Just before Iowa’s week 14 loss to Michigan on December 2nd, GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy hosted a “football party” at Buffalo Wild Wings in Iowa City. The common motif of the event was “truth”. It was printed on his bus, the flyers, boomwhackers, media backdrop, and small pamphlets on every table. Ironically, he lied a lot. Here’s just some of the false statements he made both during his appearance and our one-on-one conversation.
Image via Amman Hassan
“More people are dying from climate policy then climate change.”
Ramaswamy cites the environmental death rate falling 985% in the last 100 years, and more Americans dying from cold temperatures. These functionalities have no relation to the question asked or statements referenced, and serve as examples of Ramaswamy’s inability to understand the topic or differentiate correlation from causation. Much of that reduction is directly caused by 20th century climate policy. The clean air act alone reduced the number of annual premature deaths by more than 300,000 and added 1.7 years to the average American’s life expectancy. It’s a cause of improved technology in housing, safety, and weather phenomenon detection and prevention.
Vivek fails to understand the regional impact of climate change and how poorer communities cannot protect themselves from the environment. A lot of the effects of climate change are abstract or incremental, but here are some of the definite numbers. Flooding is between 300-900% more common than it was 50 years ago. In Miami county alone, flood insurance premiums have gone up more than 300%, and will cost the city $17 billion in 2023 in flood prevention. It will cost The Bay Area more than 100 billion this decade to build levels and prevent flooding of its city, and 36% of Americans live in areas with daily air quality grades. This summer many of us Iowans experienced what that air quality can look like.
Image via Amman Hassan
“The climate change agenda has nothing to do with climate, if it did they would be supporting nuclear energy, but they are not.”
Nuclear is more than twice as expensive per watt of energy then onshore solar or wind. Iowans are clearly aware of this as the majority of our energy is sourced from wind. In fact, we generate so much energy we export roughly a third of the wind energy we produce and compensate the landowners and communities that house them. NIMBYism and community antagonism to nuclear being built in their backyard has been the primary hurdle for the construction of nuclear power plants for decades, Ramaswamy is vehemently opposed to eminent domain so it’s unclear how he would rectify this conflict.
Nuclear energy requires the mining of minerals that harms the health of those that mine them. It also produces 78 to 178 g-CO2/kWh of carbon dioxide. The process also creates nuclear waste which costs time, money and uses up plenty of land that has to be managed for more than 200,000 years. These financial and pollution arguments also forget to include future safety as meltdowns and targeted attacks of plants puts American security at risk.
“Gut the Fed and stabilize the currency by “pegging it to commodities”, like gold.”
There’s not enough gold in the world to back the US dollar. Every letter of credit or loan would instantly lose value. Your mortgage, car lease, business instant payrolls, becomes unbacked and worthless. Our economic growth would become tied to our gold supply. This limits our liquidity, restricts growth, and disincentivizes trade. Not to mention, it also allows for the antagonistic stockpiling of commodities and supplies that could harm the United States or our allies. Gold and many commodities derive their value from the same system as our modern fiat currency, trust, and belief in that it possesses value. A fractional gold standard like we had in the 20th century would still be, if not more, at risk of crises like bank runs and deflation.
The following graphs depict inflation during part of the American gold standard period, and immediately after quantitative easing during the 2008 recession. Governments and a well informed federal reserve have the primary goal of adjusting and moderating the money supply to stabilize the currency. That becomes nearly impossible if it’s tied to a commodity like gold.
Graphs via The Atlantic
“Unleash the American economy to achieve 5% GDP growth.”
The annualized GDP growth in the last 4 years has been 6.97%, and 5.2% in 2023. Annualized Job Growth in the last 4 years has been 3.59%. Unemployment is 3.4%, the lowest in over 50 years. Since Jan 2020, wages have grown nearly 20%. Inflation has dropped to 3.2% and is the lowest among the G7 and much of the developed world. Considering this data it’s unclear what Ramaswamy’s campaign means by unleashing the American economy to achieve a goal that has already been surpassed.
“There’s 13.2 million people in this state.”
After getting corrected, Ramaswamy claimed he meant voting power in reference to the Iowa caucus. However, the math doesn’t make sense. He was likely misremembering what his campaign employees had coached him on before the event.
Also, here is just a short list of some of the Ramaswamy campaign’s unfalsifiable, yet notable statements: “God is real”, “wokeism is a religion and a Title VII violation”, “English should be the sole language of the ballet”. Ramaswamy also advocated for a Russian appeasement strategy in Ukraine. He would fire 90% of federal reserve employees and abolish the Education Department, FBI, ATF, IRS, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the FDA, and the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. He claimed federal agents were involved in the September 11th attacks, and called the LGBT movement a “cult”.
Finally as a writer at a music centered paper, I feel as though I’m required to comment on Ramaswamy’s music taste. I can only compare this to his ideological statements in its dramatic and shallow nature.