Monday, October 31, 2011

What Does Paul Ryan Tell The Folks In southeast ScottWalkerstan?

Last week, Paul Ryan, Wall Street's very own Wisconsin cat's paw, sent out a fundraising letter on behalf of the RNC but instead of the usual adolescent Ayn Rand gibberish he wows his speaking audiences with, he took on the mantle of the protecter of, of all things, the 99%:
America is at a tipping point. 14 million Americans are unemployed and 9.3 million are underemployed. Our debt has grown over $4 trillion in less than three years and will be above $16 trillion before the end of 2012. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care.

No one seems to care? So Paul Ryan, author of the GOP plan to end Medicare, a congressman who helped force through Bush's T.A.R.P. Wall Street bankster bailout while consistently voting to dismember Social Security... he cares?

Unfortunately for Ryan, major media these days does more fact checking than his carefullu woven web of lies can stand up to. Like this little whopper be squawked out Oct 27 on CNBC's Squawk Box: "You have 219 new regulations coming out, costing over $100 million each.” 
the source of the [219] figure-- Susan E. Dudley, director of the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center-- decided to do a deeper examination of the data. She found that the number of pending regulations that met the $100 million threshold in the database she examined was actually 158. There were also limitations in the database.

It is also worth noting that Bloomberg News this week reported that “Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father.”

Paul Ryan needs to get his talking points updated. He gets Three Pinocchios.

You can't blame anyone from watching Ryan from K Street and Wall Street perspectives. They are, after all, his world. However, DWT has a secret weapon in southeast Wisconsin, our man Dave, and we agreed that it was time to see what line of bullshit Ryan is feeding his constituents these days. So Dave decided to brave a very restricted town hall meeting.

Observations from a Ryan Town Hall meeting

-by Dave

I attended Ryan's Elkhorn, WI listening session Friday. Right after his big speech at the AEI. I hoped to get the chance to ask a question or two and get a feel for the level of support of attendees. Sadly, I was not called on to ask a question (no surprise, it appeared he only called on people he knew, or may have been screened). 

Let me paint a picture. White older to middle aged audience, no minority's to be seen. No young people (other than his pages). More people than I ever saw at one of his meetings in Elkhorn, standing room only (about 200). Mostly huge supporters, true believers. Plenty of security, the sheriff and a half dozen deputies and the local police. No signs were allowed in the room (dumb rule here; they would have been supporters signs). 

The last time I attended one of these it was after Ryan's solution to the Social Security and Medicare "crisis" was proposed. There were half as many people and a few of us carried signs demanding no cuts to these programs. The event went down about the same. Ryan opens with a power point presentation describing the imminent collapse of our country because of the uncontrolled costs of social programs. He goes on to explain the only problem is spending and we need to make drastic cuts to save the free society we live in. Lots of references to that. What kind of country do you want to live in? Europe? Because those people are not free. Government  takes all their money and makes all the decisions. No American dream there.

He has brainwashed these followers to believe that the freedom to be homeless is a good thing, the freedom to die from lack of health care is a good thing, and the ability to be screwed by mega corporation out of your money is also a good thing. American freedoms we should protect and treasure. 

These are not by and large wealthy people. I'm sure some of the farmers are and a few others too. But they have bought into the idea they are. To arrogant or ignorant to realize they are one major health problem or  job loss away from living in their cars. That kind of thing only happens to other people they don't care about; undocumented aliens, people of color (other than white), trailer park trash. Why help them? Oblivious to the fact bad luck is any equal opportunity destroyer of lives.

Back in the session a local banker Ryan knows asks about killing the Dodd Frank bill, says it is hurting small banks. Ryan agrees, say it needs to go because it picks winners and losers ( Huh? I thought he did that by bailing out the big banks.) Goes on later to say he is all in for drill baby, drill in response to another softball question. Then on to endorse the amazing new drilling technology that is safe and opening up vast new gas reserves in this country (fracking). 

Any question asked is replied to with a talking point. Regulation is killing this country, and all these government programs are taking away our freedom. Obama is a divider because he (accurately) describes repukes as anti environment and anti women and against everything-- which is just not true! We must repeal Obamacare (his words), because it forces private insurers to meet minimum requirements for coverage and mandates its purchase. Doesn't mention we will all still be buying insurance from private insurers, but won't be able to be screwed by them. Not one question about jobs. Crazy.

A postman came prepared and asked if Ryan would support a number of bills to bail out the post office by changing the 75 year pension funding requirement. Ryan says that this is commonly done???? And actuarialy sound. He will not discuss specific bills claiming ignorance and says he will know more once the bills are marked up. He goes on further to say he is confident Rep. Issa is going to put together a good piece of legislation. The topic is changed and the postman is left out to dry. No sounds of support from the crowd for him.

In fact a lot of silence. Passive silence. A lot like church services, with Ryan as the preacher. Until one gentleman asked why hasn't Obama been impeached yet. The crowd roars. Ryan politely says until Obama commits a high crime or misdemeanor they can't impeach him.

The meeting was wrapping up so I slipped out the back thinking our best chance of defeating him, Ron Zerban will never win over these (ignorant or nasty?) lemmings. His only hope is huge majorities in the hurting bigger cities and with young people.  The voter suppression laws passed in WI are going to be a problem for Ron. He will need to get out the vote and produce some hard hitting TV ads showing what a shameless corporate/wall street shill Ryan is. Take off the gloves and go medieval on his ass.

I don't think Ryan has anything to brag about in his record. The economy? Landmark pieces of legislation? His budget? Wanting to gut Social Security and Medicare? Bailing out the Wall street banks? Slashing spending and not willing to raise taxes on millionaires? I don't see any winners there. And he's been there long enough to be considered part of the problem with Congress.

He does have those Eddie Munster good looks though...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Washington Post Finds A Grumpy Paul Ryan

Thank you, Occupy Wall Street, and President Obama, for putting a frown on Paul Ryan's face.

