VP Ryan pick is backward, not forward

President Obama has said this election will be a choice between two fundamentally different ideas on which way to move the country. With Paul Ryan selected by Mitt Romney as the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, the choice couldn’t be clearer.

President Obama and Democrats want to move the country forward by lowering the federal deficit with a balanced approach while Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Republicans in Congress want to attack funding of crucial government programs like education, research and development, work training, transportation, infrastructure and Medicaid, all while fighting to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans.

Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is best known for his budget proposal, which is ironically titled “Path to Prosperity.”  Paul Ryan’s budget proposal plans to reduce the federal deficit without raising revenues on the wealthiest Americans, or, as Republicans like to refer to them: “job creators.”

The result is that Paul Ryan’s budget would raise $2 trillion less in revenue than President Obama’s plan. This would almost certainly result in harsh cuts to federal funding that help support states and local governments to improve education, update our nation’s infrastructure, protect public health, provide law enforcement and so much more.

Instead of asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes like President Obama has stated, Republicans have shown they will fight to extend tax deductions for the very wealthy at the cost of raising taxes and balancing the budget on the backs of students, middle and low income Americans, seniors and critical government programs.

As a matter of fact, Paul Ryan’s budget receives 62 percent of its cuts from programs that assist lower income Americans. His budget proposal would cut funding from the Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the poor elderly and disabled, and would make cuts to child nutrition programs and S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which provides food stamps to people in poverty.

The result of attacking these programs will not make America stronger, instead it would drive millions of Americans into poverty or deeper into debt at a time when our nation is facing the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Ryan’s budget also attacks college students by cutting both Pell benefits and eligibility as well as freezing the maximum grant at $5,000 per student per year. According to the data provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “these changes would reduce the program’s funding needs by roughly $50 billion over ten years, by making fewer lower-income students eligible for the grants and reducing the size of the grants for students who still can receive them.”

As a student it disgusts me to see Republicans trying to take away opportunities from young, aspiring and motivated students who only want a chance to prove themselves at the best colleges and universities in the world.

Not only does the Ryan budget hurt financial aid for students, but it also hurts educators and universities like CSU by making drastic cuts to non-discretionary programs like biomedical research, environmental protection and transportation.

In contrast to President Obama’s budget, Ryan would spend 25 percent less on transportation, 6 percent less on “general science, space, and basic technology” and 33 percent less on “education, training, employment and social services.”

As for Medicaid and other health programs for people with low or moderate incomes, Ryan’s budget cuts funding by $2.4 trillion, which could leave as many as 44 million fewer people on Medicaid. His budget also proposes raising the eligibility to retire from age 65 to 67, and under this plan seniors could expect to pay as much as 68 percent of their health care coverage. That’s up from 25 percent today.

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as Vice President provides a sneak peek for what a Romney-Ryan administration would look like: extreme and destructive.

This election will come down to you and the direction in which you decide you want the country to move.

If you believe that America can remain the greatest country on Earth while slashing critical funding for education, first responders, research and development or if you think we don’t need to update our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, vote for Mitt. If you think millionaires and billionaires should pay less taxes than middle class families or college students, or if you agree that seniors should pay more for their health care costs, then Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will take you backward.

However, if you want to move this country forward then become a part of this great nation’s history and fight to get President Obama reelected in November, because he hasn’t and will not stop fighting for you.

A.J. Foltz is a freshman political science major. His column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.