Rep. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan’s stunning hypocrisy: The little-noticed way the GOP proved it’s full of it

Paul Ryan's stunning hypocrisy: The little-noticed way the GOP proved it's full of it

Paul Ryan | Credit: AP/John Minchillo

SALON ~ 

GOP’s still banging the “Grubergate” drum — but an under-the-radar push from Ryan shows they don’t mean a word

As a general rule, I try not to write about hypocrisy in politics. It’s such a constant, such a fact of life, that it can feel a bit like complaining about traffic or the weather.

But just as there’s a difference between waiting an extra 20 minutes during rush hour and being stranded in your car for five days — or between a typical snowstorm and what’s happening currently in Buffalo — there’s a difference between the routine hypocrisy of politics and the kind we saw this week from Republicans in the House. One kind is an annoyance to be quickly forgotten; the other leaves a mark.

Before getting into why they’re so egregious, however, let’s pause to recap the Congressional GOP’s recent machinations.

Aware no doubt of how President Obama’s announcement this week on immigration reform would dominate both the media and the public’s attention, Republicans in the House, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, have been working to make sure the next head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — which acts as Congress’s honest broker when it comes to scoring fiscal policy — is not a nonpartisan technocrat, as has usually been the case, but rather a loyal member of the conservative movement. And, as former CBO chief Peter Orszag recently explained, because the CBO has no institutional protections from partisan hackery, and maintains its integrity mostly through tradition, there’s precious little anyone can do to stop them.

While there are no doubt many changes ideologues like Ryan would like to see the CBO make, reports indicate that the main reason GOPers want to install a right-wing hack as its chief is in order to make the agency integrate “dynamic scoring” more fully into its estimations. “Dynamic scoring,” for those who don’t know, is a phrase conservatives like to use to give a tenet of their anti-tax religion — lower taxes lead to more revenue! — an intellectual gloss. More importantly, dynamic scoring is generally the special sauce right-wing “wonks” put into their projections in order to claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich won’t lead to fiscal ruin. Remember the absurd claim that Bush’s tax cuts wouldn’t explode deficits? Thank dynamic scoring for that.

So that’s what’s happening under the radar with the CBO. And if that were the whole story, it’d probably fall under into the “routine traffic and weather” category of hypocrisy I mentioned earlier. What makes this more of a Buffalo snowstorm-level problem is the context — specifically, the fact that Republicans are destroying yet another norm of American politics, the nonpartisan CBO, at the very same time that they’re waging a relentless and disingenuous campaign to persuade the media (and thus the American people) that the way the Affordable Care Act was written was a breach of democratic norms without precedent.

Yes, this is where “Grubergate,” the most recent of the GOP’s seemingly endless supply of manufactured outrages, comes in. If you’re not familiar with this tempest in a teapot, I recommend you catch up by reading my colleague Joan Walsh. But for our purposes here, all you need to know is that Republicans have been devoting a ton of energy toward making MIT’s Jonathan Gruber’s admission, that the White House designed Obamacare with the likely political ramifications of the CBO score in mind, equivalent to the 18-minute gap in the Nixon tapes. Because the president knew that calling something in the bill a “penalty” instead of a “tax” would make it harder for conservatives to scream that Obamacare was the tax hike to end all tax hikes — as they did (and are still doing) with Hillarycare — that means, conservatives argue, that the bill itself was only able to pass through the most dastardly lies.

As BuzzFeed’s Adam Serwer noted, the Grubergate politicking is most likely an attempt to lay the groundwork for defending a possible future Supreme Court gutting of the ACA. (Although Gruber’s confirming the right’s suspicions of liberal technocrat elitism and piggishness, by calling voters stupid, is operational, too.) But when you see it through the lens of Ryan’s dynamic scoring push, you’re confronted with a level of bullshit that is flabbergasting — even in the context of partisan politics. According to Paul Ryan and other Republicans, it is absolutely not OK for a president to design a bill in a way that makes it harder for its opponents to demagogue. It is not OK to write a bill and think of the CBO at all. What is OK, apparently, is corrupting it from within.

