Mitt Romney made a wise but risky choice in selecting Paul Ryan as his candidate for vice president. He's a good pick to stabilize the budget and Medicare as well as support global economic recovery and political stability. The election is now focused on the very highest stakes.
But the White House wants to fool Americans and trivialize the election.
The Obama campaign and much of the media are having a snark-fest and have immediately labeled Mr. Ryan as "radical," "mean-spirited," "small-minded," "unprepared," "nerd," "boring" and so forth. Mr. Obama will argue that Mr. Ryan wants to destroy Medicare, that he is the enemy of the elderly, that he cares only about the rich and successful. All of this is false.
The radical Chicago anarchist Saul Alinsky was clear that when you can't win the argument on the merits of the issue or your record, you must diminish, demonize and destroy your opponent. Alinsky has had no better student than President Obama.
The irony is overwhelming. Mr. Ryan's "sin" is that he has designed a budget proposal to save Social Security and Medicare and put the United States back on sound financial footing.
The House passed the Ryan budget 235-193. Mr. Obama has not had a budget accepted by the Senate, though Democrat-controlled, in three years. The latest Senate budget vote was 97-0 against Mr. Obama's plan. Please tell me, who is the out-of-touch radical here?
The health care and Medicare story is well-known. Regardless of the Supreme Court view or future Republican action, Obamacare will collapse under its own weight within the next few years. It is a fraud. As Mr. Ryan patiently has pointed out, Medicare is not self-sustaining and soon will be bankrupt. He also has argued, accurately, that the current structure of Medicare cannot control costs or sustain quality care. The Obama approach is quietly to destroy Medicare by taking hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly and Medicare and squeezing down payments to doctors and hospitals. The obvious result is that fewer doctors are willing or able to treat Medicare patients. The elderly, under the Obama plan, will be denied care, exactly as proposed by Obama health care rationing adviser Ezekiel Emanuel (see the Reaper Curve).
Mr. Ryan has argued that Medicare must be reformed now to save it and that the system could work much better and provide much better care to the elderly on a long-term, sustainable basis if it were managed by the private sector. All the evidence supports that claim.
In this debate, Mr. Ryan is the true supporter of the elderly and Medicare. Mr. Obama is the enemy.
Mr. Obama's campaign claims that Mr. Ryan wants to destroy Medicare and take it away from current retirees. That is wildly untrue (cue: Vice Mudslinger Joseph R. Biden Jr.). Mr. Ryan's changes will apply only to persons 55 and younger -- the current elderly will have the current program, although it will be far more secure under the Ryan plan and more doctors will be there to serve the elderly. Those younger than 55 -- who will never see Medicare under the Obama approach -- will have a stronger plan.
The much bigger issues are economic recovery, jobs and opportunities.
The only thing that really matters for the security of the global economy is this election. Neither Europe, China nor Asia will emerge from their slump without the U.S. market reviving and reigniting the world market demand.
On this, the future is very easy to read for anyone paying any real attention.
If Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan win, investor confidence will return quickly, and the trillions of dollars in private capital that have been sitting on the sidelines for the past three years -- out of fear of Mr. Obama's tax and fiscal policies -- will re-enter the market and drive a dramatic surge. U.S. market demand will support recoveries in Europe and Asia, and the world economy will rebound.
The recovery will support U.S. job growth, drive down unemployment and reduce poverty and suffering among the poor. Social Security and Medicare will be put on a firmer foundation so they will be there for all Americans and their children.
If Mr. Obama wins, investment capital will stay exactly where it is -- on the sidelines. The U.S. economy will worsen, as will Europe's and Asia's. The U.S. budget deficit and debt will skyrocket. There will be no way to dig ourselves out so we will become bankrupt. Unemployment will go up. The poor and young looking for jobs and a future will suffer even more. Within the next few years, Medicare, Social Security and Obamacare will go bankrupt, and extreme measures will need to be taken. There will be social unrest, and civil liberties will be curtailed. No wonder they are building so many drones.
That is the "radical," "nerdy" -- actually, terrifying -- warning Mr. Ryan is trying to get across to Americans.
Saul Alinsky would vote for Mr. Obama -- he would love the Obama future. Americans would not. They would vastly prefer Mr. Ryan's.
Grady Means is a businessman, former assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and former economist at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.