Mitt Romney, eschewing safer choices, went bold with the pick of Wisconsin seven-term congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, the architect of a budget plan that would reshape entitlement programs without raising taxes. The Ryan pick could embolden conservative voters and will certainly provide a stark contrast with the Democratic ticket. But how will the pick be seen through the eyes of Latino voters?
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan, 42, introduced a budget plan that has become the core of the Republican party’s fiscal plan. It would seek to overhaul Medicare and Social Security, while also calling for deep cuts to food stamps and Pell Grants with an eye towards balancing the budget by 2040.
Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid would directly impact Latinos. There are roughly 3.3 million Hispanic-Americans on Medicare and in 2009, 27 percent of Medicaid recipients were Latino, which amounts to 13 million people and nine million children, according to the Kaiser Commission.
Changes to Social Security would also cause Hispanics to sit up and take notice.
In 2009, more than two million Latino seniors received Social Security benefits. According to the National Council of La Raza, two-thirds of Latinos are employed in jobs that do not offer retirement benefits, which makes it more likely Hispanic seniors will rely on Social Security as their sole source of income.
The Republican ticket, newly minted by the campaign as “America’s Comeback Team,” will have to persuade the Hispanic community as well as all Americans that its bold plans are a sensible way forward compared to the Obama administration.
The Romney campaign announced the Ryan pick Saturday morning and is set for a slate of introductory events in Norfolk, Virginia.
In his speech, Ryan lauded Romney saying his plan for the country will save America.
“Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them,” Ryan said. “Governor Romney is the man for this moment and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country.”
The Obama campaign was swift to respond to the GOP ticket’s announcement, seeking to tie Romney-Ryan philosophies to the Bush presidency.
“As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy,” campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement.
“Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same failed policies.”