REWIND – RYAN TRIES TO REWRITE SHUTDOWN STORY

The Huffington Post

In his new book, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recounts shaking his head in frustration last fall as fellow Republicans sought to use a government shutdown as leverage to gut Obamacare.

“It was a suicide mission,” Ryan writes in The Way Forward, his memoir released Tuesday. “This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.”

Reflecting on the shutdown that Newt Gingrich had led in 1995, Ryan wrote of his worry about repeated missteps: “I saw the damage it did. We couldn’t afford to take a hit like that again — not for a strategy that had no hope of advancing our core principles.”

As is often the case with political memoirs, however, the actual history was far more complicated. Ryan’s office told HuffPost that his co-authorship of an eventual budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) proves he was against the shutdown.

“Chairman Ryan voted several times both to avoid the shutdown and to restart funding for various parts of the government during the shutdown,” Ryan spokesman Brian Bolduc said in an email.

But during the October 2013 standoff, Ryan didn’t seem like a lawmaker nervous about damaging the party or movement. Instead, he was often obstructive.

In the days after the shutdown began, the House Budget Committee chair advocated tying the government shutdown fight to the federal government’s looming credit default — an idea that only raised the stakes of negotiations and ensured the shutdown would last at least another two weeks. In an Oct. 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed, he suggested reforming entitlements in exchange for raising discretionary spending levels.

Tea Party types weren’t thrilled with the idea since it left intact the president’s health care law, which had been the shutdown’s raison d’etre. But reaction from the press corps was mixed. Some reporters hailed Ryan for starting a dialogue between House Republicans and the White House. Others saw it as a thinly disguised play for conservative policy reforms.

Either way, the shutdown continued. And in the subsequent days, Ryan dug in. The Washington Post reported on Oct. 12 that in a closed-door meeting, he railed against a bipartisan Senate deal to reopen the government, “saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.”

“According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange,” the Post reported, “Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as ‘leverage’ for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a ‘conscience clause’ — allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.”

With days to go before the debt limit deadline was breached, House Republican leadership ultimately found themselves in a horrible jam, with the public blaming them for keeping the government closed and hurting the economy. Senate Republicans swooped in with a bill to reopen the government, raise the debt limit and provide a framework for future budget talks.

If, as he suggested in his book, Ryan thought the whole episode had been a stain on the GOP’s brand, it would seem logical that he would have jumped to support the one piece of legislation left to end the standoff. But when that Senate bill came to the House floor, he was one of 144 Republicans members who voted no. The bill passed with Democratic support.

“To pay our bills today — and to make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow — we must make a down payment on the debt,” he said. “Today’s legislation won’t help us reduce our fast-growing debt. In fact, it could extend the debt ceiling well into next year, further delaying any action. In my judgment, this isn’t a breakthrough. We’re just kicking the can down the road.”

After the stopgap bill reopened the government, Ryan negotiated a longer-term budget deal with Murray that removed the specter of another government shutdown. That deal actually raised spending levels from sequester levels, though it extended the sequester’s 2 percent cuts to Medicare providers by two years. It included none of the entitlement reforms that Ryan had suggested in his Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Paul Ryan Defends Poverty-Inner City Link: ‘This Has Nothing To Do With Race’

Kdujic9bikye5thav3cn

AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

TPM LiveWire

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is standing by comments he made linking a “culture” of men not working in inner cities to poverty, saying the remarks had “nothing to do” with race.

The House Budget Committee chairman told Crew of 42’s Lauren Victoria Burke on Wednesday that his comments, made earlier in the day on Bill Bennett’s “Morning In America,” were taken out of context.

“It was a long talk and he asked about the culture and I just went off of that,” Ryan told Burke. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.”

