Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paul Ryan is the P90X VP you don't want!

So, here we go! Paul Ryan is the first Wisconsinite to appear on a presidential ticket since 1980 when Gov. Patrick Lucy (yeah, never heard of him either) was the vice-presidential nominee for John Anderson. One difference, though, is his comparative youth and fitness.
Let's forget about his Eddie Munster good looks for a moment! Put aside his arrogant attitude and smug sense of superiority without much to show for it. I don't think reading Ayn Rand and following objectivism, except for the atheism part, makes you an intellectual per se. Yet, you do have to admire him for his strong commitment to fitness. I'm sure there's a great six-pack somewhere under those adult-size suits he wears. And that's where I think his lean body-fat and lean view of government come together.
You see, he's a big follower of this P90X exercise routine. Ryan's commitment to such a crazy fitness regime as P90X reflects his personality and, as we say in German, his Weltanschauung.
First, P90X adherents have a false belief that everyone is just like them. No one's body type, physical condition or opportunity is that much different from theirs. So, there's nothing really holding anyone else back from losing all that weight and having rock hard abs--a "12-pack" as some say Ryan has. Just start the program and get to it, lazy bones!
Second, routines like P90X seem to fetishize pain. In order to be reasonably fit and healthy, you have to do 1000 crunches and change to a primarily meat and berry diet?!?!  The routine is almost masochistic.
Third, if you can't do it and don't meet your goals in a SHORT amount of time, you just aren't worthy. You didn't put enough hard work into it. There was no luck that led you to success or anyone out there that helped you along the way. You did it on your own, and if you didn't, then you failed...and just live with that failure. You're a loser!
Let's ignore for the fact that his budget plan is so full of empty spaces that its bloody tragic that the document counts as something "serious" on DC Sunday talk shows. What it does do, in summary is this.
  • It transforms Medicare from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. Need more treatment than what the voucher gives you? You're SOL. Better get that P90X training video.
  • Block grants to the states for MEDICAID? Well, given these grants won't keep up with healthcare inflation (and repeal of Obamacare would just create more uninsured and higher costs), you're just SOL if you're poor and sick! 
  • Just TWO tax brackets--25% and 10%, for those earning more than 50K or less, respectively, if you're single. [BTW : no gay marriage for you!] Yes, someone making MILLIONS pays the same taxes as someone making 75K--the closest to a flat-tax system that has been proposed by a major candidate for office. This is based on the belief that anyone can be rich..anyone can get into that higher tax bracket..which is only fair because you "worked hard." If you didn't or luck kept you down, then you have only yourself to blame. 
And why do (some) Americans subscribe to this view? One easy answer is that those who do are already in power. And if they "built it," then they don't understand why others can't do the same. A more complex and realistic answer is probably a combination of two other reasons. First, just as Americans buy billions of dollars of exercise products every year, they think they CAN do P90X and succeed, too. It's simple and quick! If they failed, it was their own fault, not anyone else's. They've been "trained" to think that (pun intended). Second, and related, they see in Ryan at least something they would like to be or envision themselves as! And at least they're not as bad as that "weird/undeserving" person next door [sound familiar?].

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