Ryan: I Yam What I Yam

The GOP doesn’t even bother to pretend any more. The party is waging a class war in which the rich and connected are taking unremitting aim at the struggling, powerless and unconnected: children, the disabled and the working poor.

Excuse my language, but the only thing “trickling down” is piss.

On December 6th, The Hill reported on Paul Ryan’s next despicable but not unexpected goal:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday said House Republicans will aim to cut spending on Medicare, Medicaid and welfare programs next year as a way to trim the federal deficit.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an interview on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show.

Health-care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid “are the big drivers of debt,” Ryan said, “so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements, because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

No, Mr. Ryan, the “problem” lies with snakes like you.

The ink isn’t even dry on the mammoth tax gift that Congressional Republicans have just jerry-rigged–a bill with one and only one goal: to reward their donors and patrons, and make rich people richer. To be fair, sticking it to the poor wasn’t a goal–it was just an outcome they were perfectly willing to accept. (That isn’t true of the provision that will cost 13 million Americans their health insurance coverage–that was deliberate. I remain amazed by the GOP’s intense hostility to the notion that poor people might get access to medical care. The possibility clearly offends them.)

Ryan is confident that he has gotten the President on board.

“I think the president is understanding choice and competition works everywhere, especially in Medicare,” Ryan said.

Leaving aside the fact that we have a “President” for whom the word “understanding” is never accurate, any economist can explain–to both Ryan and the President–why “choice and competition” do not work for Medicare, or Medicaid, or almost anywhere in health care. Hell–any halfway competent high school student who has taken elementary economics can explain it.

For reasons that escape me, Paul Ryan set his sights on entitlement programs from his first days in Congress. The mental midgets who form a majority of his GOP colleagues have been only too happy to parrot his insistence that Social Security and Medicare are the real impediments to Nirvana–not the greed of their corporate masters or their disdain for facts and evidence. They don’t just ignore the experience of all other Western democratic countries–they ignore American history, and more recent “experiments” like the recent disaster in Kansas.

Ryan also mentioned that he wants to work on changing the welfare system, and Republicans have in the past expressed a desire to add work requirements to programs such as food stamps.

Speaking on the Senate floor while debating the tax bill last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he had a “rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.”

His comments were echoed by Ryan.

“We have a welfare system that’s trapping people in poverty and effectively paying people not to work,” Ryan said Wednesday. “We’ve got to work on that.”

These are the statements of delusional people–inhabitants of fact-free (not to mention compassion-free) bubbles. Most people on food stamps already work, and those who don’t, can’t. The only people we are spending “billions and billions” on who won’t help themselves (unless hiring expensive lobbyists qualifies as self-help) are the recipients of the enormous subsidies and tax giveaways to corporate bigwigs who are unwilling to compete on a level playing field in that market they piously extol.

American government is infested with a (barely) human variety of cockroach: blabberus giganteus Ryan.


  1. Sandy, You needn’t wonder whether they know the meaning of the word “empathy”. That word is the first word Republicans are taught to self-censor. Replacing the idea of empathy is the Ayn Rand view that it is every man, woman and child for themselves. Greed and selfishness are seen as good traits and the only way to achieve wealth. Wealth accumulation being the only reason to live.

  2. Well said Sheila. I will only add that Satan has taken control of our country and he has stealthily placed his army of leaders in the highest places of power in our government.

  3. Thank you Sheila, both for your piece which is truly fabulous and for also doing it without using anything close to the Navy/Marine Corps vocabulary that I learned as a teenager in the Navy serving at MCAS Quantico involved in flying Richard Nixon and Jerry Ford in Marine One. That poetic, and it really is, vocabulary always comes to mind and also my vocal cords and mouth anytime I hear, see, or read anything in regard to Lyin’ Ryan.

    Your first paragraph nails what he and his ilk are doing to all of us completely. I applaud you, as I always do anyway, for spelling it all out as exactly what it is. How much are we, as a people, going to take before we blow our stacks over this overt larceny and throw him and all these other bums out? He and they are ripping the social fabric of this country to shreds and want to do even more based on their delusional, and in his particular case Ayn Rand-based nihilistic, thinking.

    We can’t just sit back and let this happen because if we do we deserve the fate that threatens to befall us.

