue is the engine that drives big government.  But Ryan also assumes that he can make up for the lost revenue by overhauling the tax system, eliminating deductions and loopholes. But ask him which ones he wants to cut?  He doesn't have the time.  It's too much math.  Or something like that.  Mitt Romney lost the election in 2012, in part, because he was just so vague about every detail of what he was going to do, if he won.  I don't think Republicans will want to re-live what is certain to be a repeat of that nightmare.  But let's assume that he can name these deductions and loopholes that he would need to close to cover the revenue lost.  If Ryan's original plan is in place, this is what we're looking at.  I'll sum up.  The Tax Policy Center estimates that his tax plan would raise $31.1 trillion in 10 years or 15.4% of GDP.  That's $10 trillion less if ALL of the Bush tax cuts expired and $4.6 trillion less if ALL of the Bush tax cuts were extended.  Obviously, we're living in a different situation now, where the tax cuts were extended for most, but the wealthy had theirs, expired.  Ryan, who claimed that he would close loopholes and deductions to keep it in the 18-19 percent of GDP range.  If he wanted to maintain 18.5% of GDP in tax revenue, he would need to find about $6 trillion over 10 years to make up the difference. 
6. The 2012 Presidential election was an embarassment for the Republican party.  Karl Rove stated before the election that if you can't win in 2012, you should get out of politics.  Of course, Rove lost a lot of elections in 2012, but oh well.  My assumption is that in 2016, they're going to want to distance themselves from their loss in 2012.  You know what's not distancing yourself from that? Running the vice-president candidate from 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment