Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Rectitude: Two Wars on the Chinese Credit Card

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a champion the Bowles-Simpson deficit plan, on Wednesday attacked Paul Ryan for using the fiscal commission as a political weapon against President Obama after helping ensure its defeat.

“My friend Paul Ryan talks about fiscal responsibility, but voted to put two wars on the credit card. He voted to spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He voted for a prescription drug benefit with no plan to pay for it. He abandoned the bipartisan principle that we must pay for what we buy,” Hoyer said at the Democratic convention. “And he voted against the balanced deficit reduction plan produced by a bipartisan commission—a fact, by the way, that he didn’t tell us in his speech last week.”

He said that while Democrats tried to fix the economy, “Republicans unfortunately played politics” and rooted for Obama to fail.

“Let’s review the history,” he said. “Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said that Republicans’ number one priority was the defeat of President Obama. Not the defeat of terrorism, not the creation of jobs, not the reduction of our deficit and debt, not ensuring access to health care, not educating our children. But to simply defeat our president.”


Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo

GOP Women Shocked, Shocked

Carla Marinucci, at the SF Chron, went out and got the quotes of a life time following Representative Todd Aikin (MO) comments on live television that victims of “legitimate rape” didn’t get pregnant.  She went straight to high-rolling GOP, female fund raisers.

Jillian Manus Salzman, a powerhouse donor to Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign and a proud pro-choice Republican, said she screamed when she heard Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, say that victims of “legitimate” rape rarely get pregnant.


“I was so appalled, so angry – I can’t tell you,” said the Atherton literary agent and philanthropist who has co-hosted major Romney fundraisers in the Bay Area. “His opinion is not just hurtful to others. It’s dangerous.”


Harmeet Dhillon, head of San Francisco’s Republican Party and a candidate for state Senate, says she is appalled by Rep. Todd Akin’s comments and “embarrassed for my party that we have a candidate like that.”


California Republican U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken, who is antiabortion and the challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, was horrified by Akin’s remarks, which she called “outrageous and indefensible.”

As the mother of two daughters, “I condemn his offensive statements in the strongest possible language,” she said in a statement issued Monday.

It would be easy to be snide about such comments, or more exactly, not the comments but the shallowness of mind that can utter them.  As Capt Renault, in Casablanca, says after Rick protests being closed down: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!”  Just so, these GOP women are shocked to find an ignorant, anti-woman politician in their party.

Todd Aiken is not a little skin-tag, easily removed from an otherwise flawless body.  He is the right thumb of the right hand of the body that produced him.  The assault on women, not to mention crippling scientific ignorance, has been the core of the current leaders of the Republican Party for many years.  How can these good hearted and undoubtedly smart women not acknowledge this?

Ms. Salzman threw a big fund raiser for Ryan who “Like many Republican ... opposes abortion even when a woman has been raped.”  And yet she is outraged.

 Mr. Ryan has said he doesn’t believe in a rape exception when outlawing abortion, and he worked with Mr. Akin in the House in trying to narrow the definition of rape so Medicaid would pay for fewer abortions of poor women. Mitt Romney says he supports a rape exception, but many of the politicians he has invited to speak at next week’s Republican convention disagree with him.

Women!  And men, too.  Please, please, please do your homework before raising gazillions for those who have power (over us) in mind. Ask yourselves:  do I want the lives of  my son or daughter to be rearranged by the proposals and people I am now funding?  Will I be able to stand before those I love and say, “I didn’t know,” when radical actions —promised in the party platform— ruin lives?

Shady Money, Voter Suppression, Shifting Positions…

“Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy.

If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that’s it. Distasteful all.”

Thursday, as Think Progress pointed out, Ryan adopted Romney’s position on China’s currency manipulation and stealing of intellectual property, saying: “Mitt Romney and I are going to crack down on China cheating and make sure trade works for Americans.”

However, as Talking Points Memo reported: “Ryan has consistently opposed measures to crack down on China’s currency manipulation practices, which tilt the playing field against American labor.”

Charles M Blow has more delicious hypocrisies detailed in his Saturday column.

Paul (Rand) Ryan: More on His Mentor

Well, we are all getting lessons we never wanted in one of the strangest fawning reversals in recent history.

Paul Ryan, as late as 2005 was handing out free copies of Atlas Shrugged by his reluctant mentor Ayn (pronounced like ‘swine’ she said) Rand.  He’s back-peddling now like a circus clown on a wobbly-wheeled bicycle on account of her pronounced views on Christianity (“the best kindergarten for communism possible”) and atheism — the only possible stance for a true individualist.  How Ryan didn’t know all this when he was inviting his subordinates to join him in Rand fealty is beyond me, but so are many things.

