Friday, April 26, 2013

Paul Ryan Goes To Battle For Big Business Again-- This Time Over Immigration

It wasn't a very Tea Party thing for Paul Ryan to do to vote to bail out the Wall Street banksters. In fact, it was even less teabagger-friendly when Ryan joined with Boehner and Cantor between September 29, 2008 and October 3. It was less than a week, but it's the real story of Paul Ryan that Tea Party activists would rather not face.

The long, catastrophic Bush Regime was finally coming to an end and the GOP kleptocrats were winding up their last months in office. They wanted to deliver one more grand giveaway to Wall Street: Henry Paulsen's bankster bailout. One problem: enough Republicans (133 of 'em) joined with Democrats to defeat it 205-228 when it was first brought up for a vote on September 29. Wall Street's best-paid shills, Boehner, Cantor and Ryan, mobilized for battle. At the time Ryan, a relatively junior Member, had already taken $1,704,095 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street (a number that has since then risen to $3,207,247, the most any Wisconsin politicians has ever gotten from Wall Street in history). After the defeat in the House, Wall Street and the banksters went bonkers and pulled all Bush's strings and he and Paulsen easily got the monstrosity passed in the House of Lords and then went back to the House with a no less odious version of the bill that they had rejected a few days before. This time it passed 263-171 with not 65, but 91 Republicans joining in. Among the vote switchers who had had their arms twisted by Boehner, Cantor and Ryan plus the official registered Wall Street lobbyists, not many are still in the House, although all these big bankster bribery recipients are:
Charlie Dent (R-PA- $1,186,979)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA- $2,607,380)
Gary Miller (R-CA- $1,453,324)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL- $1,360,707)
Lee Terry (R-NE- $1,813,883)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH- $4,100,845)
We all, already know that Wall Street rewards its shill handsomely. This post isn't about that. It's about how Paul Ryan never hesitates to sell out the far right base that idolizes him and sticks its collective head in the sand when presented with the evidence that he's nothing-- and has never been anything-- but a shill for Big Business. That's right-- just a garden variety old timey Republican hack, only younger and not as ugly... on the outside. His latest foray on behalf of his Establishment overlords-- to the dismay of the right-wing base-- is how he's embraced immigration reform, which is popular nationally, hated by the Know Nothing and racists who dominate the Tea Party/GOP activist army... and an absolute must for the big money donors who want the cheap labor.
Call it a marriage of convenience. In the battle to win over the majority of the Republican Party on immigration reform an alliance has been formed between two of the GOP's rising stars. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has endeavored to assist Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in his push to convince the Republican Party to go along with the immigration reform plan proposed by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" group of senators.

Both Rubio and Ryan are widely seen as potential frontrunners for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Although helping the other will boost their profile in the minds of voters, the risks of sitting on the sidelines during this debate are too great to not take action.

Rubio was a member of the Gang of Eight and this immigration reform effort is widely seen as his first major legislative opportunity to build up a profile in the minds of voters toward 2016. After the release of the plan, Rubio has essentially went all in on efforts to convince fellow Republicans to support it, appearing in ads that tout the plans conservative values, especially border security and no social assistance to undocumented immigrants who go through the 13 year process to become legal. Rubio has essentially tied up much of his political capital in this bill and a defeat would be catastrophic for any future higher office ambitions.

But Rubio has faced backlash from fellow Republican legislators, conservative media pundit, and activists over the plan that emerged last week. From being attempted to be linked to the false "ObamaPhone" meme with "MarcoPhones" to dealing with members of his own party making statements that hurt his cause, such as Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) saying that Al Qaeda terrorists, "are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic," Rubio has quite a bit of work ahead of him in convincing his fellow republicans to follow his lead on immigration reform.

Ryan is providing support on the fiscal front. Ryan has acquired a status among the Republican Party as a budget wonk so his involvement will be crucial for a House version of the Senate immigration reform bill to pass. His position on Capitol Hill allows him to vouch for the price tag and economic effects of the bill, providing much needed cover for nervous Republicans who would like his stamp of approval for the vote for the bill.

