Despite many of the stories that grab the headlines, the biggest issue among American voters is still the economy. While both sides of the aisle have their ideas, some are getting more attention than others, and it's not always positive.
Last month, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate and current congressman from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, proposed his new budget plan. The plan, which cuts drastically from programs for low income Americans, was put up for a vote in the Republican controlled House of Representatives and passed with a partisan vote of 219 to 205. During a recent episode of his show "Off the Grid," former independent governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura was asked what his opinion of Paul Ryan was.
"Well, I've read his background a little bit and I've found that he's another one of the typical Republican chicken-hawks. He seems to advocate very strongly for our policies overseas, which of course that means an advocation of war. I think he's quite hawkish when it comes to that"
"Off the Grid" producer Alex Logan gave Ventura a general run down of some of the big cuts proposed in Ryan's budget. Included in the ones he mentioned were $2.1 trillion to health care subsides, $732 billion to medicaid and health programs and nearly $1 trillion to benefit programs like food stamps, farm subsides and pell grants. Discretionary defense spending would increase by $438 billion but non-discretionary spending would decrease by $738 billion. After hearing the news, Ventura was left scratching his head.
"It's a proposal to cut, cut, cut. Why not cut out some tax loop holes? Why is the escape clause still there for the corporations? Notice that. Let me ask something, and maybe i'm getting ahead of myself, he's ordered all these domestic cuts to be bared by us, the citizen of America, what is he doing for defense spending?"
Alex Logan shot back at Ventura, informing him that Ryan's budget called for a defense increase of over $430 billion.
"So everything else is getting cut and defense is going to get bigger. Obviously, Mr. Ryan knows we're gonna be at war for a long, long time. Keeping the military industrial complex well oiled and wild financed is high on his list. When we lead the world in defense spending, why would we need to increase our defense spending? I don't understand who is trying to get us here. We can blow up the world a hundred times over. We are the defense power of the world."
Paul Ryan seems to defend his position on increased military spending by stating that the United States only has 10 aircraft carriers, compared to China and Russia who still only have one each. Ryan also notes that the U.S Army is smaller then it was in 1945 and the U.S. Navy is smaller then it was during World War 1. Think Progress points out that according to Paul Ryan: "Under our plan...the army could maintain its current strength. We could have eleven carriers and a full cruiser fleet."
Upon hearing this, Ventura concentrated more on those who might be affected by harsh cuts to critical programs to fund big military projects.
"Because of all those cuts to the poor, guess who is gonna have to join the military to go fight Paul Ryan's wars? The poor! And so they will be the ones, because of financial and economic situations, who will have to go into the military and it always has been a great deal where the poor have to go to get jobs and then they defend the corporate rich."
Ventura continued with his rant against Paul Ryan and other "chicken hawks."
"He's doing typically what all these phonies do. They "ra ra" the flag and make you stand up and be patriotic for all these wars that they create. They are out to create terrorists so that we can stay at perennial war. The Halliburtons and the Dick Cheneys and all the people that profit from war, the military industrial complex, will continue bigger, better and more powerful. And it should not be called defense spending anymore. Lets change that right now here on "Off the Grid" because we are not defending anything. In fact, it should be called war spending."
Former governor Jesse Ventura, while being known as an actor and pro wrestler, also served in the military during Vietnam as a Navy frogman, part of the Underwater Demolition Team, or UDT. Ventura was a successful governor of Minnesota from 1999-2003, spending only $300,000 to defeat his Democrat and Republican challenger. Ventura has spoken out against big money in politics, raising the minimum wage and cutting corporate welfare. When asked what he thought about Paul Ryan's recent comments about poverty and welfare use in the "inner city," Ventura simply stated that Paul Ryan was "full of crap."