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For more than a generation, risk in America has been shifted from large institutions best able to handle it—such as Wall Street Banks—and onto the backs of families and individuals. Romney’s VP pick would push this process into overdrive. By Paul Rosenberg, Senior Editor Originally published in Al Jazeera English The Local Publication You Actually Read Graphic: Mathew Highland M Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate will have profound implications for the upcoming election—as well as what happens afterwards. But the broad nature of those implications is largely dependent on what President Barack Obama decides to make of them. He could take Ryan’s claim-tofame budget plans seriously as a further indication of the direction that Romney wants to take the United States—a direction that would leave the country virtually without a federal government by 2050, except for healthcare, Social Security and military spending according to Congressional Budget Office analyses in 2011 and 2012. Attacking Romney or Ryan on these terms would turn this election into a grand referendum on what sort of country we want the United States to be—a broadly inclusive one, or a country of the 1 percent. Or, Obama could take the cheap-and-easy way out, highlighting Ryan’s role as a loyal Republican foot-soldier during the Bush years, turning rare budget surpluses under Clinton into towering mountains of debt, even before the Great Recession hit. The later choice deeply appeals to Obama’s desire to make conservative arguments his own. How much fun to attack the GOP vice president nominee as the budget-busting big spender his congressional record so clearly shows him to be? Yet, winning the election on those terms would leave Obama with no real room to maneuver if he really wants to get the United States back on track for the long haul. Winning on a message of “I’m a better conservative than you” leaves Obama where he spent August 24 - September 6, 2012 Shifting Rish to the Middle Class/ to p. 23 1

RLn 08-23-12 Edition

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