Mitt Romney's new partner in crime Representative Paul Ryan has had his every word picked apart and parsed by fact checkers since his candidacy for the Vice Presidency was announced a few short weeks ago. Ryan, a native of Janesville, WI, has achieved fame by promoting his "Roadmap for America," which would hurtle the United States down the highway toward privatized Medicare and Social Security. Representative Paul Ryan has championed deregulation and budget deficits in his time as a congressman. How have these policies affected his hometown?
The biggest change to occur in Janesville, Wi since Representative Ryan's ascension to the Congress is the closure of the Janesville GM Assembly Plant, which employed nearly 3,000 people in the Janesville area. The plant which, contrary to Mr. Ryan's assertion in his speech to the Republican National Convention, ended production of GM products right before Christmas in 2008 (a full month before President Obama took office and an all-around wonderful Christmas present). This had an immediate negative impact on the local economy. Unemployment surged to over 13% in the months after the closure.
Unemployment was not the only thing to skyrocket during Representative Paul Ryan's tenure. Janesville is also in the grips of a crime wave the likes of which have never been seen in the sleepy Wisconsin city. Bank robberies and theft are on the rise. The city is currently embroiled in a heroin use epidemic. With all this unemployment, crime and drug use, it's no surprise that even suicides are on the rise in Paul Ryan's hometown.
Suicides aside, the population growth of Janesville has flatlined since Representative Ryan took office. Janesville has stagnated since the late nineties, not growing and recently began to shrink. With the local economy tanking, it's no wonder that Mr. Budget himself tried to extract stimulus funds from the Obama administration to assist his district. Now, there's nothing wrong with trying to get funds for your district, but it is the height of hypocrisy to make your political career as a budget hawk that decries the evils of stimulus while requesting it in private. In his own words, Representative Ryan "’m not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money." This, coming from a man who wrote the Obama administration's secretaries of Labor and Energy asking for stimulus.
Representative Paul Ryan has made himself a conservative media darling by advocating severe budget cuts during the Obama administration, even though he voted for two expensive wars and several stimulus bills during George W Bush's term. All while Janesville languishes and suffers. Crime is up, employment is down and Paul Ryan does not seem to be peddling answers even he believes in. If this is how Paul Ryan acts as steward of his district and hometown, can he be trusted with doing his utmost to care for the entirety of the United States of America? If Paul Ryan's policies can be judged by their effect in the microcosm, I would hate to see their effects on a national scale.