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.


Class Warfare

As the Wall Street sit-ins spread, we are hearing more accusations of “class warfare.” Those accusations come from both ends of the political spectrum: the wealthy–particularly those whose wealth comes from the financial sector–accuse the protestors of enmity aimed at the “haves,” and the protestors and their supporters respond that corporate “fat cats” started the conflict by engaging in unethical practices motivated by greed that harmed “the other 99%.”

I actually don’t think what we are seeing is class warfare. I doubt if many of the protestors really have animus toward all those who are better off. They are just really, really angry at the increasingly successful efforts of bankers and others to shield themselves from the consequences of their own (mis)behaviors.

Nor do I think that corporate bigwigs are motivated by a desire to harm the (dwindling) middle class or poor. I doubt they even think about what their “Masters of the Universe” game-playing does to other people. (This lack of awareness–let alone concern–is in fact one of their most distasteful characteristics.)

Rather than dismissing these demonstrations by mislabeling them, I think they are general expressions of discontent with a political system that increasingly favors the well-positioned and well-resourced over other Americans.

The “other 99%” don’t hate rich people. They hate a system that increasingly takes from the poor to give to the rich.