Monday, May 16, 2011

Ryan Equates Medicare With "Welfare For The Needy"

As Ezra Klein pointed out in the Washington Post this morning, Paul Ryan went in front of the Economic Club of Chicago to try to stem the bleeding from his much-hated plan to turn Medicare into an inadequate voucher program. Wall Street's-- and to some extent the Beltway media's-- golden boy is now thoroughly toxic. The special election in New York state's reddest district is all about him and his dystopian Ayn Rand nonsense he sold to the GOP... but he isn't showing up to defend the lemming who jumped on his bandwagon. Even a right-wing political thug like Gingrich has been forced to back away from it, calling it "right-wing social engineering." Ryan was reduced to getting into a mud-wrestling match with the former Speaker.

But Ryan's slick but shallow speech actually made his predicament-- so completely tied up now with the Republican Party's-- even worse. He managed to equate seniors taking benefits Medicare they earned over a lifetime of hard work with being on welfare. Bad move calling one of the country's-- and Wisconsin's-- biggest and most dependable voting blocks "welfare bums."
Though billed as an effort to revamp his widely criticized budget, Ryan avoided describing his health care plans in specific detail, eschewing even the friendly terms he and other Republicans have used to explain it since he first unveiled it earlier this year. Instead, Ryan reframed the entitlement cuts in his budget as "strengthen[ing] welfare for those who need it," and accused Democrats who have attacked his budget as engaging in class warfare.

Ryan's Democratic opponent in next year's election, Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban seemed astounded. “Representative Paul Ryan is the last person who should be lecturing about economics when his answer to tough budget decisions is bankrupting our seniors. Ryan’s plan ends Medicare and puts Wisconsin seniors at the mercy of big private insurance companies. It’s not fair, and it’s not ‘reform.’ It’s just irresponsible."

The non-partisan watchdog group Public Campaign decided the occasion of Ryan's big speech would be a perfect time to release a report on his breathtaking corruption in terms of taking gargantuan sums of money-- the most of any politician in the history of Wisconsin-- from special interests whose agendas he supports against the best interests of his constituents.
Ryan has benefited significantly from both insurance companies and oil and gas companies during his time in Congress, according to Public Campaign analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Both sectors that would benefit from his budget as it stands now.

Insurance Interests

• During his time in Congress, Rep. Ryan has received $833,753 in campaign contributions from the employees and PACs of insurance companies. In the 2010 cycle alone, Ryan’s campaign and his leadership PAC received $317,602 in insurance industry money.

• Insurance giant BlueCross BlueShield has been one of Ryan’s biggest campaign contributors over the years, providing him with $48,650 in campaign contributions. As the New York Times reported this weekend, many of the country’s largest insurance companies, like BlueCross, are ratcheting up rates for consumers while raking in record profits.

• On May 2nd at a town hall meeting in his district, Ryan claimed to be unaware of the insurance interests donating to his campaign, but in the summer of 2010 he held two fundraisers in Washington, D.C. with lobbyists for insurance companies Humana and BlueCross.

Oil Companies

• Ryan has received $214,250 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests during his time in Congress. In 2010 alone, Ryan and his leadership PAC received $61,500 from oil and gas interests.

• In 2010, Ryan and his leadership PAC received $20,000 from Koch Industries, a major energy company that benefits from taxpayer subsidies for oil companies.

Please support Rob Zerban's campaign at Stop Paul Ryan.

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