Paul Ryan

A science professor at UCLA recently raved to his students about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, telling them it was “really, really good” and that “I was so excited, I was jumping up and down in my seat.”

Professor Jake Lusis then suggested the American health care system isn’t that great “for a lot of people,” and proceeded to plug Obama’s proposal to expand federal funding for medical research, suggesting it could save lives, according to an audio clip of the lecture obtained by The College Fix.

The scholar made the comments the day after the State of the Union address while standing in front of a split-screen image of President Obama and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan – chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the most visible leader among Republicans on budgetary issues.

“As a conservative student in the class I felt he was making an offensive (and unnecessary) implication that hit a sour note with me,” a student told The College Fix.

When Professor Lusis was asked by The College Fix what he would say to someone who would suggest his comments, along with the slide, implied that Obama’s budget could save lives while Republicans might try to stymie such a noble cause with their budget priorities, he said in an email that “I was not trying to advocate for any particular position but simply trying to get students interested in the political process and making them aware of the implications for medicine in the US.”

“At this point I don’t know enough about the President’s initiative to form a solid opinion but I would hope that science students will take the time to look into it,” Lusis added.

During Obama’s Jan. 20 address, the president stated that “I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine – one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes – and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.”

In response, Lusis told his class on Jan. 21 that:

“I hope you guys all saw the president’s state of the union address. I thought it was really, really good. I was so excited, I was jumping up and down in my seat. Maybe not all of you agree, but you know the big thing now is there was a conflict in Congress: “How much should weJakeLusis support uh, uh, uh, how much should we support research, right?” And the president addressed this as well. And so uh, one interesting fact is that we spend about three trillion dollars on health care in the United States. And we don’t even have such great health care, right, for a lot of people. And only one tenth of a percent of that is spent on research. So the question is this: If we spent say two-tenths of a percent could we have a big improvement? Could we really help a lot of people? Probably, yes, right? I mean if you think what research has done for common diseases in the past, at the turn of the century what were the common diseases that killed people? They are all infectious diseases, right, all infectious diseases, tuberculosis, and now what it is is heart disease and cancer and diabetes. But they can have a huge impact. You know, think about the AIDS epidemic, actually it was discovered right here at UCLA, hit thirty years ago. If we didn’t know how to understand viruses like the HIV virus, if we didn’t have the tools to develop therapies, where would we be? I mean, it would be a disaster, right? So this is something to think about, it’s just sort of a plug, I do research. But I think it’s real, real important. It’s a pretty astounding figure, I think.”

On Friday, details on Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative were released by the White House. It proposes a $215 million investment to the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Most of that – $130 million – would go to the NIH for “development of a voluntary national research cohort of a million or more volunteers to propel our understanding of health and disease and set the foundation for a new way of doing research through engaged participants and open, responsible data sharing,” according to the White House.

The New York Times described the database as “a research consortium that would collect information from large numbers of people. The data could include medical records, laboratory test results, profiles of patients’ genes, and information about their diet, tobacco use, lifestyle and environment.”

Professor Lusis is a researcher with the UCLA-based Lusis Laboratory, which is involved in “system genetics resources.”

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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OPINION: Young people want to vote Republican, if the establishment GOP wises up already

In the past year, failed policies and broken promises have caused Millennials to become increasingly disillusioned with the Obama administration, causing a shift on the political spectrum to the right among young voters.

If Republicans harness this momentum, youth voters could defy decades of established voting behavior and abandon Democrats in November in favor of Republican candidates, helping the GOP secure control of Congress.

That’s a big if.

Listen up, Republicans; here’s how to capitalize on your newfound Millennial fans and convince them to support you come Election Day:

It’s the Economy, Stupid

What weighs most prominently on the minds of Millennials is the never-ending economic recession. They shoulder massive student loan debts and dismal job prospects.

“This is a generation that is in danger of being left out of the American dream—the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents,” writes Marc Tracy in the New Republic.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll released Jan. 8 reflects this fiscal frustration among 18- to 29-year-olds, with a majority of young Americans disapproving of Obama’s handling of the economy.

Ashley Pratte, spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation, said the possibility of Millennials being cut out of the American dream stems from “unemployment, economic hardship, and less opportunity.”

