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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Ryan: right determination, wrong stance

Mike Kujak

Ryan: right determination, wrong stance

Gov. Scott Walker is no longer the most controversial Wisconsin politician. If your political interests ever drift outside of Badgerland, then you've probably been reading about Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is at the frontline of the deficit debate in Washington. This blue-eyed wonder boy is leading the GOP's charge with his ""Roadmap to the Future,"" and it's starting to get under Obama's skin.

In his speech addressing the deficit problem last Wednesday, Obama called for cutting budget deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years and ending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. He also criticized the 2012 budget proposed by the House Budget Committee, which Ryan leads. When the president starts verbally beating you to a bloody pulp, in what some consider the first election speech of his 2012 campaign, you know a battle has arrived. 

The economic struggle Washington is starting to address is more important than some people may realize. It's not just the biggest issue of 2012 election or the biggest factor in America's next 12 years. We're talking about a defining moment in American history, and once we start heading down a certain path, the direction we choose will be hard to reverse. I apologize if that sounds overdramatic, but this is kind of a big deal.

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The type of decline America is currently experiencing has happened to other empires before. Look to ancient Rome or even the Soviet Union for relevant examples. Once heavy corruption develops, the empire begins to fall and then, instead of taking the time to stop and change the system, the governing body decides to twist, scream and point fingers while the country slowly sinks deeper and deeper into oblivion. 

The screaming and finger pointing I speak of is better known to the American public as something called ""compromise."" Despite what your congressman may say, compromise and attempts to reach across the aisle aren't always a good thing. In theory, compromise is settling certain differences through concessions. In Washington, compromise is a delaying mechanism that eventually allows politicians to break promises and side-step the blame by pointing fingers at the other side. 

When the entire Congress attempts to compromise it's like watching half of a basketball team play zone defense while the other half plays man-to-man. Both of those strategies could lead to a positive result if you commit to them, but neither will do anything if you attempt some kind of half-ass hybrid. 

It's this kind of compromise that gave us the mushy ""nobody wins"" 2011 budget. If we apply that same kind of short-sighted politics to our 12 year plan, expect another financial meltdown in say, oh about 12 years. 

This idea of examining compromise and how it affects congressional policy is why Ryan's recent political proposals are so titillating. They intrigue me and disgust me at the same time. Paul Ryan and I may disagree on where we need to make cuts, but I admire his political execution and the fact that he's starting to have big conversations on important topics. It's also hard to criticize him when his peers are acting like babies, sitting in their high-chairs throwing food at one another.

So where does the public stand on all of this? According to a poll conducted in December by the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Americans agree that it would take a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes to fix the economy. However, the problem is that no one can agree on where to cut or where to hike. According to Obama's speech, Ryan's plan suggests a 70 percent cut in clean energy, a 25 percent cut in education, a 30 percent cut in transportation and a blatant attempt to abolish Medicare and Medicaid. And if that happens I'm moving to Canada, but at least Ryan is choosing a direction. 

We need to look at our country and decide what we want it to be. Ryan's decision does not only that, but also makes my decision to move to Canada much easier.

At the core of my fascination with Ryan's budget plan is an admiration for anyone who tries to shake up the current system. Can you imagine if a progressive or libertarian was throwing out percentage cuts as big as Ryan's toward things like military spending? My bleeding heart would belong to anyone who had the guts to make those proposals. 

Extreme times call for extreme measures, and that's what the American people have been reacting to in our latest elections. They responded to Obama's promises of big change in 2008 and they responded to the Tea Party's promises of big change in 2010. If you want to capture the votes of the political independents that decide this country's election, don't promise them compromise. Promise them a revolution. The politician who can figure that out is going to be the politician sitting in the Oval Office come 2012.

Mike Kujak is a sophomore with an undeclared major. Please send all feedback to

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