Whether or not you’re Republican, Democrat or unsure, there are a million reasons why the election -that’s now less than three months away – is important. If you’ve never been political before and even if you couldn’t differentiate a Republican from a Democrat from a shoe salesman – whatever happens in November will most certainly affect your personal finances. So, what does Republican Mitt Romney’s announcement this weekend of his VP running mate, Paul Ryan, mean for Americans and their finances – provided he wins in November?
While the dust hasn’t even settled, there are already a few concerns – of course, it will work itself out over the next several weeks, but it’s important to understand what those concerns are and how the variations will affect Americans.
Romney, who is in his mid-60s, chose Ryan, who’s 42 – and there’s no denying the fact the two could be father and son. And just like the dynamics in fathers and sons around the world, Romney is already using his wisdom and experience to downplay his running mate’s efforts, much the way a father would a son.
When the two arrived in Wisconsin on Sunday, one day after making the announcement, Romney made two points: first, Ryan is ready to step into the role of the leader of the greatest nation in the world should that become necessary. And he also said his own budget plans would be the basis of campaign. In effect, he dismissed Ryan’s much more detailed – and some say stronger – budget plans. He said,
I have my budget plan, and that’s the budget plan we’re going to run on.
Already, he’s walking a fine line and that was clear in the 60 Minutes interview that aired on Sunday. He said he and Ryan would be working to save Medicare, which is the biggest determining factor for millions of Americans. There wasn’t any kind of indication, however, that Romney actually supported Ryan’s already defined plans. And make no mistake – Ryan has legitimate and realistic beliefs when it comes to Medicare.
Many may recall in recent months Ryan’s proposals to completely redesign the entitlement program via a system similar to vouchers. This would allow retirees free will in terms of who provided private health care or if they would prefer the government program in its entirety. Even independent financial analysts say the benefits would be better than what’s currently offered. So the question is, if during the Republican primary, Romney called Ryan’s budget a “bold and exciting effort” that was “very much needed”, why is Romney not embracing this plan?
In the Sunday interview, Romney and Ryan both said the proposals didn’t necessarily bode well with some “key constituencies”. Has Ryan already abandoned the program that’s had the support of many in the know in an effort to serve as Romney’s running mate? It’s also important to keep in mind, Romney hasn’t exactly burst forward with any plans of his own. He did say,
In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.
Even as Romney sang Ryan’s efforts in the financial spectrum, he reiterated, yet again, that “Obviously, I have to make the final call in important decisions”.
Another problem some voters might have is Ryan’s decision to follow in Romney’s foot steps in terms of what he releases in tax returns. He, like Romney, said he would only be releasing two years of tax returns. Questions are beginning to surface. Is this because if he releases more – which is what dems and pubs both want, along with the American people – then Romney might be pressured even more to release additional years? Romney has caught heat in recent weeks about his decision, even as insiders even called for him to go back at least a few more years.
President Barack Obama, who was busy with his own fundraisers this weekend, referred to Ryan as the “ideological leader” of the Republican Party. He then said,
He is a decent man, he is a family man, he is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision but it is a vision that I fundamentally disagree with.
These were his first – and thus far his only – comments about Paul Ryan.
As is the traditional efforts, the Republican is seeking to pull in business owners – both big and small – while the Obama campaign is focusing on the middle class family and its financial challenges, including retirement, health care and interest rates.
If yesterday’s announcement did anything, it appears the vicious and low-class name calling, accusations of lying and other tasteful behaviors have been pushed to the side – at least for now. Perhaps the most important factor Americans are banking on – regardless of where they stand politically – is the weak economy, high unemployment and fears about credit and personal finances.
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