Want some candy?

'Ryan and GOP are like OJ -- they're the real killers'

“For Paul Ryan or any Republican to talk about the President inciting the politics of division is much like OJ Simpson saying he’s going to devote his life to finding the real killer– they’re the real killers!” -- former Rep. Alan Grayson on MSNBC with Ed Schultz.

Read more and watch it here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Townhall Report: Paul Ryan In Damage Control Mode?

I attended Ryan's Townhall in Janesville and for the most part walked away with nothing new or substantive to report from his presentations.

But Ryan has changed his demeanor somewhat. Not that he's done an about-face from his usual brash and cold snark-poopery, but he has backed away incrementally from his heavy partisanship and demagoguery of President Obama and Democrats in much of his presentation. At least that is how it appeared in Janesville.

He did however answer almost every question with a long and drawn out explanation oftentimes deluding its core premise to the point where few people probably remembered what the question was in the first place.

For the most part, he was playing to the audience and each questioner individually, giving them exactly what they wanted to hear but without offering a clear answer. For instance, he was asked whether he thought corporations are people. Instead of giving a simple yes or no with a supporting reason, he attempted to teach the audience why corporations should be treated the same as people.

Only one question was handled short and swift by the congressman. It happened early in the session when a constituent asked Ryan about whether his oath to Grover Norquist was before or after he entered office. Ryan replied he's been in office since 1998 and signed the pledge later. End of story. Next!

Another interesting question, or statement, came later on from someone who thought it was unfair that public sector workers make 30% more and usually have better benefits than private sector workers. Ryan replied that he agrees, that it's not right taxpayers are funding employees compensation and benefits better than what the taxpayers get. Of course that's nuts. But soon afterwards came a question about his speeches referencing class warfare, resentment and class envy.

He replied...

"I don't think it's healthy for us to be stoking the flames of envy and resentment, I don't care about rich people, because they are already rich. What I worry about is making it easier for people to become successful, who's never seen it before... -- Paul Ryan

Doh! So, it's okay to fuel wage envy, resentment and division between taxpayers and public sector workers, but not okay if one of the sides is rich? He wants to make it easier for people to become successful, but is a proud member of the anti-union party? Oh well. This is typical Ryan.

But it doesn't end there. Ryan said he doesn't care or worry about the rich. Then why does he worry about their feelings?

"Don't tax them so much and don't regulate business so much, because that causes uncertainty, and that feeling keeps them from creating jobs." -- Paul Ryan

Oh poor dears.

In between, Ryan mockingly complained about the run-around he recently got from hospitals and insurance providers on costs and billing after one of his kids had their tonsils removed. Soon after again, in response to a question about how he intends on turning patients into consumers shopping around for a double by-pass, he brags about how his health care proposal would help that because everyone would have the same plan he now enjoys as congressman. So you wouldn't really have to shop because hospitals would be competing for your business automatically with costs and prices set by a shopper's consumer market. Like Best Buy. That's about how most of the Townhall went. His responses were loaded with simple hypotheticals and overly agreeable answers loaded down with deliberately convoluted talking points that were often irreconcilable with each other. In other words, his answers were double-loaded. That's Paul Ryan in a nutshell.

Lastly, possibly an extension from his recent Heritage Foundation speech, Ryan takes on a populist tone by explaining that government rigged a system of tax shelters and exemptions in favor of the 1% and the only way to correct this outrage is to "broaden the tax base and lower the rates," as outlined in his proposals.

Hmmm. It's mirror time!

SodaHead Excerpt:
Ryan has also opposed efforts to close offshore tax loopholes, a record 51 times since he took office. He voted against an amendment in 2006 that would have barred funding for government contracts with U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes. In 2004, he opposed an amendment that would have prohibited the Export-Import Bank from approving direct loans to U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

He's like a broken record.

He backed away from the heavier rhetoric about his schemes to destroy Social Security and Medicare. However, any support Ryan gives these programs seems to come providing only if they are transformed into pure welfare programs for the destitute. But as far as an actual jobs plan? Ryan doesn't have one unless you think the rich need the certainty of more taxcuts and deregulation so they "feel" better about creating jobs - is a jobs plan.

The more I thought about this townhall, the more I realized that there was absolutely no reason for Ryan to have one unless he wanted to divert public opinion away from his Kill Medicare proposal and the damage he incurred at his recent Rotary Club Townhall where seniors were tackled and handcuffed for speaking their mind. Which seems to be the only logical conclusion.

Note: The Janesville Police Department had 30 officers assigned to work Ryan's Townhall at the Pontiac Convention Center. There were about a dozen protesters carrying signs outside at the parking lot entrance. No seniors or demonstrators were arrested

'There's absurd, then obscene, then Paul Ryan'

Ryan roundup:

There's absurd, then obscene, then Paul Ryan on Pantheos blog.

Paul Ryan and the 1 percent: Ryan money-blind to social contract by Joe Conason.

RNC discovers the safety net in a fund-raising pitch from Ryan. From Washington Monthly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ryan's precious millionaires

A pretty thorough take-down of Paul Ryan's idea that taxing millionaires simply isn't worth the trouble appeared this morning in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Community columnist Chuck Bayton simply nailed it, although I must admit that his sophisticated insights probably would go right over the heads of a goodly number of Ryan constituents. Here's a taste:

Quick Latin lesson: Reductio ad absurdum. That's what you've been reading. Ryan's argument is that if you can make a small segment's potential contribution to the whole seem small, then you shouldn't press for more from that segment, regardless of how little it gives now. If that were legit, then the Baynton-Bachmann argument for nothing from Baynton would be legit, too. Preposterous.