  4. “Health-care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid “are the big drivers of debt,” Ryan said, “so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements, because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

    To respond to this statement I must disagree with the initial part of Ryan’s statement but agree with the end statement. I have been in the position of receiving Social Security Disability since 1994, but did not qualify for Medicare till being on SSD for two years, leaving me diagnosed by the “system” as being disabled but with no medical care…makes no sense but that is the way the system “works”. For approximately the past 18 years I have seen primary physicians become more and more removed from “practicing medicine” to become information and referral sources. Referrals to expensive testing done by more expensive physician specialists; too often unnecessary. I can speak to that form of “medical care” from personal experience; as a three-day hospital in-patient ordered by the ER doctor, undergoing over $8,000 in tests for heart disease with a diagnosis of viral flu and severe dehydration. After three days of the chief of cardiology reading my “normal” test results, he stepped in and discharged me. Then the $22,000 in testing for a sore toe resulting in ER (ordered by my primary care physician) for treatment consisting of Bacitracin and a band aid with referral to podiatrist. I now ignore health problems to prevent further such referrals. It is the entire medical care system and Big Pharma and their escalating costs that is the problem; but it is “where the money is to be made” so Republicans have climbed aboard that “money train”. Why do you think they have tunnel-vision determination to DESTROY the ACA, rather than change the problems within that system, which have been known since before the bill was enacted, is their only goal regarding health care? Ryan and McConnell are simply the lead cheerleaders in the health care destruction game they are playing.

    Thinking of science-based studies regarding evolution, which long ago proved that cockroaches have been with us for millions of years, seemingly indestructible. Counting Ryan among them is a frightening thought.

    John McCain heroically stepped forward to vote against the Republican “health care” bill but climbed on board the “money train” to vote for the tax reform/cut bill which contains removal of sections of the ACA. He is dying of brain cancer so his dying legacy moved back to Republican party affiliation as his one and only goal in life – what little is left of it for him. It also protects the fortune he leaves to his family from being taxed and his medical bills will be paid. My oldest son, like Beau Biden, died the horrible death that comes with brain cancer; it still stuns me that McCain knows the disease intimately, the treatments and the high cost of this disease but still votes to support the party against Americans with the full support of Ryan and McConnell.

  5. I think you should re-name this piece: “The Radicalization of Sheila Kennedy”.

    Welcome to the side of good and ontinue the fight against neoliberalism everywhere you find it, including the party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

  6. Let’s talk about Orrin Hatch, critic of those reprehensible citizens who won’t work, who only want government handouts. A GOP Rep explained yesterday “business owners create jobs.” Senator Hatch, after earning his JD worked as a attorney in Pittsburgh, then Salt Lake City. In 1976, at age 32, he defeated a 3 term incumbent, criticizing him for being out of touch. He recommended term limits. In 2012 the good Senator won his seventh term. 50 of his 84 years he has received a government salary! Free health care. Huuuge pension, unless he dies in office. He has created no jobs. Trump was preferred by many voters because he is a business man. Now he is criticized by some for knowing nothing of government procedure. Hatch is an expert in government procedure. We are governed by ideology and incompetence.

  7. Well the poor and stupid should just get on with dying and decrease the surplus populations. ME thinks that the GOP reads Dickens from the wrong side of the moral street.

  8. Somehow, it’s stupidity, I suspect that the ”fact-free” cannot understand how the national debt grows from the trillions of dollars being spent on unwinnable wars. Just the usual pissing away of the national resource on defense spending could make life better for everyone.

  9. Freeing the poor from the shackles of health care and food stamps will certainly affect their lives. They will die, and no longer be an impediment to Congress shuffling money to their money-laden benefactors.

  10. The eminent cognitive brain scientist, George Lakoff, in his book “The Political Mind,” explains the difference between the brain sets of Democrats and Republicans. Republicans operate from the “strict father” model and Democrats operate from the “nurturant parent model.” Time and space do not allow elaboration of these models but suffice it to be said in general terms that Democrats are more empathetic and caring for their fellow citizens and favor policies that flesh out their understanding of the relationship between government and citizens while Republicans favor discipline, punishment and obedience, are advocates of “individual responsibility,” laissez faire free market mythology and the use of force in foreign policy. Rather than write a book about his book, I recommend that anyone reading this read this book which from the standpoint of cognitive brain science explains the Ryans and tea partiers of this world.

  11. A smart money manager, recognizing the economy is healthy, would raise taxes on corporations which have never been in a better position to pay them and use the money to shore up infrastructure, education and health care. The administration and most of congress admire business and extoll solid business practices, but never enact any of the principles in managing our tax money. And they keep getting elected.

