Attended Miami University in Ohio. Strike one for this Ohio Bobcat.
Was a Miami frat boy. You know what? Strike fucking three.
So, we've established that the Representative from Wisconsin is an incurable prick, and indeed he does come off as the cocky 18-year-old who after one semester of college and a Poly-Sci 101 class suddenly knows everything about the workings of the world. A lot of us go through that phase. The difference is, after reading
some Ayn Rand and taking a few Econ classes, Ryan appears to be locked in
this juvenile hubris for the long haul.
That wouldn't be such a big deal, except that he's a legislator who's ridden a meteor to the top of his party's leadership; Ryan has ambition and the attention of his party. What's more, we keep hearing his name and the word 'intellectual' mentioned in the same breath. Now that Newt's time is up, it seems Ryan has emerged as heir apparent to the GOP's resident deep thinker. This is troubling. Where Newt always seemed most devoted to his own hedonism, Ryan is fit, full of energy and hellbent on making his mark on the country. What's disturbing is that his fervor seems less intellectual than ironclad, like something out
of the Westboro Baptist Church (and yes, Ryan does hate fags, for the record). His prevailing belief? Not that big
government is bad, of course, oh no; he's voted for every giant spending bill to come his way. In that way, he looks like just about every other Republican from the last 30 years. Social beliefs? Standard GOP playbook: anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant.
No, what makes Ryan special, aside from his blue-eyed glow of phony geniality and veneer of erudition, is the abject cruelty at the core of his economic superstardom; it's brazen, nasty and dangerous, it encapsulates no kind of conservative ideology that I've ever heard of, and it can be parsed out thusly:
1) Your worth as a human is in direct proportion to your wealth.
Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the modern conservative, godfather of reckless tax slashing and exploding deficits--Reagan sacrificed fiscal balance in the name of swelling the coffers of the already rich. He also sneered unabashedly at the poor, painting needy
families as parasites and singling out poor black women as welfare queens.
George W Bush carried Reagan's torch for 8 years, compromising the future of our social programs by cutting taxes and ignoring the consequences.
Reagan and Bush Jr: that's Paul Ryan's pedigree.
There are euphemisms for enriching the rich. 'Supply-side economics.' 'Trickle-down economics.' 'Reaganomics.' Whatever you call it, it doesn't work as advertised. Ryan and the GOP know this better than anyone, because they don't want the wealth to trickle down. They keep going back to the well because, to them, the only thing better than a rich American is a richer American. Now they're trying to sell it again, this time on the strength of Ryan's intellectualism, as if this preppy economic savant has really thought it through, worked out the kinks and come up with a plan that's just too nuanced to explain to drooling rubes like us. If Ryan had it his way, as outlined in his first budget proposal, there would be zero taxes on capital gains and dividends--that's the kind of income that people like Mitt Romney prefer, because it's already taxed at a lower rate. That lunatic idea has since been ditched in subsequent Ryan budgets, but it does underscore the kind of men we're dealing with. Men of wealth and entitlement. You're rich. You deserve more. Treat yo self.
Of course, Ryan is not blind to our giant growing debt; He seems to sort of genuinely want to do something about it. You can forget about increasing revenues or cutting the military, but some program or other is going to have to cough up the trillions, which brings us to our second point:
2) If you are not rich, you don't deserve to live.
How else can you explain his attitude toward Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Pell grants? These are the programs that stand to lose if Romney and Ryan win in November. How about the Affordable Care Act? The GOP calls Obama the 'Food Stamp President,' but let's get something straight: more people on food stamps means that people were still eating through the second worst financial meltdown in our nation's history. These safety nets quite literally keep people alive, but the GOP sneers again. Yeah, Ryan is that guy, the one making an example of the mom in the grocery store who uses food stamps while having the audacity to own a smart phone.
So what are the poor and needy to do? Ryan says he wants to teach them to fend for themselves. What he doesn't seem to understand is that so many people who need food assistance already have jobs. You can talk about self reliance all you want; people with low incomes can't just give themselves a raise, can they? They can't scare up college tuition, can they? The reality is that unemployment is still high, organized labor is weak and wages for middle and working classes have stagnated since the time of Reagan. Social programs are popular. They work. Ryan himself was able to attend college because of the Social Security benefits provided by his late father. That was fine for him. He made the most of it. For everyone else, it's a Ponzi scheme.
Any rational person knows that we'll all have to chip in to bring down the debt. Ryan and his mythical job creators don't see it that way. Sacrifices will have to be made, but not by them. As for the rest of us, if we die, we die.
We were formally introduced to the new face of the GOP at the Republican National Convention. Paul Ryan made his national debut by delivering a speech that was riddled with lies. His encore comes tonight at the vice presidential debate.
Here's hoping Joe Biden calls him on his bullshit.