“This isn’t a race based comment it’s a breakdown of families, it’s rural poverty in rural areas, and talking about where poverty exists — there are no jobs and we have a breakdown of the family,” he explained, repeating “This has nothing to do with race.”

His comments had drawn sharp criticism from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, who blasted them as a “thinly veiled racial attack” and argued he used “inner city” and “culture” as code words for “black.”

But in his conversation with Burke, Ryan shifted to talking about a lack of jobs in the context of “rural poverty.” As Think Progress pointed out, government data shows that poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated in rural rather than urban areas, so the congressman is on the money there.

The poverty problem has consumed Ryan in recent weeks. The Wisconsin Republican released a report earlier this month casting doubt on federal anti-poverty programs, then slammed Democrats’ support for food assistance programs in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference with a story about free school lunch that turned out to be untrue.

It’s “Paul Ryan is a serious wonk” season again!

Paul Ryan (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Salon – Alex Pareene

The Washington Post admires Paul Ryan’s very bold plan to fight poverty by replacing food stamps with dreams

Wow, is it “Paul Ryan is a serious, brilliant, policy-focused wonk with a dynamic and inclusive vision for the future of the Republican Party” season again already? It comes earlier every year. Thanks, Washington Post, for this brilliant example of the genre.
Paul Ryan is ready to move beyond last year’s failed presidential campaign and the budget committee chairmanship that has defined him to embark on an ambitious new project: Steering Republicans away from the angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement and toward the more inclusive vision of his mentor, the late Jack Kemp.

I guess it’s nice that Paul Ryan is going to help lead the Republicans away from those crazy Tea Partyers just one short year after Mitt Romney named him his running mate in part because, as the Times said at the time, “Ryan Brings the Tea Party to the Ticket.” So, what is the new focus?

Since February, Ryan (R-Wis.) has been quietly visiting inner-city neighborhoods with another old Kemp ally, Bob Woodson, the 76-year-old civil rights activist and anti-poverty crusader, to talk to ex-convicts and recovering addicts about the means of their salvation.

Oh, good, Paul Ryan is parachuting into “inner-city neighborhoods” to bring back compassionate conservatism. Tell us more about the sober, admirable seriousness of the endeavor that is Paul Ryan solves poverty.

Continue reading here…

H/t: DB

Paul Ryan Budget Reduces Spending To Lowest Levels Since 1948: Report

Paul Ryan Budget Spending

Paul Ryan’s “Ayn Randian”  economic philosophy has prompted him to put forth a budget that would affect the working class and very poor in the most adverse way, while giving the top 1% more tax breaks and other perks.

The Huffington Post

Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed budget would reduce government spending outside of Social Security and interest on debt to its lowest levels in over six decades, Investor’s Business Daily reported Wednesday.

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, unveiled his latest fiscal proposal on Tuesday, laying out $4.6 trillion in cuts over the next decade. The blueprint aims to balance the budget in 10 years by slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to aid the poor, including food stamps. Ryan’s plan would also repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

“This is not only a responsible, reasonable balanced plan,” Ryan said on Tuesday. “It’s also an invitation. This is an invitation to the president of the United States, to the Senate Democrats, to come together to fix these problems.”

Under the House GOP plan, government spending would hit its lowest levels in 65 years. Investor’s Business Daily’s Jed Graham reports:

By 2023, under Paul Ryan’s budget, the entirety of federal spending outside of Social Security and interest on the debt (16.4% of GDP in 2012) would shrink to 11.2% of GDP, a level not seen since 1948 — before ObamaCare, Medicare, Medicaid, NASA, the interstate highway system and almost before the first baby boomers were born.That is nearly 25% below the 14.6% of GDP average over the past 64 years. In the only three years over this span that saw spending on the main functions of government (outside of saving for retirement) dip just below 12% of GDP, the unemployment rate averaged 4.5% or less, shrinking safety net outlays while bolstering the spending capacity of state and local governments.