But wait. What about the idea that enough money to run the government for four months isn't very much? Four months is one-third of the year, and Ryan's hypothetical case raises it from about 1/400 of personal tax returns. So his example actually shows that even if you taxed the top 1/400 at a lower, reasonable rate and then asked profitable corporations to bear a significant proportion of the whole, the contribution of those two segments would be substantial. The tax burden on the rest of us, even assuming present spending levels and a balanced budget, would be far lower than what happens with those two segments making small contributions.

If you still think Ryan believes millionaires lack the potential to contribute in a big way, ask yourself this: When it's time to finance his next campaign, will he bother with the millionaires?

More at:

Wall Street's Paul Ryan Takes The Stage For The 1%

I wonder if the residents of Janesville, Racine, Kenosha, Muskego and Oak Creek ever wonder who's looking out for their interests back in Washington when "their" congressman is primping and preening in the national media spotlight for his Wall Street paymasters and singing Ayn Rand's sweet anti-Christian tunes for the one-percenters. Paul Ryan was puked up onto the national stage primarily because of his proposal to end Medicare, a priority for Wall Street for decades. And yet if Ryan's plan were to pass it would be catastrophic for the people who have been sending him to Congress year after year. Ryan's plan would have adverse impacts on seniors and disabled individuals in the district who are currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:
• Increase prescription drug costs for 9,700 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $95 million for drugs over the next decade.

• Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.

The Republican proposal would have even greater impacts on individuals in the district age 54 and younger who are not currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:

• Deny 550,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

• Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 127,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.

• Require the 127,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $29.7 billion for their retirement-- an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual-- to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.

• Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 70,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 419,000 individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger.

Yesterday Ryan gave one of his puffed-up, self-aggrandizing, big flashy speeches at the right-wing-financed Heritage Foundation. The Washington Post, aghast but right on the mark, labeled it Misleading, out of touch, and filled with tired talking points.
Ryan: "Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, quote, “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care?"

Yes, I can: The entire premise of this very speech. The accusation that Obama and Dems are sowing “envy” and ”class warfare” because they’re taking modest steps to slow trends that have severely exacerbated inequality for decades is as petty and small minded as it gets. Politics is a tough business, and it’s supposed to be all about an aggressive clash of visions. Deal with it.

Ryan's Democratic opponent, Rob Zerban dealt with it by live-tweeting Ryan's fatuous speech:

Ari Berman summed all that up in just one tweet:

Protect Your Care wasn't nearly as forgiving of Ryan's myriad shortcomings:
Paul Ryan decrying partisanship is as credible as a guy standing in front of a burning house with a can of gasoline and matches whining that the firefighters response time is too slow.

We understand his frustration and sense of isolation but it’s his own fault for proposing a massively unpopular plan to end Medicare while giving away massive tax breaks to millionaires, big oil companies and private jet owners. We also understand how his frustration must have gotten even worse when vast majorities of the public also are now supporting President Obama’s plans to protect Medicare and create jobs while ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share of taxes.

But if he wants to have less partisanship he may want to consider availing himself of some of the mental health care options available under the government provided, tax payer funded, health care he accepts instead of projecting his anger into his obsession with taking away Medicare from seniors.

And Brian Beutler at TMP pointed out that what the Republicans are doing is pit "conservative darling Paul Ryan against liberal hero Elizabeth Warren, with Ryan serving as a tribune to wealthy Americans and Warren as a populist fighter for working people."
This may seem like an odd choice for the GOP. Ryan’s the Republicans’ top budget guy, and the person most responsible for tying his party to a plan to phase out Medicare and to use the savings to reduce taxes on wealthy Americans. That vision has proved disastrously unpopular, and the GOP has spent months trying to dig themselves out from under the avalanche of ensuing public opinion polls. But Ryan ironically remains the GOP’s preferred spokesman on these issues, and he tackled Warren head on after a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, in which he defended wealthy Americans from growing calls for higher taxes on their income, and attacked President Obama and Democrats for engaging in what he calls “class warfare.”

Warren, who’s hoping to defeat Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in 2012, has made the most digestible case for this sort of plan-- to shore up the social safety net and fund jobs programs with higher taxes on the rich, who’ve seen their incomes skyrocket in recent years. She took this case to voters several weeks ago and it set the Internet ablaze.

...Ryan’s counterargument... isn’t just that Warren’s wrong about who should pay, but that she’s wrong about what they and the government should be paying for.

But Ryan isn't running for national office, isn't running for the U.S. Senate and isn't running against Elizabeth Warren. He's trying to hang onto his seat in southeastern Wisconsin after consistently selling out the people who live there-- and in a district won in 2008 by Barack Obama. And this year, for the first time ever, the DCCC isn't protecting him by inserting a weak and implausible opponent. Rob Zerban understands real people and understands the pain and anguish that has spawned the 99% movement in Wisconsin and across America. He's going to give Ryan a run for Wall Street's money. After the speech Ron told us that Ryan was "unable to escape his extreme proposals and divisive language, even in today’s speech which was supposedly about bipartisanship."
"Voters realize that Paul Ryan is at the helm of one of the most failed, divisive, and disappointing Congresses in American history. His plan in the Budget Committee advanced a radical agenda that endangers programs Americans trust and support including Social Security and Medicare. He is demonstrating a failure to listen to the will of the vast majority of Wisconsinites.

"His language today reflected the same stubborn and unproductive attitude that has crippled our government. He attacked the President, saying he is a 'pyromaniac' and accusing him of 'sowing class envy and social unrest' in his attempt to create jobs and renew America’s crumbling infrastructure. Paul Ryan has labeled Social Security, a program that generations of Americans have relied upon, a felonious, Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. Ryan also repeated his opposition to Medicare as we know it by calling it a 'boondoggle.'

"In short, we saw the same old ideas for the economy and familiar partisanship that led me to run for Congress.”

