The Boy is Back in Town
Paul Ryan hit the ball out of the park Wednesday night. Amid a crowd of white, overweight men and women wearing lapel flags, red, white and blue star shaped sunglasses and white cowboy hats waving flags. Their would-be lapdog was at the podium earnestly spreading slander on a fool’s errand for the Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove.
With the fitting tune “The Boys are Back in Town” from Thin Lizzy’s 1976 album “Jail Break” Congressman Ryan approached the mike with all the blue eyed earnest sincerity of the Catholic school boy he claims that he once was.
As many of us know now, Catholics including Father Fred Daily of a Syracuse diocese have recently decried “The proposed cuts of Representative Ryan in the Ryan’s Budget (that) are immoral and unjustifiable and will be putting the burden on the poor.” Going on to say, “I think that all people of faith should be in the streets proclaiming the immorality of these proposed cuts.”
Over the course of the summer and through much of 2011 and 2012 other members of Ryan’s Catholic Church have condemned his proposed public policies. They include Network Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell who points out that Ryan’s budget proposal will “raise taxes on low-income families while cutting taxes for millionaires and corporations, push families into poverty, and kick 8 million people off of food stamps.”
And yet Mr. Ryan stood before the American people on Wednesday evening and cheering crowds of those who are either uninformed or unaffected by his extreme reactionary platform, claiming to be one of two candidates to save us from current failed public policies. He actually had the audacity to stand before us with one insult after another, claiming that he and Mitt Romney share “the same moral creed, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.”
As Thin Lizzy began to fade, Ryan shared one false vignette after another. Perhaps one of the most widely publicized has been the lie about the closing of the GM plant in his home town of Janesville. He claimed that while campaigning in Wisconsin in 2008, then Candidate Barack Obama promised to keep the plant open “another hundred years” only to allow it to close a year later. The reality is that the plant closed while Bush was in office.
Last night Congressman Ryan proudly proclaimed, “Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program and raiding it.”
A core policy interest of mine, and millions of Americans, is health care. And rightly so. Republicans, with Ryan as its key spokesman last night, have insisted that President Obama has stolen $716 billion from our parents’ and grandparents’ Medicare benefits to pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Simply not true. That money represents the estimated savings in new efficiencies from a crackdown on fraud and abuse in Medicare, not from benefits and all part of the Administration’s health care reform.
The CBO determined in 2011 that the federal health care law would reduce Medicare outlays by $507 billion between 2012 and 2021. In a more recent estimate released this year, the CBO looked at the years 2013 to 2022 and determined the health care law affected Medicare outlays by $716 billion.
Ryan has proposed a health care policy that would convert Medicare to a capped reimbursement rate voucher system, eventually putting the largest share of the burden on beneficiaries. Not surprisingly, it remains unpopular among most Americans in a recent poll.
As I have written previously, Ryan would eventually gut 65 percent of Medicare if his original plan had been put into place. His so-called Path to Prosperity is simply a sham leading to ruin.
And what about Social Security? The truth is that it’s just not going broke. Mr. Ryan apparently forgot to mention that it ended the year 2011 with a $2.7 billion surplus. On Tuesday evening Chris Christie said “we” insist on telling the truth to seniors about overburdened entitlements. “We” are still waiting Mr. Ryan.
Ryan claims that the Obama administration has done nothing to solve the housing crisis. Yet his party opposes the Dodd-Frank legislation that will, in part, place greater control over the ability of Wall Street to create a repeat of the highly leveraged mortgage pools that helped produce the crisis.
In claiming that nothing has been done to address the economy or jobs, Paul Ryan continues to lead a chorus on the right that falsely condemns President Obama’s “failed stimulus” package of 2009. The fact is that most economists agree that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, while smaller than actually needed, succeeded in created almost 3 million jobs.
The earnest Mr. Ryan also failed to mention last night that a mostly Republican group of senators voted down the American Jobs Act which would have created 1.9 million jobs and rebuilt our crumbling infrastructure, both sorely needed policies devised by what he has termed the “central planners in Washington.” Jamelle Bouie over at the American Prospect reminds us to mention this every time someone (like Ryan) falsely claims that President Obama has no plan for jobs.
Ryan claims that his plan will create 12 million jobs over the next 4 years while keeping federal spending at 20 percent of GDP. It ain’t gonna happen. To borrow Paul Krugman’s economic term, this is plain “flimflam.” Coming from the economic position we are currently in while placing a cap on demand investment through controlling GDP at 20 percent or less will just not inject the stimulus into the economy to create the jobs or build the infrastructure we need or that Ryan dishonestly claims.
Ryan laced the rest of his speech with vignettes about mom, mowing lawns, apple lie, er, pie, and the villains of the Beltway conveniently forgetting the truth and replacing it where it was even more convenient.
He invoked starry memories of supply side crusader Jack Kemp and dreams of how tax cuts and smaller government are sure to guide us back to our “Strongest of all responsibilities – the truest of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves,” ideas that are “central to democracy.”
Among his closing remarks Ryan said, “The right that makes all the difference now is the right to choose our own leaders – and you are entitled to the clearest possible choice because the time for choosing is drawing near.”
All this in a year of epic voter suppression. Mr. Ryan needs to be reminded that it’s his party among the state legislatures that are putting voting rights under attack across the country.
In 2011, in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address Ryan said,” This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency. And yet last night he went on to say, “We can make the safety nets safe again.”
To quote Thin Lizzy:
“Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed, haven’t much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy.”
Note: Cross Posted at VeracityStew.com