Graham also calculates that by leaving Medicare expenditures out as well as Social Security and interest, spending levels would shrink to 7.9 percent of GDP by 2023, the lowest level since 1938, before Social Security and Medicare programs were created.

Click here to read more on Ryan’s budget plan.

Ryan Proposes An Even Bigger Tax Cut For The Richest Americans

If I recall correctly, the American people rejected Ryan’s budget plan in November 2012 when they re-elected President Obama.  His budget will never pass the Democratic controlled Senate.  So, what is his point?

Think Progress

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) previewed the latest version of his budget, which he will formally unveil today, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, and the proposal closely mirrors both his past budgets and the plans he and Mitt Romney laid out during the 2012 presidential campaign. Like the Romney-Ryan 2012 plans, this version includes massive budget cuts to safety net programs and a major overhaul of the tax code that will largely benefit the wealthy and corporations.

As the 2012 budget did, the 2013 version reduces the number of income tax brackets from six to two, with marginal rates set at 10 percent and 25 percent. It is expected to stick to Ryan’s past tax proposals as well by repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, cutting the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent, and converting the corporate tax code to an “international” system.

Estimates showed that past plans amounted to $3 trillion tax giveaways to the wealthy, but because of tax increases that took effect in 2013, Ryan’s newest tax cut is even larger. The federal government in all would lose a total of $7 trillion in revenue, according to Center for American Progress Tax and Budget Policy Director Michael Linden, the majority of which would go to the richest Americans and corporations. Reducing the corporate income tax to 25 percent would provide a tax break of more than $1 trillion; further tax changes would result in even bigger cuts. Trillions more would go to the wealthy.

Ryan again insists that those tax cuts won’t actually be realized, since any reform will be neutral thanks to the closure of tax loopholes. But he made similar claims in both 2011 and 2012, and in neither of those instances did he offer specific loopholes for closure, likely because doing so would have proven politically impractical.

Romney and Ryan also insisted that their proposal would cut taxes for every American (especially the wealthy) while not adding a dime to the federal deficit, but nonpartisan analysts found that upholding both of those standards was impossible. The Tax Policy Center found that Romney’s plan would have to make up $4.8 trillion through the closure of tax loopholes; failing that, he would have no choice but to add to the deficit or raise taxes by $2,000 on the average middle class family. Ryan’s version will have to make up even more revenue to avoid similar pitfalls.

Ryan has also stuck to the same spending principles of past budgets. He again turns Medicare into a voucher program and converts many social safety net programs to block grants modeled after the failed 1996 welfare reform law. Those plans would result in higher health care costs to seniors and major cuts to the social safety net, all while his plan gives a massive tax break to the richest Americans.

Romney ignored warnings about Ryan’s history of lies, exaggerations

“One lie has the power to tarnish a thousand truths.” ~ Al David

Capitol Hill Blue

Campaign professionals vetting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as a potential Republican vice presidential candidate warned Mitt Romney‘s strategists that the Congressman had a “history of exaggeration and prevarication”  that could become a campaign issue and distraction but the GOP presidential nominee’s team ignored the warnings.

Romney campaign insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that an intense internal battle raged inside the campaign over Ryan’s history of blatant lies, factual misstatements and exaggerations.

Those supporting Ryan pointed out that Senator Joe Biden had a similar history when then-candidate Barack Obama tapped him as a running mate in 2008.  Biden had lied about his military record, admitted plagiarizing the speeches of others and padded his resume.

“It’s starting to look like both camps give potential vice presidential candidates lie detector tests and then consider only those who flunk,” groaned one senior Republican strategist, who asked not to be identified.

Campaign insiders say Romney was so determined to capture support of the tea party that reveres Ryan that he was “more than willing” to overlook the Congressman’s casual relationship with the truth.

“Paul Ryan is a loose cannon.  He’s Mitt Romney’s Sarah Palin and his involvement with the campaign will sink the Republican Party in this election,” said another GOP pro, who also asked to remain anonymous.

