Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Calls Americans Lazy, Morally Bankrupt

Rep. Paul RyanRick Perry's been leading GOP's false attacks on President Obama with a made-up story that Obama called Americans lazy. So why aren't Perry & friends attacking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who actually did say Americans are lazy?
Part of it is the culture of people just having no work ethic.... Moral relativism has done so much damage to the bottom end of this country, the bottom fifth has been damaged by the culture of moral relativism more than by anything else, I would argue. If you ask me what the biggest problem in America is, I'm not going to tell you debt, deficits, statistics, economics - I'll tell you it's moral relativism.
As Steve Benen details, it's not just Rep. Ryan - Mitt Romney, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) have all expressed similar complaints that the economy would pick up if unemployed Americans weren't so lazy. It's no wonder Republicans are trying to shift the conversation to President Obama with false attacks. I mean, do you really think they want to talk about the GOP's record after nearly a year of controlling the House - 319 days and still not a single jobs bill?

UPDATE by Lowell: Mitt Romney says, "We have been accustomed to being the world's leading nation for so long, enjoying the freedom, security, and prosperity that comes with that leadership, that we have tended to avoid the hard work that overcoming challenges requires."

Paul Ryan’s $350 Wine & The Bankruptcy of Trickle-Down Economics

It says everything you need to know about today's Republican Party leadership that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-IL) (heir to a contracting empire, personal net worth: $2.4 million) thinks nothing of throwing down a couple of $350 bottles of wine like you or I would drink Yellow Tail:
Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan's table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.

Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.

Much as I like making fun of Republicans, I think the story says something a lot more about the transparent insanity GOP economic arguments. If Paul Ryan gets a tax cut, he'll probably stick most of it in the bank, spend some on a $350 bottle of wine, and for the most part the only one who notices the difference is Paul Ryan's stockbroker. But if a family making minimum wage gets a little more money, it not only makes a big difference for that family, but the money gets spent several times over in the local community. The family spends a little extra at the grocery store, which helps the store turn a part-time worker into a full-time staffer, who can now afford to buy a car at the dealership down the street, etc.  

The President is Home: May He Let Bill Clinton Know Who’s...

Is it just my imagination?  Or, when the actual President leaves town on state business, does the former president Bill Clinton seek out the Washington limelight? However, even Bill could not have wanted some of the attention he garnered this time. I'm sure he did not intend for his backstage, off-the-record remarks to Paul Ryan to be captured for all of us to ultimately hear.  But, thanks to an intrepid soul, they were.  The post at TPM tells the story, including  backstage banter we might have been happier not knowing.

Here was the exchange:

"I'm glad we won this race in New York," Clinton can be seen saying in the video. "But I hope Democrats don't use it as an excuse to do nothing."
Ryan responded: "My guess is it's gonna sink into paralysis, is what's gonna happen. And you know the math. I mean, It's just -- we knew we were putting ourselves out there. But you gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving."
Clinton told Ryan to call him if he ever wanted to talk about the issue, Ryan said he would, and the two parted.

We cannot be sure what Bill meant.  There is much left between the lines. Perhaps this represents nothing but small talk.  We  could give him the benefit of the doubt.  It may be that  he is just schmoozing Ryan.  But is he empathizing?  You know how good Bill is at feeling others' pain.  But he seems to genuinely be agreeing with Paul Ryan here.  

Sociopath Ayn Rand Told Them To

As Congressional Republicans stoop to new levels of contempt for most Americans, and even extortion to get their way, at the expense of 98-99% of us, modern Republicanism is crumbling of its own avarice, lust for power, excesses, and hypocrisy. It could not be otherwise when their entire "philosophy" is based upon the works of a sociopath.

That Ayn Rand was a sociopath is clearly demonstrated by her hero worship of monstrous, brutal murderer William Hickman. She idolized him because he cared nothing about others.  The party which runs on the platform of the forced "Christianizing" of America forgot Christ's  most resounding message to his followers: To love one another.  Given Rand's atheism, it's also pretty ironic that these same folks try to tell Americans how and when to worship.  More ironic still is that they try to destroy those who are different, such as LGBT Americans.  But when anything goes in service of personal ambition, then Rand's message was, essentially, go for it.

Earlier this week, lowkell posted a diary about the Ayn Rand interview with Mike Wallace for 60 Minutes.  You can read that blog here. But it gets worse. Having argued for much of her adult life to screw the other guy, end any programs which help people, and reify the individual self above all, this miscreant took Medicare and Social Security for herself.  This woman, who blamed everyone else for their cancers, including lung cancer, got lung cancer herself.  She did so having bragged that she wouldn't get cancer because she was a sort of superwoman.  Those folks who got it, well, it was their fault, she suggested.  Cardboard super heroes were her forte, especially when the cardboard character was herself.