“We are the first generation of people who might not be better off than the generation before us because we are saddled with debt and terrible unemployment rates,” she said in an email to The College Fix. “When it is discovered that liberal ‘tax and spend’ ideology is just not common sense, conservatives win the argument based on our ideology of fiscal responsibility.”

The youth dissent toward liberal ideologies, she added, “creates a window of opportunity for conservatives to spread their message of free enterprise, economic freedom, and pro-growth principles.”

If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It – NOT!

The other top concern for Millennials is healthcare, an issue that has been exacerbated by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, most young Americans disapprove of how Obama handled his healthcare platform and oppose the new federal health mandate.

The reason the new healthcare law is so unpopular among Millennials is the detriment they face as a direct result of it, explains Bob Graboyes, reporter for US News and World Report.

Obamacare places an undue financial burden on young Americans in that “Millennials’ life prospects have already suffered under the weight of the Great Recession and its aftermath,” he wrote. “Their job markets are shaky and their student loans large. Now, large health insurance premiums and other costs hidden in the ACA will further dim those prospects.”

Further, the basic principle of the system is flawed because “younger, healthier Americans are required under Obamacare to overpay for their insurance so that older, sicker, and (by and large) wealthier Americans can underpay for their insurance,” Graboyes stated.

Such a hefty price tag does not mean better healthcare either, as many are now discovering.

“For all of the extra financial burden that Millennials and others will bear under Obamacare, many will discover that their new insurance plans buy them a great deal less than their old plans did. Many exchange plans will offer narrow networks – fewer doctors, fewer hospitals,” Graboyes explained.

Republicans can win youth voters by presenting candidates who offer viable suggestions to reverse the damage done to Millennials by the Affordable Care Act, and actually allow them to keep, or return to, their health plans if they liked them.

Get On The Same (Facebook) Page

Creating a policy agenda that appeals to Millennials is only half the battle; the other half is getting the message out.

This means candidates must use mediums that appeal to young voters, such as social networking, targeted advertisement, and hitting the pavement to meet voters in person.

After the 2012 presidential election, the College Republican National Committee extensively researched how the GOP can better appeal to Millennials and released a report detailing their findings: Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation.

Being present in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook is crucial, the report found, but not the only online format in which candidates can reach out to Millennials.

“Investing in advertisements on services like Hulu and Pandora reach people – especially young people – in places where they are increasingly turning to view and hear content,” the report states.

It also acknowledged the prevalence of mobile devices among Millennials, and how to utilize that technology: “Apps that encourage a user to call through their contacts on their phones, text fundraising campaigns, even campaign websites that are designed to be easily readable on mobile devices to encourage sign-ups – all are ways that a campaign can create two-way communication with younger supporters.”

Modern marketing techniques alone are not enough to gain supporters, and candidates must hit the campaign trail in person and meet with young Americans.

“As the old saying goes, ‘half of life is showing up,’ and it’s time Republicans started showing up where young people are,” the report stated.

Change the Box, Not the Pizza

Let’s face it, the Republican Party suffers from a serious image problem.

It’s been branded as the party of white, stodgy old men with sinister ties to big business, and very little attempt has been made to disprove this misperception.

The perception barrier is one of the main deterrents for Millennials from the Republican Party, according to Mary Kate Cary of US News and World Report.

“I find that very few college students will admit in public to being Republican – why should they?” she wrote. “They may agree with conservative principles, but they don’t want the party label.”

Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker, put it like this:

“Since the 2012 elections, the Republicans have been divided between those who believe their policies are the problem and those who believe they just need better marketing—between those who believe they need to make better pizza and those who think they just need a more attractive box.”

It’s a little of both.

In order to change young Americans’ current perspective of Republicans, candidates need to demonstrate that they care about Millennials – either by standing up for common beliefs or by presenting solutions to the issues that concern them.

Furthermore, Millennials need candidates they can identify with – and the party ranks are filled with many young, rising stars such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. Candidates like them will match young Americans in passion, energy and perseverance.

Republican candidates have been presented with a tremendous advantage in the upcoming midterm elections – but only if they do not squander the opportunity Millennials have given them.

College Fix contributor Julianne Stanford is a student at University of Arizona.

The usual suspects will speak this week at the Conservative Political Action Committee confab, a.k.a. CPAC, during which thousands of Republicans, conservatives and libertarians converge to brainstorm, network and strategize.

Launched in 1974 with Ronald Reagan as its first featured speaker, the annual March event, organized by the American Conservative Union, has grown ever since.