Here’s a good, short column to bring you up to date on the Lady herself, and what she might have thought about her drum major…

She would have denounced Mr. Ryan as she denounced Ronald Reagan, for trying “to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.”

…when his embrace of Rand drew fire from Catholic leaders, Mr. Ryan reversed course with a speed that would make his running mate, Mitt Romney, proud. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he told National Review earlier this year. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.” He claimed that his austere budget was motivated by the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which holds that issues should be handled at the most local level possible, rather than Rand’s anti-government views.

This retreat to religion would have infuriated Rand, who believed it was impossible to separate government policies from their moral and philosophical underpinnings. Policies motivated by Christian values, which she called “the best kindergarten of communism possible,” were inherently corrupt.

Free-market capitalism, she said, needed a new, secular morality of selfishness, one she promoted in her novels, nonfiction and newsletters.

… Years before Roe v. Wade, Rand called abortion “a moral right which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved.” She condemned the military draft and American involvement in Vietnam. She warned against recreational drugs but thought government had no right to ban them. These aspects of Rand do not fit with a political view that weds fiscal and social conservatism.

Jennifer Burns on Rand and Ryan

Maureen Dowd, fellow Catholic with Ryan, doesn’t like much of what she sees.

He’s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.

Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?

He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face.


Republican Slash and Burn on Romney-Ryan Fairy Tales

The rather infamous David A Stockman who fed the country the fairy-tale soup of supply-side economics under President Reagan, and then turned apostate of sorts has penned a scathing column on the leaders of what once was, and I presume still is, his party.

While there is plenty to cheer about his attacks, his actual ideas for setting things right need to be taken with a double-margarita’s dose of salt.

Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to “job creators” (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.

[this is an especially juicy ad-hominem] “the neoconconservative imperialism that the G.O.P. cobbled from policy salons run by Irving Kristol’s ex-Trotskyites three decades ago.”

The greatest regulatory problem — far more urgent that the environmental marginalia Mitt Romney has fumed about — is that the giant Wall Street banks remain dangerous quasi-wards of the state and are inexorably prone to speculative abuse of taxpayer-insured deposits and the Fed’s cheap money. Forget about “too big to fail.” These banks are too big to exist — too big to manage internally and to regulate externally.

Heck, go have a good time….

but put the happy-horns away…

 “…liberals might want to be wary of embracing Stockman too fully, even if he does advocate raising taxes, cutting defense spending, and attacking the Ryan plan. He also advocates jacking up interest rates and ending quantitative easing (i.e., the only form of stimulus available to the government as long as Congress is deadlocked). He has said, “I invest in anything that [Federal Reserve Chair Ben] Bernanke can’t destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries.”

As economist Justin Wolfers tweeted Tuesday morning, “I don’t get liberals getting excited about David Stockman’s anti-Ryan tirade in the NYT. His complaint is that Ryan isn’t right wing enough.” For Democrats, the enemy of their enemy is just that — he’s still not their friend. [The Atlantic]

Democracy Now looks at Paul Ryan’s Hometown: Recovered Thanks to Tax Payer Help

By the way, Democracy Now has an App for your mobile phone, so if you aren’t near a radio when it airs, your problem is solved!  Go Get it!

This morning Amy Goodman and her team took a look at Janesville, WI, on which native son, Paul Ryan apparently never saw.

With Republican Rep. Paul Ryan joining the Republican ticket for the White House, his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, is now in the national spotlight. Thousands have struggled with unemployment in Janesville since General Motors shut down its century-old plant there in 2008, causing mass layoffs. As the town tries to get back on its feet, Ryan has said Janesville has become a microcosm for the economic woes facing the nation. But much of its economic recovery is in fact due, in part, to money from President Obama’s stimulus package and other federal grants. We speak to Brad Lichtenstein, director of the new documentary, “As Goes Janesville,” which follows the lives of laid-off GM workers who try to reinvent themselves through federally funded job training programs or by moving to work at other GM factories that stayed open after the auto industry bailout. We also play excerpts and outtakes from the film, including interviews with Ryan that did not make the final cut. [includes rush transcript]

Krugman on Ryan

Not jut one, but several posts about the so-called brains of the GOP:

Romney/Ryan: The Real Target

So, let me clarify what I believe is really going on in the choice of Paul Ryan as VP nominee. It is not about satisfying the conservative base, which was motivated anyway by Obama-hatred; it is not about refocusing on the issues, because R&R are both determined to avoid providing any of the crucial specifics about their plans. It is — as Jonathan Chait also seems to understand — about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000.