This is the contemptible woman whom Paul Ryan, and a myriad of Republican celebs, love to quote and adore.  What is wrong with these people who put a sociopath on a pedestal?  It makes one wonder just how such dimwits as Paul Ryan, with a pea for a brain and a numskull to enshrine his mental under-endowment, got where he got.  Not for long, apparently, his favor-ability in his home state has dropped like a rock.  Even rank and file Republicans, it turns out, want their Social Security and Medicare.  So did Paul Ryan, who took Social Security when his father died.  Yep, that's right.  Paul Ryan depended upon Social Security survivor benefits.  And now he doesn't want other children to have them.  It also makes one wonder at the empty-headed media folk who ooze with their faux admiration for this twerp.  The man is just too damn immature and ignorant to be writing the fiscal policy for the United States.  And yet there he is trying to do so.

Washington Welcomes GOP’s Mr. Burns Budget

The House GOP budget outline as written by Rep. Paul Ryan isn't about the deficit - the Congressional Budget Office says the plan would actually increase the deficit (70% of GDP in 2022 vs. 67% under the status quo). So what's it really about? Cutting programs for the poor and clean energy investments to finance tax cuts for the rich and continued subsidies for Big Oil.

As Michael Grunwald writes, in a Washington where Congress is packed with millionaires who need to raise billions from wealthy donors, the Ryan plan is being welcomed with open arms:

Supposedly, Ryan is brave because he's willing to start an "adult conversation" about the deficit and entitlements in Washington. But politicians talk about the deficit and entitlements all the time. Some close observers of American politics may recall that President Obama proposed a health care bill last year; it included half a billion dollars in Medicare cuts, which Republicans attacked as vicious rationing that would pull the plug on Grandma. I don't recall a lot of David Brooks commentary about the courage of that plan, even though, unlike Ryan's, it had a chance of becoming law. [...]

Liberal bloggers argue that Ryan gets lionized because he's a Republican. But Joe Klein's no Republican; he's savaged the GOP as a party of nihilists. (He also ridiculed Ryan's plan for "massive political amnesia.") That said, the left has a point when it complains about the Washington consensus that raising taxes on the rich is crass populism and class warfare, while cutting services for the poor is fiscal responsibility and the hallmark of seriousness. There is a tendency in Washington to associate austerity for the masses with "straight talk" and "strong medicine," a yearning for politicians to stop giving their constituents candy and start delivering some long-overdue pain. In fact, Medicare and Medicaid, for all their cost challenges, are not candy.

James Fallows says the House GOP budget is nothing more than clever marketing of terrible policy:

Ryan: Save the Greedy Rich from the Poor And Sick

Paul Ryan's radical plan to cut the deficit by gutting Medicare and Medicaid in the future has two fatal flaws that he does not address. Indeed, he ignores them entirely. First, Ryan wants to turn Medicaid into a block grant to states, a sum that would not account for increases in costs or enrollment, nor the fact that much of Medicaid pays for nursing home care. Second, he wants to change Medicare for those under the age of 55, giving those people a voucher to spend in the private insurance market.

The main justification for the original passage of Medicare was the fact that persons 65 and older were frozen out of the health insurance market because insurance companies felt that they were too great a risk to get sick. Ryan's stupid plan to give the elderly a voucher, plus the insistence of him and his fellow Republicans that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the only firewall now stopping insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions), is a direct attack on all Americans under the age of 55, in effect telling them they are on their own, health-wise, the minute they retire.

As for Medicaid, it's not simply a program to provide health care for some poor families. In 2009 Medicaid accounted for 43% of all long-term care spending, including nursing homes and home health care for the elderly.To qualify for Medicaid assistance in most states, the elderly cannot have assets worth more that $2,000 per person, $3,000 per couple. So, the typical nursing home Medicaid recipient has already spent down all personal assets. Additionally, whatever Social Security monthly income that person has goes to make partial payment for the nursing home cost, which can be $72,000 per year or more.

Ryan wants to cut the deficit (his "plan" doesn't balance the budget) by attacking the poor and  elderly sick Americans. He prefers that to raising taxes on millionaires or looking into the tax preferences that allow corporations like General Electric to make billions in profits and pay no taxes to the U.S. government. If Ryan is serious about "saving" Medicare, I have a couple of suggestions: