One political leader who likes to plan for the really long term is Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for U.S. vice president. By 2050, Ryan’s budget plan would reduce federal spending outside health-care programs and Social Security to 3.75 percent of GDP, down from 12.5 percent last year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. So, what would it mean to chop away two-thirds of the federal government?
According to the World Bank, government spending minus health care was already lower in the United States than in all of the European Union, Japan, China, and India in 2009, the latest year with comprehensive figures. At just 3.75 percent of GDP, the United States would be one of the world’s lowest spenders. The only countries that spent less in 2009 were Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Central African Republic.
Trying to make our government more efficient is a noble goal indeed. I’m sure there is lots of fraud and waste that can be thrashed out of many processes. But what Mr. Ryan is suggesting is draconian in nature. Especially when he and his running mate proudly proclaim that they want to spend much more on our military. We, five percent of the world’s population currently spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world combined. That is an enormous load on our governmental expenses that no other country in the world is faced with. The military alone accounts for almost half of our current discretionary spending.
So if you want to increase our military spending, which accounts for half of our discretionary budget, and still get the overall spending down from 12 percent to 3.75 percent that would actually mean literally eliminating everything else in our budgets. I’m just an ordinary guy with a $12 calculator but Mr. Ryan’s numbers just don’t add up. To even come close to what he wants would mean no safety net at any for any of our citizens. It would mean the total dismantling of all our agencies that among many other things assure that we are safe. It would mean most social programs would have to be eliminated. Since Mr. Ryan has publicly stated that he wants to eventually eliminate Medicare and Social Security he is very aware of what he is actually proposing and that is anarchy. Maybe he thinks there is such a thing as controlled anarchy.
Anarchy has a lot of erroneous tags on it so let’s look at some definitions:
an·ar·chy –noun1. a state of society without government or law.2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control
3. lack of obedience to an authority;insubordination4. confusion and disorder:
If we were to continue to fund and actually increase a massive war machine and at the same time drop the safety net from our society I don’t see any logical alternative than anarchy. I only pray that I don’t live long enough to actually see anything close to that happen. I have confidence, maybe naively so, in the compassion our citizens to believe that they would allow that to happen. Given that less than 25% of our eligible voters actually select our president and other representatives we can never actually rule out possibility of a radical fringe takeover.
Since I am known for my quotes I need to end this post with some words of Bob Dylan in one of his first albums
Now, a very great man once said
That some people rob you with a fountain pen
It didn’t take too long to find out
Just what he was talkin’ about
Mr. Ryan’s worldview that simply WRONG. He should listen less to his hero Ayn Rand and more to the Lord of his Catholic faith. Of all the politicians I have known in my lifetime Mr. Ryan is the one that probably scares me the most…
But what do I know.