However, as much as CPAC attempts to rally, galvanize, and unify conservatives, it often ends up exposing serious rifts and disagreements within the movement. This year’s slate of speakers promises to do the same.

The usual suspects will all be present. Mitt Romney’s silver sideburns will be seen in a major public venue for the first time since his defeat in the November election. It will be interesting to see if his tone and rhetoric have undergone any changes; perhaps a more believable and relatable as person will emerge.

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, will also be there. He’s been relatively quiet and arguably soft lately. He could really use a hard-hitting, passionate speech filled with great ideas to help regain some of the relevance and credibility he once enjoyed.

Then, for entertainment purposes, CPAC has also invited Sarah Palin, whose relevance and credibility are certainly in their twilight hours.

As mentioned above, CPAC is often a microcosm of intraparty battles. There are two emerging factions within the Republican Party; we’ll call them the “conservatives” and the “libertarians.”

Marco Rubio has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the conservative ranks. Elected to the Senate in 2010, he has earned a place of prominence and is widely viewed as one of the top contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination. Earlier this year, he delivered the official Republican response to the State of the Union address, during which he lunged for a now infamous water bottle.

Contrast Rubio with another first-term senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul, a polished and subdued version of his father, is the face of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. While Rubio’s and Paul’s speeches at CPAC will likely contain a lot of the same messages, Paul will likely differ on issues of war, defense spending, and civil liberties. We’ll most likely also hear him call for an audit of the Pentagon.

One of Paul’s closest allies in the senate is Mike Lee, a quieter and less controversial libertarian, although many might consider him more principled from an ideological perspective. He is one of a few potential surprises that we may see this year at CPAC.

Ted Cruz, only a few months in to his freshman senate term, has already made a name for himself for his boisterous and often blockading views and votes. As an ethnic minority, like Rubio, he could potentially become a Very Important Person as Republicans seek to adapt to modern demographics.

One more senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina, will make his first influential national speech at CPAC. He is well-known in his home state for being exceptionally hawkish on fiscal issues, and it will be interesting to see how well he introduces himself to conservatives across the country.

Finally, Dr. Ben Carson is poised to become the next Herman Cain, hopefully with a few more brain cells. This Johns Hopkins powerhouse will certainly be a favorite of the anti-Washington-insiders crowd.

CPAC 2013 will also feature a number of young political and ideological rising stars.

Jeff Frazee is the founder and Executive Director of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), an organization that boasts a membership of over 125,000 people and possesses a network of over 380 local chapters on college campuses nationwide. Their stated goal is to “identify, educate, train, and mobilize young people on the ideals of liberty and the Constitution.”

A similar organization, Students for Liberty (SfL), which was founded in 2008, is led by Alexander McCobin, who will also speak at CPAC. SfL’s biggest claim to fame is their annual international conference, which draws thousands of youngsters from around the world. Both Frazee and McCobin are expected to deliver speeches with libertarian themes; McCobin’s may prove to be the most libertarianesque of all the speeches at CPAC.

Francesca Chambers is the editor of Red Alert Politics, a popular conservative online news site geared toward college students. Chambers and the two young men represent the future of conservatism in America.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the speaking line-up is who will not be present. The ACU was wise to not include the likes of Donald Trump, to be sure, but many are left scratching their heads at the exclusion of Chris Christie.

Fix contributor Joseph Diedrich is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also Director of Operations of Young Americans for Liberty at UW, and a columnist for Washington Times Communities.

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A series of miscalculations on voter turnout caused the Romney campaign to misread the polls in the final weeks of the campaign. When election results started coming in on Tuesday night, the numbers came as a shock, CBS News reports:

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

…Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats – and that would translate into votes for Romney…

Those assumptions drove their campaign strategy: their internal polling showed them leading in key states, so they decided to make a play for a broad victory: go to places like Pennsylvania while also playing it safe in the last two weeks.

Those assessments were wrong.

What a bitter night for Romney after running for president almost non-stop for six years–and coming so close.

Indeed, what a bitter night for America.

Here at The College Fix, we believe standing for what’s right and true is always worthwhile, no matter the outcome. Liberty, freedom and opportunity, the right to life–these causes are the noble and just and worthy. In that sense, Romney, who may have worked harder than any man in history to become president, did not labor in vain.