The DCCC isn't actively trying to protect Ryan this year-- finally-- but so far they're spending all their money on helping anti-Choice Blue Dogs rather than progressives like Rob. He can use some help from the grassroots and you can help him right here

Does Paul Ryan have Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Paul Ryan, you know the progressives are a cancer, labor unions are like Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, and not voting for TARP would usher in Barack Obama's liberal fascism Paul Ryan, was reportedly accusing Obama of “preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment” in a bizarre speech at the Heritage Foundation.

Imagine that.

Nearly every Ryan quote posted in this Politico article was mind-blowing introspective identity transference - that is, he accused Obama of the very economic, social and political transgressions Ryan himself has perfected to a fine precision against the wage earning class for the past decade.

Politico Excerpt:
[...] said the class warfare that threatens the U.S. is “[a] class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society. And their gains do come at the expense of working Americans, against entrepreneurs, and that small businesswoman who has the gall to take on the corporate chieftain.”

Just imagine if you can, that the one congressman whose legislative record demonstrates an eager willingness to use government power to rig a system of trade, credit, capital and taxation to the advantage of connected crony capitalists, made the above statement. Had Michael Moore, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders made that statement - fine. But completely preposterous coming from Paul Ryan unless of course it was part of a confession.

Even more so, Ryan accused Obama of setting up straw men and scapegoats (have you ever been to a Ryan townhall?), and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for his jobs plan.

Intellectually lazy arguments? Have you checked out the latest Politifact editorial where they laughingly analyze a wildly hypothetical statement from Ryan? Seriously, the JS Politifact is now fact-checking his hypotheticals. Just wonderful. Ryan, who rarely makes reality-based non-fictional statements to support his ideological-based schemes to defraud trillions out from Social Security and Medicare recipients, leaves his enablers at Politifact with grudgingly little more than fabrications in their effort to prop up and defend him from statements made by those evil democrats.

Politifact gave Ryan a "half true" rating when he claimed that a 100% tax on millionaires would fund only four months of government operations. But get this, Politifact even goes so far as to bolster Ryan's misfire by stating that had he drawn his hypothetical from more current data, his point would have been stronger showing government would run for an even shorter period.

Of course nobody ever suggested taxing millionaires at 100%, so their editorial was little more than low-grade windbaggery masquerading as a fact-check analysis, but Ryan constantly draws on this kind of class-based rhetoric to, you guessed it, to set up straw men and scapegoats.

After keeping a watchful eye on our congressman for almost ten years now, I'm more convinced than ever that he either has Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personality) or he is a very cunning liar. He can't see the Paul Ryan in Congress that rigs the system against the wage earning class with his wrong-headed proposals and votes, to the one he wakes up to everyday. How can anyone make those statements without first looking in the mirror and seeing themselves? Unless of course he has no reflection.

Others Have Noticed

Crooks and Liars Ryan Blames President For trying to put out fire set by Ryan

The Paul Ryan Watch Ryan Loves Everyone, some restrictions apply.

Think Progress Ryan Wrong on Income Inequality

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rob Zerban: "The Slash And Burn Philosophy Of Paul Ryan And Conservatives Is Leading Us Off A Cliff!"

Rob Zerban, taking on Paul Ryan and the 1%

Mitt Romney has thrown his lot in with Paul Ryan's Big Business-conceived plan to end Medicare and turn back the clock on a progressive society. His own healthcare plans are a misleading, confused, jumble of contradictions that leaves his listeners nonplused, at best. So now he's just all about "What Paul Ryan says."

And you know what Paul Ryan says... end Medicare and Medicaid, end Pell Grants, and privatize Social Security so the wealthy can pay even fewer taxes. Ryan's even more dangerous than just another Ayn Rand-infatuated wonk. Wall Street isn't financing his career-- and keeping him on a path to the White House-- because they want a wonk. He's out to change the world-- and that's very bad. Both he and Romney are part of what's being called the austerity class.
The unholy alliance between the austerity class and supply-side conservatives, who talk a good game about deficits but in fact care principally about cutting taxes and government spending, has shifted the debate over the economy and the deficit far to the right since Obama took office. By promoting an age of austerity, the deficit hawks have enhanced the power of “starve the beast” conservatives like Grover Norquist, whose goal for years has been to shred the New Deal. The austerity class’s infatuation with Representative Paul Ryan is a prime example of this addled love affair.

In 2008, when Ryan introduced his radical budget road map-- which called for turning Medicare into a voucher system, privatizing Social Security and redistributing income upward by drastically cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations-- MacGuineas praised his “tremendous courage and leadership.” When Ryan reintroduced his plan in 2010, the CRFB lauded his “thoughtfulness and courage.” The CRFB failed to mention that Ryan’s plan would increase the deficit, from a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60 percent in 2010 to 175 percent by 2050. “Paul Ryan added a huge amount to the deficit,” says John Irons, policy director at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “To call that even remotely fiscally responsible was not a correct analysis. It’s almost as if they said, We don’t care what your plan does-- as long as you talk tough on deficits we’re going to support you.”

Indeed, in January the CRFB, the Concord Coalition and the Comeback America Initiative (all funded by the Peterson Foundation) gave Ryan a cherished fiscal responsibility award, despite his deficit-exploding budget, hostility to tax increases and votes in favor of the Bush administration’s deficit spending. Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, introduced Ryan by quoting Time magazine: “The irony of Ryan’s rise is that he has vaulted to popularity by embracing historically unpopular ideas.” Said Bixby, “And I thought to myself, now there is a deficit hawk…. If we limit ourselves to popular ideas, we’re never going to solve the problem.”

MacGuineas said the award honored Ryan for being the first politician to put forth a budget plan in 2011, which she called “the most fiscally responsible of any of the plans.” Technically, that’s true. Ryan’s budget, a modified version of his road map, achieves a modest $155 billion in savings over ten years by proposing what the CBPP calls “the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in US history-- two-thirds of which would come from programs for people of low or moderate incomes” (i.e., Medicaid, Pell grants, food stamps and low-income housing).