  12. Here’s a new republican I met, Ryan Rand.

    Interesting name. Claimed to be a relative of Ayn, carried a severely worn Atlas Shrugged in his valise. He was prone to thumping that book with his fore-finger, and sometimes his fist, when telling me how it should be. He seemed to know his statistics, but to me he seemed to draw some strange conclusions. Here’s some of his gems:

    Over 8,000,000 of the American family are retarded to the point that the rest of the family is left to take care of them. Simple: put them to work. There are 38 thousand truck-driving jobs open right now. Simple. Done. Move on.

    Over 5,000,000 of the family have debilitating brain injuries. Put them to work. There are 100 thousand openings for secretaries.

    Five-and-a-half million are paralyzed. Put them to work. There are thousands of openings in the gaming industry, dealers and such, fun jobs.

    And 2,000,000 are amputees. Put them to work. There are 4 thousand openings in warehousing. See, its a numbers game. All you have to do is match openings to slackers.

    Over 7 million of the American family are blind. Before they get a cent of aid, put them to work. America has roads to build, pick-axes are cheap. And there are already, right now, 3.5 thousand openings in construction.

    Another 1 million are deaf. Put them to work. There’s a shortage of manufacturing workers, 388 thousand last month.

    Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe neurological brain disorder that disables 1.1 percent of the population or approximately 3.4 million adults in the American family. Put them to work. There’s 23 thousand mining jobs open.

    At any given time, there are 2.5 million of the family in prison. Put them to work. There’s 2.3 thousand education positions open. I don’t see what’s so hard about this.

    And there are another almost 1,000,000 people on parole. Instead of paying all their expenses, put them to work. There’s almost 5 thousand openings in finance and insurance.

    There are about 50 million American senior retired family members over 65, and 9 million of those are over 80 years old. Put them to work. There’s 1.5 thousand openings in the logging industry. Open air. Exercise. Vistas. Nature. It’s a natural fit, so to speak.

    And on it went. I suppose I’ll hear more tomorrow. It would be entertaining if it weren’t so…well, put it this way: There are about 35 MILLION slacker brains out there in America; wake them up and put them to work.

  13. The media and friends of the media seem to take great pleasure in revealing that the new tax bill favors those in the top one percent of income earners. But nobody ever reveals the actual dollar figure that one percent equals. How much is it? How many Trump supporters actually fall into that one percent?

    Will someone be kind enough to supply the actual dollar figures? Trump supporters want to know. There’s even one Trump non-supporter who wants to know. That would be me.

  14. As Senator Schumer said in his succinct and direct cry to his fellow Republican Senators prior to their tax vote recently:

    …and then they voted Aye for a bill few understood or even bothered to READ -SHAME ON YOU indeed! And SHAME ON THOSE WHO ELECTED THESE PARTY LINE SHEEPLE!

    Make your protests heard by VOTING in the 2018 midterms and continuing to speak out!

  15. I’m on my way to the Senior Center for lunch and good times. No worries about the future direction of America. There’s no way things can get any worse in this God forsaken country.

  16. Larry; you had me scared there for a bit till I finally found the opportunities for the deaf. I am 80 years old, deaf and disabled, currently a Democrat, former Independent who worked for Indianapolis Republican city government for 20 years so have a varied political background. Would this qualify me for a supervisory position in manufacturing?

  17. Like Ryan, my father died of heart failure while I was a teenager. We both received social security survivor benefits until age 22 as long as we were in school. I guess that would be the ENTITLEMENT that Ryan speaks of since none of us as children ever paid into the SS system. But as adults, SS is not an entitlement and I wished he would stop using that term as I have paid it all of my life since my first job at age 16. Since Ryan’s father was a lawyer, I’m sure his ENTITLEMENT check was much higher than mine since my father was simply a lathe operator in a factory. Despite that, those Survivor checks kept my mother and 2 teen brothers off the streets and in our home until we graduated. It paid my room and board while I went to trade school so I’m very grateful for the rest of the American citizens for helping us out when we needed it most.

    Somebody needs to remind Ryan of this every single day of the rest of his life. He’s a fraud. Vote them out.

    I’m organizing a women’s march on January 20th in Tucson. David F, come join us.

