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D. Sidney Potter Headshot

Why Romney, Ryan (and Rand) Make a Lousy Threesome for the Economy

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Nothing puts the fear of God into Democrats with the realization that the male reincarnation of Ayn Rand is only a heartbeat away from being the next president of the United States.

For those out of the know, Congressman Paul Ryan, the presumed vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party, is an un-closeted Ayn Rand follower. The only thing to make this more frightening is that Mr. Ryan admits to this fixation since childhood! Red flag?

Even more of a red flag on the impact of a Romney/Ryan/Rand ticket, is that not only is it a wrench into the engine of an already anemic real estate recovery -- and those most directly affected (a.k.a. John Q. Homeowner), it may effectively smash a 100-ton wrecking ball into the economy as millions struggle to regain their footing.

If one could resurrect Ayn Rand from the patch of six-foot-deep real estate that she now occupies and politely inquire into her thoughts of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), one can be certain that her eyes would likely jump out of her sockets. Ms. Rand and her free market economy buddies Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, who are similarly positioned as Rand, in a state of recompose, but who nonetheless so despised market intervention almost as much as she did, one would hate to fathom the stream of ideological obscenities that would be certain to ooze from her mouth.

Democrats, now faced with the reality that not only will healthcare dominate the news for the next three months (which could actually be a blessing in disguise), will now have to look over their shoulder and wonder the fate of HARP, not to mention the other housing programs designed to rectify the financial health of American households, but to also act as a counter punch to the lopsided aid that has been given to the financial services industry over the past four years.

In an interview question posed from Judy Woodruff of PBS last spring, that asked if his proposed legislation would funnel less money to the most vulnerable of our population, Mr. Ryan responded:

"...the key is to fix our social safety nets. What we're trying to do here is couple Medicaid reforms with food stamp reforms, housing-assistance reforms, education reforms or job training. We're trying to couple these things by sending them back to the states in block grants. Those states can combine these dollars to reform the tattered social safety net."

Translated: We'll let the states do the dirty work and decide for themselves how little the poor and disenfranchised will get.

Mr. Ryan's clairvoyance actually has a basis when you realize that several states already have refused to ramp up the Affordable Care Act as mandated by federal law, refused grant money for federal unemployment insurance assistance, and other stimulus money for state run programs.

Given this track record of malfeasance, it's no wonder Mr. Ryan would be supremely confident in his prescient prediction that if he ran the show (albeit in the wingman position), that Romney, himself and his alter ego -- Ayn Rand -- would be the architects of a neoliberalism-free market economy that would magically fix the nation's housing woes.

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