The award to Ryan illustrates just how dangerously obtuse the austerity class’s definition of fiscal responsibility is. The deficit hawks succeed by making the debate over the deficit a pure accounting game, with no acknowledgment of the adverse impact a plan like Ryan’s would have on the broader economy and on so many Americans if it became law. “If [you’re] willing to slash spending so that long-run deficits are brought under control, then it’s fiscally responsible,” Jim Horney, vice president for federal fiscal policy at CBPP, says of the Ryan plan. “But if by fiscally responsible you mean putting the budget on a sustainable path but making sure that government is able to meet the needs of the people of the United States, then I think it’s a terribly irresponsible plan.”

These are reactionary men with stultifying, dark, crippled visions, visions that will never move our country forward-- in fact, quite the contrary. Conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott could have been describing Paul Ryan crabbed little world when he defined conservatism as "to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."

And I've watched in dismay for years as the DCCC and to some extent the Wisconsin Democratic Party have protected and enabled Ryan. Obama won his congressional district but the DCCC has always made certain that he would never have a credible opponent. And he never has. This year, though, the DCCC may not help-- I doubt they will-- but they were unable to slip in the usual incompetent who would give Ryan a free ride to reelection. Rob Zerban is a Kenosha County Supervisor who is more in touch with the zeitgeist than the clueless and pampered Ryan could ever hope to be. This past weekend he spent the day at OccupyMilwaukee... talking with the folks there and tweeting his experiences. He has a progressive perspective on the place of government in society-- the polar opposite of Ryan's reactionary one. Yesterday, in an e-mail to people in the district he reminded them that "Ryan authored the destructive and heartless Republican plan to destroy Medicare and Social Security. He is wrong about what our country needs, and that is why I am running to set our nation on a new, responsible course." He went on:
I understand how the government can help Americans achieve their dreams. I grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. I ate government cheese and had free lunch in school. My single mother was able to provide for us because of the help of the American government. I was able to attend school because of grants and loans. This is the kind of help tea party conservatives want to take away from millions of Americans who need our help now more than ever.

Because America invested in me, I was able to start two small businesses and created 45 jobs. I always took care of my employees and provided them with excellent wages and benefits. From creating jobs in the private sector, I know what our economy needs and am ready to go head-to-head with the tea party to show America a better economic vision.

Our nation needs a new direction. The slash and burn philosophy of Paul Ryan and conservatives is leading us off a cliff!

I can do a better job.

Blue America thinks he can do a better job too-- which is why we're urging progressives to step up and do what the DCCC will never do: Stop Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan tells College student with crushing loan to get 3 he did?

Rep. Paul Ryan has resorted to just making things up now. With no regard for facts or actual dollar amounts, he's getting lazy, BS'sing his way through town hall sessions like a street vendor selling knock off watches. 

Think Progress came up with this gem, where Ryan tells a college student to get three jobs if he's having a hard time paying for his student loans. In fact, Ryan would do away with the grant altogether and simply dump people into private banks (another gift to bankers).

In an economy with lower wages, benefits, high tuition's, crushing college loans, and fewer and fewer jobs, Ryan's 3 jobs advice is cruel.

LOWE: I come from a very middle-class family and under President Obama, I get $5,500 per year to pay for school, which doesn’t come close to covering all of the funding, but it helps ease the burden. Under your plan, you cut it by 15 percent. I was just curious why you would cut a grant that goes directly to the middle- and lower-class people that need it the most.
RYAN: ‘Cause Pell Grants have become unsustainable. It’s all borrowed money…Look, I worked three jobs to pay off my student loans after college. I didn’t get grants, I got loans, and we need to have a system of viable student loans to be able to do this.
The second concern I have is, in the health care bill — people don’t know this — for budgetary gimmickry reasons, the administration and Congress at the time, took over the student loan industry. So they had the federal government, the Department of Education, basically confiscate the private student loan industry.

Ryan leaves out how much money the government saves not paying banks for processing government backed Pell grants.

Ryan worked 3 jobs to pay for his student loans? That’s doesn’t mesh with this interesting part of Ryan’s bio:
Ryan's father died when Paul was only 16. Using the Social Security survivors benefits he received until his 18th birthday, he paid for his education at Miami University in Ohio, where he completed a bachelor's degree in economics and political science in 1992.

Let’s see the proof of these jobs, Paul. How much was the loan? In reality, Ryan never had to look too far for work or worry about being unemployed:
Ryan worked as a marketing consultant for his family's construction business before being elected to Congress. Ryan Incorporated Central began as an earthmoving business created by his great-grandfather in 1884. 

Booting Wall Street Ryan Should be Job One

Why Paul Ryan? You have to ask?

For one, Ryan's hometown of Janesville is typical of the capital exhausted industrial communities in the 1st congressional district of Wisconsin that have had their wealth and potential legislated out from their pursuit of prosperity over the past 30 years.

Last year, local business, labor, education, governmental and health care leaders gathered together and scheduled a once in a lifetime presentation about what they need for economic recovery from the federal government. They proposed a list of eight items totaling $40 million and turned it over to the White House counsel of community recovery, Dr. Ed Montgomery. Rep. Paul Ryan was not present at this event. Instead, he was elsewhere promoting his hyper-partisan GOP recruitment booklet "Young Guns." Yet at Townhalls, he begins his presentation by claiming he's the area's "federal guy," and those are issues he wishes to discuss. I bring this episode up primarily as an example of Ryan's concern and response to the economic suffering and injustice occurring on the Main Streets of his district. Apparently, he's got other priorities.