  18. two vultures in conersation,(ryan and mcconnel),while dining on a corpse. ryan says,well the middleclass was a good meal,but what do you think we should eat next mcconnel? the poor,replys mcconnell,though they will have less fat! when reagan spoke of trickle down economics way back, i was already on the piss part. now we have a clown in a penthouse,and when he flushes,im sure the middle class is standing,(in credit)in chains below.. if America sleeps in the next election,and ignores the present power grab,maybe we are failing in education… im signed up for move ons immediate protests if muelller is fired,you?

  19. How is Medicare an entitlement? I have been paying for it since my first day of professional work and still am at 75. It has a multi trillion dollar trust fund. It’s not funded by the taxes that Republicans have decided are the means by which creators of wealth, workers, fund those who have no need for more wealth.

  20. if the media insists on,whoever they are, telling Americans about the tax scam in a joyous voice,one needs to look no further than boycotting the advertisers,with a comment of two trown in… corps hate publicity…

  21. Mike – I doubt that DT has the authority to fire Mueller, but if I am wrong and he does fire him, I am signed up to attend a street protest just north of here in Fort Myers, Florida. It will amount to a reprise for me in that I was heavily involved in the Occupy Movement some years ago. I think that those of us who are able should show up in the streets as well as at the keyboard. Our democracy is subject to failure not only through force of arms but through force of impoverishment orchestrated by those on Wall Street, their corporate handmaidens and political lackeys, all of whom are engaged in personal enrichment under cover of statutory authority. We are seeing an exercise of that catastrophic authority this very day. Elections have consequences, and that’s something to remember and act upon in this new year when we have an opportunity to throw these greedy charlatans out of office. GRRRR!

  22. AgingLGrl; most people don’t think of the fact that members of the Legislature held other jobs before being elected and many have businesses to return to when they leave office. This means they do pay into Social Security in those instances and will collect just as we do. Double-dipping with no worries about the safety of their Social Security if they do destroy it for those of us who need it to survive. It is their right as an American citizen to collect because they did pay into it; I do not begrudge them that but have no inkling as to why they are so determined to destroy it for the rest of Americans.

  23. I can grok the insecurity of the likes of Ryan and Hatch; the fear of not having enough to share. But where oh where is the tipping point of having enough? The degree of greed and the evil manipulation of every government department to wield control over the minds and the money is just gobstopping. Thank you Sheila for another spot-on essay.

  24. Gerald,

    Don’t place all your bets on tomorrow. Trump’s move in Jerusalem and the talk about risking Medicare is causing tremendous anger in the Muslim and African-American communities. That’s just what Trump, Ryan et al want……an angry VIOLENT response as an excuse for a major crackdown as was done after the Reichstag Fire of 1933, all according to their Nazi Playbook.

    I’m not dreaming, on my way to lunch their was almost a riot between the African-American riders and the white bus driver. He wasn’t at fault, the whole bus was looking for trouble and I don’t blame them. The level of anger is at a boiling point. There has to be a release.

  25. The entire bunch of Republicans seems to be more than a little “off the wall” with words and actions; I must admit we may have been better off had some of the others been elected, it might have prevented being stuck with Trump and his Hole-In-The-Oval-Office gang but…maybe not. I read the news report on the arrest of Track Palin, age 28, a domestic violence charge plus a few others. He broke into his parents home, you do remember Sarah and First Dude, beat his father up and momma called police. Momma and Track were leaving the house together when police arrived. Apparently Dad had a gun when Track first broke in, for protection of course, not hunting caribou inside. She and McCain losing that election probably prevented stuffed animal heads from being hung on the walls of the White House but also might have prevented what we have in office now.

    Can anyone think of one, only one; rational, clear thinking, intelligent, responsible Republican – in or out of office today – worthy of the name Republican as it meant during President Abraham Lincoln’s administration. This country has done nothing worth being proud of in the past two years and as of this minute, the GOP led by Ryan is poised to pass the tax bill…admitting it is a bad bill. If not for Mayor Bill Hudnut; I would be too ashamed to admit I spent 20 years of my life working for the Republican government in this city.

  26. Andrew Levine had this to say: Then there are the House and Senate Republicans outdoing even themselves in depraved indifference to the public good.

    And there are their Democratic rivals, pusillanimous as ever, self-righteously rebranding themselves as defenders of sexual propriety and virtue.

    I would also add the Democrats never ending speculation on Russian interference in our election. The Democrats sound like Shakespere’s King Richard III when he yells out loudly this famous phrase, “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!” Only it is not a horse but E-Mails, E-Mails the Russians supposedly purloined.