Ryan has already started taking heat for his position on immigration. Conservative radio host Mark Levin blasted Ryan on his program, saying, "he's creating a record here for himself that makes it very, very hard, in my view, if he chooses to run for president, to vote for him."
Listen to a radical right-wing nutjob Mark Levin, a virulent racist on whom it's beginning to dawn that Ryan is no friend of the right-wing base:

Ryan works, first and foremost, for Big Business. They invented him. They dragged him out of obscurity (or a gym), cleaned him up, taught him how to speak politically, taught him how to convince dumb DC pundits that he knows something about economics, got Boehner to make him Budget Chair and Romney to give him the VP nomination... and they're still investing in making him a governor or senator or president or something where he can further their agenda.

And there is nothing higher on the Big Business agenda, prioritized more highly than low taxes on the rich and low wages for the poor. Low wages for the poor means lots of immigrants. That's always been the irony of the GOP base opposing immigration and the GOP Establishment always trying to move it along. Bush certainly did and today Boehner, Rubio and Ryan are. Obviously, they want to do as much damage as they can to any bill that advocates anything smacking of humanitarian values-- like keeping families together and access to public services-- but the corporations who finance their cushy careers want cheap labor and they expect this guys to deliver-- regardless of what loudmouthed bigots like Mark Levin have to say.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The End of Paul Ryan, Economic Policy Wonk!

I heard The Nation's John Nichols on Sly's afternoon radio show on 93.7 FM yesterday extolling a new study that completely destroys Paul Ryan's argument that because of our troublesome debt to GDP ratio, the country could fall at any time. Fear mongering much?

Nichols thought it was a shame this important story came out at a time when so many huge stories were breaking, because this essentially reverses and changes the nations economic equation. After contributing $15 to save The Nation, I purged the guilt I would normally feel posting so much of Nichols article. You can always read the whole article with the link above:
Paul Ryan’s numbers are wrong. Really wrong. As in: his most urgent argument on behalf of painful cuts to federal programs and the denial of new funding for job creation, education, healthcare and infrastructure repair is based on a coding error.

The paper the House Budget Committee chairman has used as the intellectual and statistical underpinning for his austerity agenda has been significantly discredited by the revelation that essential data was excluded from the study, leading "to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and growth."

The Harvard professors who produced the paper—which Ryan cited as recently as last month—haveacknowledged their mathematical error.

Now, the question is whether Ryan and conservative proponents of austerity will acknowledge that they have built their arguments on a false premise. Ryan positioned himself as an economic "Paul Revere," warning that public debt was stalling out the US economy. This notion was always questioned by savvy economists, such as Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Dean Baker. But Ryan went all in … preaching an economic gospel based on his absolute certainty that when a country’s debt level tops 90 percent of its gross domestic product, it’s economy will decline and crisis will ensue … how the US economy was heading toward a apocalyptic "tipping point." Ryan has argued that any “pain” suffered by working Americans—in the form of restructurings of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, post office closures and cuts to state and local aid—was necessary in order to avoid an economic meltdown.

But the 90 percent threshold is a false precipice based on a false premise. In a new paper, "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff," Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst successfully replicate the results … they reached out to Reinhart and Rogoff … to see how Reinhart and Rogoff's data was constructed … First, Reinhart and Rogoff selectively exclude years of high debt and average growth. Second, they use a debatable method to weight the countries. Third, there also appears to be a coding error that excludes high-debt and average-growth countries.

When they included all the data from all the years and all the countries, the average growth rate of nations with a 90 per cent debt load does not decline by 0.1 percent … Rather, the growth rate is a positive 2.2 per cent. Reinhart acknowledged to the CBC News business reporting team that “Herndon, Ash and Pollin have written a useful paper, finding a significant mistake in one of our figures.”

Ryan must either alter course or confirm the darkest assessments from his critics: that he cribs data from academics not with an eye for accuracy but with a determination to advance his austerity agenda at any cost.