If you consider Ryan's overall congressional voting record against the working poor and the middle class, his misguided personal ideology based on the fictional writings of anti-American Ayn Rand, his harsh polluting hyper-partisanship, his sycophancy for old money and his ideologically calculated proposals that would turn Social Security and Medicare over to Big Insurance and the capital markets on Wall Street - Paul Ryan is easily the Number One Wall Street Congressman.

Now it is true that Democrats and Republicans have both taken campaign donations from Wall Street just like they have from labor unions, but how many congressional's political philosophy and even further, their entire reason for congressional existence is built on the wealth expansion of the private Wall Street merchants (the few) at the expense of everything public (the many)? Two or three perhaps. But make no mistake, Paul Ryan is at the top. He is it! Pat Toomey might be a distant second. Timothy Geithner is up there too but he's not an elected congressman.

Ryan also voted for TARP. But he did so against the 100 to 1 wishes of his district constituency and instead voted with the 1%. People wanted a market based solution, not a government solution to the crisis. He not only voted for it, but he was one of the GOP's top point men pushing for its passage on the Hill.

Ryan is also the guy who rubber stamped party-line annual deficits totaling almost $6 trillion during the Bush error and who boldly, almost mockingly so, defies everyone in his district except the top 5%. Yet, he wins re-election again and again. By comparison, Russ Feingold not only voted against TARP, he voted to end it twice afterwards and authored the Control Spending Now Act, which would have taken unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and use them to pay down the debt. Hello Tea Party? Feingold, far more fiscally responsible than Ryan can ever dream to be and courageous enough to cast principled Constitutional votes that frequently rankled Wall Street and his own party, lost to a corporate driven empty suit by the name of Ron Johnson. It doesn't defy logic because once an elected official takes a balanced legislative approach in dealing with the rigged Wall Street status quo - they're finished politically. Alan Grayson was another one. Toast. Wall Street and their corporate media enablers crushed Feingold and Grayson with the help of the Tea Party, of all people. Ryan in the meantime appears to freewheel on by.

So Ryan voted for and promoted the Big Bank bailouts. Some might argue that TARP was justified. Perhaps so, but only providing that the same level of economic justice was distributed across Main Street America. It wasn't. In addition, not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying over twenty percent of our personal net worth, so there was a gaping absence of social justice as well, and those are just two of the many reasons why we have ongoing protests today. Again, Paul Ryan seems to get a pass on this.

After Ryan completed his now infamously known ideological manifesto "Roadmap for America's Future," he submitted it first to the barons on Wall Street for their approval before presenting it his constituents. Now, I can understand some might not read too much into that, but his "Roadmap" deals with our most important personal health and national economic stability programs - Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. These three cornerstones of American Exceptionalism belong to the American people - not the profit-takers on Wall Street to decide their fate over. But Ryan belongs to Wall Street. In my view, Ryan submitting his Roadmap proposal to Wall Street for approval before to his constituents was extremely symbolic of where his loyalty is placed.

In fact, Ryan belongs to Wall Street so much that when the U.S. Government was teetering on default due to the crisis fabricated by Republicans, he went again straight to his masters on Wall Street for advice and consent. He, along with Eric Cantor, issued a report that Wall Street would be just fine with the US flirting with default for a few days. Never mind the wishes of the American people.

But his ideologically-driven budget manifestos take the cake. I can't think of any other congressman out of the House or the Senate that has proposed to legislate more theft of private capital under the conveyance and auspice of the U.S. Government to the merchants on Wall Street than Paul Ryan. No one. So, this is where the Occupy Wall Street/99 Percent movement should come into play. Crack pot ideas designed to sell out America should be exposed and their authors should be called out and banished, not applauded. Time is of the essence.

Related Reading:

Let's Put Paul Ryan Back Into The Wisconsin Backwoods Where He Belongs

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If Paul Ryan takes Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Seriously, should we keep taking Paul Ryan Seriously?

The Chief, an Oshkosh blogger who deserves a wider readership, asks:

If Paul Ryan takes Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Seriously, should we keep taking Paul Ryan Seriously?

It's entirely possibly that there has never been a more ridiculed and completely dismissed domestic policy proposal than Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Tax Plan. Democrats hate it. Conservatives hate it. Even Grover Norquist hates it. Bruce Bartlett says of the plan:

At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.

Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
Even conservatives are quick to point out that the plan increases the tax burden on the middle class:
But now that every ones living up to take a whack at Cain's policy pinata, who should come to the rescue but ... Paul Ryan?

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan says he “loves” presidential candidate Herman Cain’s signature “9-9-9″ tax plan.

Much more here and well worth a read.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ryan has voted against the environment 100+ times this year

During this session of Congress, Republicans have cast 115 votes against environmental protection. Paul Ryan voted against the environment on 113 of those votes.

Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled a new, searchable database of anti-environment votes by the 112th Congress.

  "This is the most anti-environment House in history," said Rep. Waxman.

 Here's the database.

Hat tip: Ryanwatch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ryan Commits Class Warfare and Division by Blaming Obama of Class Warfare and Division.

Paul Ryan likes to divide us by bringing up and blaming others for class warfare and division! But its really the old game of, "I know you are but what am I."

Paul Ryan is a master of this game. His use of talking point cliches, like a Klingon cloaking device, hides many of his plans major flaws. The formula Ryan uses looks something like this:
Ryan: "(wonky sounding numbers), cliche, (wonky sounding numbers), cliche.
Studying Ryan's Reactions: Looking past the condescending leadership style of Paul Ryan, you'll see him falter a little with Meet the Press' David Gregory, and then spew his formulaic answer. He makes the false claim Obama's stimulus failed, deflecting attention away from his own daja vu policies that ended up crashing the global economy.
Gregory: "Aren't you vulnerable to the charge Republicans are only looking out for the rich, isn't that divisive?"