And we who are of like mind must continue to work, and likewise do our utmost to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and to resist the attacks that, history shows, are ever being directed at human liberty.

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During the debate last night, while Paul Ryan talked about the ailing economy, persistent unemployment, and the nuclear threat in Iran, Biden could not keep himself composed.

What do you think? Did Biden have a crack up at the debate last night? You be the judge!


Paul Ryan’s integrity is under attack. On multiple occasions, including at the Republican National Convention, the GOP vice-presidential candidate claimed President Barack Obama broke a very specific promise.

Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisc., was home to a General Motors assembly plant for almost a century. The plant was idled in late 2008 and decommissioned the following year.

While campaigning in Wisconsin in 2008, Obama spoke to a large crowd of supporters, many of whom were manufacturers.

“I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years,” he said. “The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President.”

According to Ryan, the closure of the plant represents the fracture of a very explicit guarantee made by Obama: “I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open. One more broken promise.”

A firestorm erupted in the wake of Ryan’s allegations. Progressive pundits rushed to defend the president, pointing out that the GM plant had been slated for closure in June 2008, seven months before Obama took office. Even ostensibly neutral sources have considered Ryan’s comments dubious at best; Politifact rated his statement blatantly “false.”

Conservatives were quick to counter, taking the opportunity to make note of a recent report issued by the Treasury Department that estimates the U.S. will lose $25 billion as a result of the auto bailouts.

What has been almost completely forgotten, however, in the midst of this hollow partisan spectacle is the larger economic consequences of plant closure and manufacturing job loss. Both Ryan and Obama seem to agree that a plant closing is a negative thing. While such an occurrence may appear devastating at first, there is much more to the story.

The GM plant in Janesville closed—as it should have.

“Higher gasoline prices are changing consumer behavior, and rapidly,” said Rick Wagoner, then-Chairman of GM, in a 2008 news conference. “This is not a spike or a temporary shift, it’s permanent.”

The auto manufacturer failed to adequately anticipate shifts in demand, and as a result, the gluttonous SUVs being produced in Wisconsin were no longer needed.

Of course workers lost their jobs. They suffered and they sacrificed. But by freeing up resources (labor, capital, natural resources) used for the cars, other economic sectors eager to grow and expand were now granted access; a more efficient allocation of resources was achieved.

Today, Janesville is booming in many different sectors, most notably healthcare.

A Sept. 16 article in the Wisconsin State Journal states as much, detailing about 500 new jobs in the city’s expanding health care industry.

This is the essence of free-market process. When entrepreneurs succeed and fail based on their ability to satiate consumer demand in a competitive environment, resources are allocated efficiently and quickly.

It is a fallacy to believe there is a fixed number of manufacturing jobs. Those jobs may be lost to other geographical areas—different cities, different states, different countries—that enjoy a comparative advantage in that particular field. If the Chinese can make a product comparable in quality but cheaper than Americans, that benefits both China and America; we both now have less expensive goods, allowing money to be spent on additional needs and desires.

As we know too well, however, this natural and healthy process of free-market resource allocation was not allowed to take place to its full extent. The federal government intervened and “bailed out” (i.e., nationalized) GM in 2009. To the extent that GM employees kept their jobs, this act was a smashing success.

Yes, GM is still around, and yes, it still employees thousands of manufacturers. But what if it was exposed to the full scrutiny of the market? Many more workers would have become temporarily unemployed, to be sure. Conversely, many more jobs would have been begotten (ultimately more than were lost) due to a more efficient, laissez-faire allocation of resources.

Imagine if the builders of horse-drawn carriages had received bailout money from the government, and were coddled by the federal Leviathan well past their expiration date. It would have been an enormous impediment to forward progress, as resources that could have been utilized by emerging automobile companies would have been artificially trapped in the coffers of a dying industry.

If the free market is allowed to do what it wants to, newer and better jobs will quickly emerge. But if the government stands in the way, acting as some sort of pack-ratting white knight who tries to save, appease, and protect everyone and everything, then resources will forever be inefficiently allocated, and fewer jobs than possible will exist. Belief that government is able to improve economic conditions is untenable; government action can only (and always does) inhibit prosperity.

Obama said this. Ryan said that. Who cares? What matters is that the government has and will continue to decimate the economy because it, by its very nature, prevents an efficient allocation of resources from being achieved.

Fix Contributor Joseph Diedrich is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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