Like Bush in 2000, Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan’s case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality; Ryan’s much-touted plan, far from being a real solution, relies crucially on stuff that is just pulled out of thin air — huge revenue increases from closing unspecified loopholes, huge spending cuts achieved in ways not mentioned. See Matt Miller for more.

So whence comes the Ryan reputation? As I said in my last post, it’s because many commentators want to tell a story about US politics that makes them feel and look good — a story in which both parties are equally at fault in our national stalemate, and in which said commentators stand above the fray. This story requires that there be good, honest, technically savvy conservative politicians, so that you can point to these politicians and say how much you admire them, even if you disagree with some of their ideas; after all, unless you lavish praise on some conservatives, you don’t come across as nobly even-handed.

The trouble, of course, is that it’s really really hard to find any actual conservative politicians who deserve that praise. Ryan, with his flaky numbers (and actually very hard-line stance on social issues), certainly doesn’t. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence.

So that’s the constituency Romney is targeting: not a large segment of the electorate, but a few hundred at most editors, reporters, programmers, and pundits. His hope is that Ryan’s unjustified reputation for honest wonkery will transfer to the ticket as a whole.

So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn’t seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he’s betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we’ll see if it works.


The Ryan Role

Galt / Gekko 2012

Culture Of Fraud (actually not about Ryan but Romney and his economic lackeys.)

Paul Ryan: Authentically Dangerous Zealot

The acid tongued Charles P Pierce at Esquire has some interesting news for you about Mr. Ryan

Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn’t believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he’s ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.

In the lengthy — and now, very prescient — profile of Ryan that ran in The New Yorker this week, Ryan Lizza pinned him down on this very point. Ryan responded in fluent Weaselspeak….

When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.”

The fact is that his “budget” will demolish federal spending on those very things, either directly, or by sending the deficit off in the direction of Alpha Centauri. But the quote illustrates something else about Paul Ryan: get him out of his comfort zone of being thought an intellectual by the likes of Louie Gohmert, and of being thought of as a bold thinker by half the buffet-grazers in the Beltway media, and he really is quite the political coward. (In this way, he is a perfect match for the man who picked him.) He does not have the raw balls to explain to the country that, no, he does not believe in government — not the federal government, anyway, and not as it was originally conceived, as the fundamental expression of a political commonwealth. He’s grandfathered his plan to chloroform Medicare so that, despite the deficit that he considers such an urgent problem, nobody alive today who might vote against him will be affected by it. For the same reason, he will not specify the cuts that he will make or the tax “loopholes” —coughMortgageInterestDeductioncough — that he will close. In any way that will come to matter to the people whose lives his policies will make harder and more miserable, Paul Ryan is still the high-school kid living off Social Security survivor benefits and reading Ayn Rand by flashlight under the sheets. Instead, he’s a guy pretending to be something he’s not, and doing so back in Janesville in a very swell Georgian mansion, which just happens to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Which, among other things, means that Paul Ryan, who lies awake at night worrying that The Deficit will come and eat our grandchildren, lives in a house overseen by the National Park Service, which means that he qualifies for a 20-percent investment tax credit for the house he lives in. Of course, his “budget” would largely decimate the NPS, but that would be only those parts of it enjoyed by other people. Yes, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver, has done very well by the federal government that he seeks to dismantle. Come to think of it, so has Willard Romney, although we may never know exactly how well he’s done by it. It turns out this is a match made in heaven, after all.

Of course, it still could be that they’re just trying to give poor Paul Krugman a stroke.

For the acid read the first part here.

Paul Ryan: Climate Science Denier and Conspiracy Theorist

From Climate Progress

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E):

“If Paul Ryan Knew What Poverty Was, He Wouldn’t Be Giving This Speech”

The fightin-for-the-poor Catholics signed up and lined up to take issue with the fighting-for-the-rich Catholic, Paul Ryan when he gave a speech at Catholic Georgetown University on Thursday.

“I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father Thomas Reese, a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, in a press release Tuesday. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”

… During the Q&A session that followed, where Ryan fielded questions submitted by students, he insisted that welfare reform had brought down child poverty rates. The claim is false, especially in Ryan’s home state. According to the most recent data, the child poverty rate in Wisconsin jumped 42 percent between 2000 and 2010. The suffering would have been more significant but for the large increases in federal food assistance that Ryan wants to scale back.

… James Salt, the executive director of Catholics United, which organized one of the protests outside the hall where Ryan was speaking, told gathered reporters that his group was there because “the dignity of the poor should be at the forefront of our minds.” Taking a dig at Ryan’s attempts to cast his budget as a boon for poor people, Salt noted, “If Paul Ryan knew what poverty was, he wouldn’t be giving this speech.”

Mother Jones