Ryan: "(gulp) Well, people make the charge, what I would simply say is...(scrambling for something) I don't worry about people who are already rich, I'm worried about getting people to become successful...when you keep raising all these tax rates, all these regulatory barriers on successful small businesses, how are we going to get the jobs of tomorrow?"
So which is it Paul, you don't worry about the rich, but you do worry about barriers for the successful rich? Doh!

The Baseline Lie: Ryan's whole economic plan depends on believing small business will be devastated by Obama's tax on the wealthy, but:
IRS statistics indicate that only 3 percent of small businesses would be subject to the higher tax, and many studies of previous tax increases suggest that it would have minimal impact on hiring.
Just as bad, a recent book about entrepreneurship disputes the idea individuals worry about rules and regulations that might hinder their ability to thrive:
NYT: According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, 97 percent of all businesses owners do not earn enough to be subject to the higher rates. Even among the 750,000 businesses that would be subjected to the higher rates in 2011, many are sole proprietors — a classification so amorphous it can include everyone from corporate executives who earn income on rental property to entertainers, hedge fund managers and investment bankers.
Is it any surprise he's protecting the wealthy who don’t have employees to begin with. That's “job creation.” Ryan’s plan will actually make everything much worse because it blocks "job creation:"
But much of the research over the last two decades has found that increases in top tax rates can lead to an increase in the formation of small businesses, as wealthy individuals apparently begin start-ups to avail themselves of the more generous tax breaks offered to businesses, according to a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which surveyed more than 20 studies on the effects of taxes on hiring.
It's obvious that Ryan is no genius, just a sincere looking hustler breathlessly trying save face. He’s lashed out and made panicky statements in the past, and he will again, like in the video here. And the GOP, without Ryan’s wonkish credibility, makes them completely irrelevant.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paul Ryan says Tax Cuts Appear to be disappointing because "growth occurs on the margin." Beyond human sight?

This guy cannot be taken seriously ever again. Rep. Paul Ryan can't answer the tough questions without injecting ideological theory and fabricated economic outcomes that could only happen in Bizarro World (as seen in Superman comics, where everything means just the opposite). 

For ten years the highly touted Bush tax policies have been in place, deregulation has not been reigned in, yet jobs aren't being created and the economy has stalled. So we should make it worse, according to Ryan, by continuing these failed policies?
The Atlantic: Rep. Paul Ryan blasted the Democrats' plan to raise taxes on millionaires … In (an) interview at the Washington Ideas Forum with David Leonhardt of the New York Times, Leonhardt questioned the idea that lowering taxes was a panacea for growth. Taxes increases didn't prevent growth in the 1990s, he said, and tax cuts produced disappointing growth in the 2000s.
In his weakest come-back to date;
Ryan responded that "growth occurs on the margin" and when you raise taxes on work, savings, and investment, you get less work, less savings, and less investment -- and less growth.
On the margin? Does he mean out of sight for the common man, or beyond human understanding?

And finally, let’s put a stake through the heart of the “say it enough and it’s true” BS that taxing work, savings and investments discourages anything…at all. It’s a Paul Ryan lie, used to market voodoo economic snake oil. What is it with the press too?

Leonhardt started with common sense math, and never followed up with a question about the mythical “penalizing success” hokum. Caught in a place called "reality," Ryan actually blamed other factors for the roaring 90’s, factors brought about by Clinton’s tax increase. Doh!
In the 1990s, Ryan added, other factors such as stable interest rates and a productivity boom helped to compensate for higher tax rates on income and capital.
Has it ever been more obvious that Ryan is now just spinning his psycho babble wheels?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ryan wants to send seniors back to the poor farm

Dave Zweifel in the Capital Times:
When Social Security was enacted as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms in 1935, about half of U.S. senior citizens lived in poverty. Many had to live out their lives in shameful places that people at the time called the “poor farm.” It was forever a family’s shame when during the Depression, grandma and grandpa had to go off to live in one of the county’s makeshift homes for the elderly because they couldn’t afford their own places and their children couldn’t afford to help them.

Today, fewer than 10 percent of America’s elderly live in poverty. More than 53 million Americans receive Social Security benefits to at least cover the basics of life. And as Bernie Sanders said, in the more than 75 years since, the program has never failed to pay out every nickel it owed.

Now Ryan and his compatriots want to mess with that success story. They want to begin the privatization of Social Security by turning over part of the funds that America’s working people pay into the program to Wall Street investors — yes, the same investors who have such a great track record, like blowing up the economy and requiring federal bailouts to save them.

Read more: here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two-Faced Ryan Still Scamming With Old Tricks

Ryan’s newest scam involves eliminating tax breaks for employees who are enrolled in their employer’s group health care plans and give workers the tax credit to buy health insurance on an individual basis.

In my humble opinion, this really is nothing new from the two-faced congressman. Embedded in his "Roadmap for America's Future" were provisions offering employees a "choice" to eat a baited T-bone by giving them a tax credit to buy health insurance on an individual basis. This credit would be paid for in part by shifting healthcare tax breaks away from the employer to the worker. Of course this would likely encourage most companies to drop their employer-sponsored group plans. This self-cannibalizing slow-death baiting of American workers is a popular gimmick from Ryan's bag of old sucker tricks. What is new however, is that he's now trying to pawn it off as a replacement for Obama's health care reform package.

PoliticusUSA Excerpt:
According to Ryan, his plan will give consumers the needed incentive to demand more value from their healthcare. He said, “Giving patients and consumers control over health care resources would make all Americans less dependent on big business and big government for our health security; give us more control over the care we get; and force health care providers to compete for our business.”

Okay, we know that Ryan wants to end our employer sponsored healthcare. But what about his own employer sponsored health care from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? Although he boasts that his proposals offer insurance plans to individuals the very same standard health benefits Members of Congress enjoy, he doesn't address how Congress and Federal employees would fit under his individual privatization mandate or have the incentive to opt-out.

