Paul Ryan’s Most Excellent Tax-Paid Life


    Paul Ryan has spent his life to date as an acolyte of Ayn Rand (though he has now disavowed her philosophy of Objectivism because Rand was a determined atheist), even requiring his staff to read Atlas Shrugged. He produced an extremely libertarian budget, one that would throw retired Americans back on the mercy of private insurance and make Social Security more like a 401k at the mercy of the stock market. There’s a funny twist to his “philosophy,” though. He has lived his life opposite from the way he wants the rest of us to live.

    After Ryan’s father died when Ryan was 16, he received Social Security survivor’s benefits, which he saved to help pay for college, even though his family was quite well-off and could pay for his education.

    When Ryan finished college, he took a job on the staff of a Republican member of Congress, and for the rest of his career, to date, he has been on the public payroll, with the exception of one year when he worked for his family’s business. That business, Ryan Inc., has had substantial income from building publicly-funded projects like airports, highways, etc.

    So, we now learn that the guy who wants to decimate domestic spending, lay off massive numbers of federal employees, privatize Medicare, and change the rules of Social Security, ironically has nurtured himself through the federal government since the age of 16. He has been taking a paycheck from us, the taxpayers, for his whole career. And that doesn’t even cover all the perks Ryan gets and will get as a congressman.

    Ryan has railed against Social Security because he says the program requires the government to subsidize the cost of the program beyond what has been paid into the system. Yet, he will be eligible for a cushy federal pension plan that he has only paid 1.3% of his salary into.

    Ryan today collects a salary of $174,000. At the age of 62 he will receive a defined benefit pension based on his three highest years of salary. The government also pays 75% of Ryan’s health insurance premium. Additionally,  he has access to a 24/7 urgent care center through the Office of the Attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol. Plus, he has access to the only government-run health care in the nation, the VA system.

    Paul Ryan is a typical ideologue hypocrite. He is perfectly happy when he is able to play the system for his own benefit, but he doesn’t care about the rest of us. He says he’s opposed to big government and the government social programs that benefit us. Yet, he has taken every government benefit he could get all his life. That’s fits the definition of a hypocrite.

    • Teddy Goodson

      While you and I see, at the very least, cognitive dissonance, or hyposcrisy, I suspect that most of Mr. Ryan’s fellow “conservatives” (I use quotes because to me the label has become grossly distorted and misused by the current crop of ideologues) see nothing wrong with what Ryan has done, as have so many other Republican Congress people and governors.

      Under their version of free market ideology, combined as it is with Ayn Rand’s virulent individualim, it’s a good idea for each person to grab as much as they can for personal aggrandisement. That is the “rational” approach, and it means “greed is good,” so that, as everybody pursues their own selfish interests intently, the market somehow mysteriously produces a result which is good for society as a whole. Since the goodie is being offered at taxpayer expense, like the stimulus, of course you should grab it and run. Why not? And kudos to Ryan for helping his constituent (or himself).

      I think Obama and the Democrats are missing a perfect opportunity to slam the free market ideology as the basic source of Ryan’s hypocrisy (and, in fact, the real origin of the market crash and Great Recession)—- rather than just concentrating on the hypocrisy. Now, if ever, is the time to offer an alternativce economic and political theory, if we want to change the direction of the country. Change we can believe in, so to speak.

    • Jim B

      I am afraid that Ryan is not by himself in the hypocrite department. Northern Va is a hotbed of govt and govt contractor workers. Most of those folks I know that have retired think of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps so to speak and are willing to close the door on others.

      An aside: Eugene Robinson in this morning Post talks about Romney dissing school bus drivers and DMV clerks. I suspect a lot of those folks thanks to guns, gays and religion and maybe a little racism will be voting for candidates that think they are worthless.