The announcement has been made and everyone is scrambling to learn all they can about the Irish-Catholic Republican from Wisconsin. Many people are already calling Paul Ryan, the Senator that Mitt Romney tapped to be his running mate, as what could become a nightmare for black Americans. So just how bad of a pick could Ryan be for black Americans? Pretty bad!
Paul Ryan is proud to announce that he has some ideas that will become a part of, or expand upon, Mitt Romney's. Problem is, those ideas can be dangerous, especially if you are a black American. Very dangerous. As a Vice President, Ryan would be in a position to play an important role in helping to set policy, both foreign and domestically. And that could change a lot of things for black Americans. Even Mitt slipped up in introducing Ryan and introduced him as the future "President" of the country, leading people to wonder if that was an honest slip of the tongue or if Ryan will really be doing more behind the scenes than we would all care to consider.
For starters, Ryan is proposing some major overhauls of the food stamp program, increasing the age that people can start getting Medicare, and for making cuts in the welfare program. For millions of black Americans it means they could literally lose the money they need to help feed their family and keep a roof over their heads.
Black Americans are often fingered as being the biggest proponent of utilizing the food stamp program in the country. But the disproportionate numbers don't tell the entire story. Out of all those receiving food stamps, 22 % of them are Black Americans, compared to 36% of non-Hispanic whites. That number doesn't reflect the difficulty that we as a people are struggling with in terms of finding jobs and in finding jobs that pay enough to support our families.
If Ryan gets his way and gets to make drastic cuts to the food stamp program, who will he really be hurting? A lot of children and senior citizens, for starters. The records show that 47% of everyone receiving food stamp benefits are children under the age of 18. Another 6% of those receiving them are seniors over the age of 60. And it doesn't stop there, 41% of those who are receiving food stamps actually do work. They are considered part of the "working poor" people of America.
Picture a Romney/Ryan victory and what that will do to the black people of America. Those who have children, are struggling seniors, or who are families working hard to make ends meet each month, yet who are falling short. If Ryan's plan isn't to also increase jobs and access to a good education, then how can he merely do away with the one thing that is helping people to get by during these tough economic times? How can they in good conscious take away their benefits, without providing higher paying jobs so they can continue to get by?
Ryan's ideas are dangerous for black Americans. Not just when it comes to food stamps. His ideas will lead to tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the nation, while increasing the taxes on the middle class, harder working families. It's fair to say that not only will Ryan become one of the worst nightmares for black American if he does become the Vice President, but he will become so for middle class families everywhere. His sites are set on protecting the interests of the wealthy, and he doesn't care who he has to step on to see those ideas through.
Another scary thought for black Americans is that when you visit the Romney official site you will find that he addresses a lot of "communities" of people. He specifically addresses the Asians, Catholics, Jewish, Polish, Women, and even young Americans. But there is no mention of black Americans. Either he has overlooked this segment of the population, or he simply doesn't care about us, with both being equally as perilous.
In introducing his running mate, Romney said that he wanted someone that has "real character" and that Ryan had that. Whether or not he has character or merely is one remains to be seen. But for black Americans his ideals that impact us as a people appear to be a characterized by being out of touch with the people who make up this great country.
Follow Matthew Lynch, Ed.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@lynch39083