But to use Ryan's own words then, IF giving consumers Congress and Federal employees individual control over health care resources would make all of them less dependent on big government for their health security and give them more control over the care they get; and give them more incentive to demand more value from their health care - why hasn't Paul Ryan lead the way and opted out of his employer's group health plan?

Nothing was more telling than when Democrats proposed a simple House resolution requiring members of Congress to publicly disclose whether they will continue to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The entire Wisconsin Republican House delegation including Ryan voted "NO." Mind you, that wasn't a vote to opt-out of the Federal Employee Program, it was merely a request to publicly disclose their current status.

With that minor disclosure they couldn't even muster the courage to stand with their own convictions.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Ryan's Medicare plan poses real problem for Wisconsin GOP Senate candidates

Paul Ryan opted out of running for Herb Kohl's Senate seat next year. But he left a little something behind. His Medicare plan -- to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a type of voucher plan that would cost seniors more -- is very much going to be a part of the 2012 Senate race in Wisconsin.

The problem for GOP candidates, who are fighting in the primary to win the party's conservative base, is that while Republican voters tend to like Ryan's plan, most other voters don't. It will take some careful positioning to finesse the problem Ryan has created for them.

Craig Gilbert .in the Journal Sentinel:
Here’s a brief look at what two Republican Senate hopefuls – declared candidate Mark Neumann and all-but-official candidate Tommy Thompson – are saying on this subject at the very outset of the race.  
Medicare is “driving us into bankruptcy,” Thompson said in a recent interview with the Journal Sentinel. The former governor and health secretary says “Paul Ryan is on the right track,” but stops short of fully endorsing the Ryan plan, which would end the guaranteed Medicare benefit for future beneficiaries (people now under 55) and replace it with a lump sum payment to help them buy private insurance. Thompson hasn’t put out his own Medicare plan yet (he’s not a declared candidate). 
But he says he would so some things differently than Ryan. He says people now under 55 should be given a choice when they reach eligibility. They could choose private insurance with a government subsidy (as Ryan is proposing). Or they could remain in the current Medicare system, but with higher-out-of-pocket costs than seniors pay now because the system “is going broke.”
He calls his approach “Ryan Plan Plus.”  
“Medicare is going broke, which will result in dramatically higher out-of-pocket costs for services. People will choose the private insurance option. A market-based solution like this will win out over government-run health care, which I’ve always opposed,” he said. That sounds like Thompson is endorsing Ryan’s shift to a much more privatized Medicare system for future retirees, without formally ending traditional Medicare.  
Neumann, businessman and former congressman, said he’ll produce a broad fiscal plan that addresses Medicare later in the campaign. Like Thompson, he says he’s supportive of Ryan but will offer his own set of policies. “We will be using parts of Paul’s plan … including on Medicare, but it may be different in some respects,” said Neumann.  
Though Neumann is running full-bore against government spending and deficits, he comes across as more guarded on the subject of Medicare than Thompson does. He emphasizes the need to look at other entitlements besides Medicare and Social Security, such as Medicaid. He says he agrees with Ryan’s argument that current Medicare policies are fiscally unsustainable in future decades. But Neumann says his campaign will focus more on the immediate and near-term budget crisis, because if that isn’t solved, “our long-term problem problems don’t make any difference.” 
We’ll have to wait for his plan, but he did little in the interview to signal that big Medicare changes will be a prominent feature of his campaign.
Of course, Neumann doesn't need to prove his conservative bona fides. It's former governor Tommy T who's getting flak about being too liberal for 21st Century Republicanism.

Maybe to prove himself Tommy will come out to the right of Neumann on Medicare and Social Security. But that could kill him in November.

This little dance could be fun for Democrats to watch.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ryan's New Plan To Scam Millions Of Americans Out Of Their Healthcare

Politicus USA:

Ryan’s newest scam involves eliminating tax breaks for employees who are enrolled in their employer’s group healthcare plans, and instead give a tax credit to buy health insurance on an individual basis. According to Ryan, his plan will give consumers the needed incentive to demand more value from their healthcare. He said,
Giving patients and consumers control over health care resources would make all Americans less dependent on big business and big government for our health security; give us more control over the care we get; and force health care providers to compete for our business.
Ryan’s statement sounds suspiciously like his Medicare privatization scam, and if it reaches fruition, will result in 170 million Americans facing the same consequences as the elderly who will end up paying higher costs for less coverage.

If the plan is adopted, it could encourage employees to drop employer health plans and move to individual plans that are prohibitively expensive for less coverage. One of the benefits of group plans are that a larger pool of policy holders results in lower premiums and more coverage. Ryan claims insurance companies would be “forced” into providing better coverage for less money, but a report on Tuesday showed health insurance costs are climbing for companies and their employees, and family premiums are increasing at a pace triple that of last year. Mr. Ryan either does not understand how insurance works or he knows and does not care that individual policies are much higher-priced than group plans.

There is no reasonable explanation for why Ryan thinks that an individual plan is less costly than a group plan, or that individual consumers will be better equipped to force the insurance industry to give more value for policyholder’s dollars. If Americans know one thing about the insurance industry, it is that they are never going to be influenced by consumer complaints or demands for better value...

Paul Ryan’s plan will most likely fail because Americans are getting wise to the Republicans’ tactics of rewarding corporations and the insurance industry at the expense of every class except the wealthy. His plan would affect 170 million Americans who get their health insurance from their employers’ group plans whether in the private or public sector. The beneficiaries of Ryan’s largesse are big business who will eliminate health insurance benefits and the insurance industry that will get to charge whatever they please. Although Ryan will most likely embark on a propaganda campaign to tout his plan’s benefits, most Americans understand that their bargaining power will be diminished if they are forced to buy insurance on their own.

Read it all here.

Elsewhere, Democurmudgeon says: With Ryan we're closer than ever to health care bankruptcy-- all of us.