“When I heard Ryan was on the short list, my first reaction was ‘oh, Christ, here we go again,’ ” the longtime GOP operative said Sunday.  ”The man tells so many whoppers so often that I’m not sure he even knows when he’s lying.”

Ryan’s disassoication with reality will keep fact checkers busy from now until November.  News organizations found multiple lies, exaggerations and half-truths in his convention speech and his claim that he once ran a marathon in under three hours brought a quick reversal after the record showed otherwise.

“I misspoke,” Ryan said.

He does that a lot.

Todd Akin: The man who said too much

Todd Akin: The man who said too much

I think David Axelrod was spot when he said that the Republican Establishment is not really upset with what Todd Akin said.  They are upset with Todd Akin for letting the proverbial “cat out of the bag”.

The GOP did not want to “broadcast” their true views during election season for fear of backlash from women and independents.

Salon

The Republican Party turned on Todd Akin because he made plain their creeping extremism and political strategy

When Missouri’s Republican candidate for the Senate said that  “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy, not only was Todd Akin echoing the extreme anti-abortion positions held by many in his party, he was exemplifying the creeping extremism within the Republican Party on women’s issues and far more.  In the new, extremist Republican Party, Akin is not an aberration.  He is merely the latest canary in a coalmine of crazy.

Along with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Akin was an original co-sponsor of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” — which, originally, narrowed the federal definition of rape to restrict the ability of women and girls to use Medicaid dollars and tax-exempt health spending accounts to terminate pregnancies resulting from rape. Akin has since said he “misspoke” in his “legitimate rape” remarks, but the legislation he and Paul Ryan sponsored similarly re-labeled rape as “forcible rape” — creepily suggesting there are other, more acceptable versions. What’s more creepy? These are not fringe opinions expressed by powerless lunatics at teeny right-wing organizations. These are the opinions of over 200 Republican members of Congress, one of whom is the party’s candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri and one of whom is the party’s candidate for Vice President.

Yes, the Republican establishment is condemning Akin’s remarks and distancing itself from his candidacy. But let’s be clear: Akin is only guilty of saying out loud what many Republican leaders think and legislate on the basis of.   Talking Points Memo has detailed other Republican leaders throughout the years who have questioned that rape can lead to pregnancy and prominent Republican leaders like Mike Huckabee and  Bobby Jindal oppose abortions under all circumstances, including rape. Both will be speaking at the Republican National Convention next week. Moreover, the many Republicans pushing back against Akin seem more concerned with preserving the dignity of the Republican Party than protecting the dignity and rights of women who have been raped.

Continue reading here…

ROMNEY OFFICIALLY EMBRACES RYAN’S PLAN FOR MEDICARE

Good morning…happy Tuesday everyone…

Think Progress

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign sought to distance the former Massachusetts governor from Paul Ryan’s controversial Medicare privatization plan on Saturday, but by Monday, Romney fully embraced his running mate’s proposal.

During a press availability in Miami, Romney turned down three opportunities to explain how his vision would differ from Ryan’s, telling reporters, “my plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan for Medicare.”

Watch it:

Rep. Barney Frank: Ryan/Romney budget a ‘great scam’

Barney Frank

I love Rep. Barney Frank’s unabated opinions.  He dissects Paul Ryan’s budget with skill and candor.  No holds barred for this guy!  I love Rep. Frank.

 

Daily Kos 

Rep. Barney Frank has a lot to say to TPM about “the great scam” that is the House Republican budget, none of it complementary and all of it spot on.

“It’s not deficit reduction when you increase military spending so that you can make up for that by cutting Medicare and Medicaid. That’s not budget reduction. That’s ideology. That’s the right wing,” Frank told TPM. “The other great scam for Ryan is to say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to help the rich people … I’m going to lower their rates and get rid of loopholes,’ although he doesn’t mention a single loophole that he’ll get rid of.”

Thanks for be willing to say it, Rep. Frank. We’re going to miss you.