    It will be interesting how the Right Wing will sell all these cuts to the Republican Base, or will it just be follow us off the cliff. Of course the Trumpet and the Republican Elected officials will all have parachutes for a soft landing.

  27. Republicans have carte blanche to do as they please. The Democrats are doing nothing to constrain them. Hell,the DNC is asking for folks to vote for Democrats in the next election,as if if that will make a difference. It won’t. That only allows the DNC to remain blameless and places the onus on the public. The truth is the DNC doesn’t really oppose these tax giveaways because these tax breaks benefit the same donor class. The Democrats want the monies from Republican donors as well. That’s why the Democrats are courting suburban white Repub voters whilst alienating their leftists base. Moreover,that’s why universal healthcare is looked upon as a demand from the “fringe” left by neoliberal apologists. Btw,if anyone claims there’s a “fringe” left,be wary of them.

    It’s a class-war. But it is being mounted by the donors and their puppets from both sides of the aisle. Just consider the latest bit of Mccarthyism wrt Jill Stein. What does that tell you?

    The Democrats say the world is going to pot! What are they doing to counter? OMG! RUSSIA!

    As another contributor has written,the Democrat Party is the Pusillanimous Party. Today’s liberal would never have left their home to fight for a 40 hr work week. Where’s the marches against Forever Wars? They don’t exist.

  28. William, I agree the Democratic Strategy is vote for us, we are not as bad as the Republicans. So when the Democrats lose by putting up candidates here in Indiana like John Gregg and Evan Bayh, blame the voters. Bill Clinton, the DLC and DNC wrecked the Democratic Party of FDR when he turned the corner from Main Street and Unions to Wall Street and Corporate Board rooms.

  29. If Mueller gets fired, I am on an alert list to protest in front of McCain’s or Flake’s office here in Tucson.

    Also, yes, Medicare is not an entitlement! We’ve all paid into that system and I wish they would lower the age to 55 so I could buy in, but no, they want to raise it to 70!

    If we had single payer healthcare, I wouldn’t be going around town to find a pharmacy that will provide me with an allergy medicine that my insurance REFUSES to provide for me. The other medicines they have prescribed (by my doctor) I’m allergic to and had horrible side effects! So I went to the manufacturer’s web site and got a coupon for the medicine for a discount. Walgreen’s wanted 106 bucks for one month’s supply. Sheesh. I’m going to check Costco on my next visit and have been hoarding the free one I got at the doctor.

    This tax bill is going to raise our taxes! If we can’t deduct our property taxes or state and local, we’re looking at paying 5,000 a year and not being able to deduct it. We should be marching in the streets! Damn it I’m furious and have outrage fatigue that is wearing me down.

  30. “The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the tax package on Tuesday afternoon, sending the bill to the Senate, where a staff official ruled that three provisions of the House bill did not comply with the Senate’s complex rules, said Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

    As of early evening, the plan was for the Senate to delete the three offending provisions and vote on the bill. If approved, which is widely expected, the bill would then be sent back to the House for another vote on Wednesday.

    The provisions in question deal with using educational savings accounts for home schooling and with private university endowments. The Senate parliamentarian’s ruling against the provisions threw a wrench into what would have been a day of celebration for Republicans.”

    Just copied and pasted from a Thomson/Reuters news item on AOL news. They just can’t seem to get anything right – oops – correct. And I’m so glad!

  31. Gerald’s comments about George Lakoff’s books are right on. Lakoff is generally on target in describing the GOP as followers of the ‘strict father’ philosophy while Democrats tend to follow the ‘nurturing parent’ philosophy. The exception is when the GOP abandons their strict father role to nurture the ultra-rich who profess adherence to ‘individual responsibility’ but for those who are so rich that they lobby furiously for more monetary favor.
    This tax legislation is corporate welfare and favoritism of the ultra-wealthy in the extreme. As for the economic growth it supposes, I’d wager that it won’t motivate the Trump family to move one manufacturing job back to America.

  32. Ditto the comments about Lakoff’s book. Totally on target and describes a rigidity and lack of empathy in the Republican base that can only be overcome by crushing them in the elections.

    Also, I remember Reagan’s tax cuts. Federal taxes went down and state taxes went *way* up. We are going to end up in the hole one way or another, regardless of what anyone says.

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