A response to Paul Ryan’s Fort Collins visit

“The stimulus package was an example of political patronage, corporate welfare, cronyism and the works,” Paul Ryan’s voice echoed throughout the warehouse. “A borrowed expense in wasteful tax dollars.”

Strong words from the VP hopeful at Walker’s Manufacturing near Fort Collins, as he made the case against President Obama’s failed stimulus and economic policies.

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This is a much different tune than Rep. Ryan was singing a few years ago, when he was perfectly fine with passing stimuluses with President George W. Bush in office.

“What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” the Huffington Post quotes Ryan as having said. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they’ve passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten back to work.”

Not exactly the same small government rhetoric heard Wednesday at Ryan’s town hall meeting. Wednesday, Rep. Ryan sounded much different than he did at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, when he went before Congress and gave an impassioned, apocalyptic speech in favor of passing a $800 billion TARP bailout — the epitome of corporate welfare.

From where I was standing, I could feel the emotion behind Ryan’s words as he addressed the crowd. Paul Ryan loves his country, and wants to help fix it. The question is whether Ryan’s proposed solutions are enough to combat our titanic deficit.

Paul Ryan is touted as a fiscally conservative Republican (though some of his voting record suggests otherwise) who earned his spot on the Romney ticket because he has the numbers to combat government spending and our debt.

The problem with Ryan’s budget is that, while cutting many social programs and some much needed reforms, his budget still fails to accomplish many of its primary goals. Fox News reports that under the Ryan budget government spending increases just about every year over the next decade, tax and other revenue will continue to rise every year and the 10 year deficit is still 3 trillion.

To put Ryan’s budget into perspective though, we can measure it up against Obama’s budget. Under Ryan’s plan, the budget would grow from $3.6 trillion in 2012 to $4.9 trillion in the year 2022. Under Obama’s plan, the budget would go from $3.8 trillion in 2012 to $5.8 trillion.

Obviously Ryan’s plan will do more than Obama’s to help combat our debt, but with all of the proposed cuts to social programs you wouldn’t think the government would continue to increase spending by trillions of dollars.

Our debt has increased by about $5.4 trillion since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009. Today, each citizen’s share of the national debt is more than $50,000. The problem is that this amount that each and every one of us owes will increase under either Obama or Ryan’s plan.

Ryan voted in lockstep to increase the size of government with neoconservatives throughout the reign of President George W. Bush. It seems, though, that those days are behind Paul Ryan, who at least has the courage to sit down and try to hammer out a budget — something all of the U.S. Senate has failed to do in the past three years.

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Paul Ryan’s plan may not be perfect, and it may not do enough to fix our deficit — but at least he actually has a plan. It may not be enough to fix our broken system, but at least it looks like a step in the right direction.

Editorial Editor Kevin Jensen is a senior English major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at  kjensen@collegian.com or on Twitter @kevinrjensen.