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David Sirota
David Sirota
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Who Is Paul Ryan?

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Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan admires Ayn Rand, and if you believe Republican Party mythology, Ryan is a messianic John Galt who will save America from a secret socialist conspiracy. Thus, in Rand fashion, it's worth asking: Who Is Paul Ryan?

The answer is simple: the GOP's presumptive vice presidential nominee is the 21st century's flesh-and-blood embodiment of political deception and media obfuscation.

Purporting to be a small-government budget hawk, Ryan publicly decries corporate welfare and says he wants "to get Washington out of the business of picking winners and losers." This has generated press coverage promoting Ryan as a great fiscal conservative. Yet, written out of the story is the fact that Ryan is a Huge Government Republican who voted for — and in some cases, still defends — the biggest examples of corporate welfare in American history.

Ryan, you see, was the Huge Government Republican who backed this era's massive corporate bailouts — the one who picked politically connected companies as winners and taxpayers as losers. He was the Huge Government Republican who regularly voted for profligate war spending bills — the ones that blew a gaping hole in the federal budget. And he is the Huge Government Republican now using his committee chairmanship to oppose serious cuts to the deficit-exploding corporate welfare still embedded in the bloated Pentagon budget.

Similarly, Ryan claims to be, and is billed in the press as, a libertarian-inspired acolyte of Rand — a man who supposedly values freedom and limited government. But as a Huge Government Republican, he has consistently voted to expand the surveillance state, endorse warrantless wiretapping and permit indefinite detention. Oh, and in contradiction to Rand's writings, he has also pushed to use the power of Huge Government to end a woman's right to choose an abortion.

Like so many Republicans, Ryan genuflects to the private sector and insinuates that the government is not a job creator.

It's funny coming from a guy who has spent most of his adult life as a federal employee and whose family's construction company brags of building its fortune off government highway contracts.

Ryan labels himself an opponent of "crony capitalism" and is often promoted by reporters as someone who can help Mitt Romney thwart the Washington insiders who corrupt our politics. Somehow, we are expected to ignore the fact that Ryan has spent the vast majority of his adult life in Washington; that his wife served as a top pharmaceutical and oil lobbyist in Washington; and that, as Newsweek reported in 2011, he tried to insert special provisions into federal law that would boost his personal oil investment portfolio.

Then there are Ryan's budget proposals, whose central premises are that Medicare must be gutted and Social Security must be turned over to Wall Street because we allegedly don't have enough revenue to fund them. In response, the press often credits Ryan's blueprint for being courageous and honest. Yet, in the very same plans, Ryan proposes to severely deplete public revenues by eliminating all taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends, meaning that, according to The Atlantic magazine, Mitt Romney would pay a 0.82 percent tax rate on his $21 million annual earnings.

Republican powerbrokers, of course, hope you never learn any of this. They hope you and an obsequious press don't bother to review Ryan's congressional votes or his legislative history. They are hoping, in other words, that when you see Ryan's boyish Midwestern visage, you won't see the real Ryan — and you won't see what his ascent to vice president might mean for the future of America.

David Sirota is a best-selling author of the new book "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now." He co-hosts "The Rundown" on AM630 KHOW in Colorado. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

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Comments

7 Comments | Post Comment
The truth is that Republican's love government -- when it shovels our taxpayer dollars to them and their rich buddies. But what they really hate is when government helps the rest of us; the bottom 99%.

It should be obvious by now to everyone that Republicans are simply major-league hypocrites who are detached from fact and reality. They will say anything, even if it contradicts what they said just 5 minutes earlier, just to spin current events to their political advantage. They know that their Kool-Aid drinking followers are too stupid to question anything they spew forth and have absolutely no ability to experience the slightest cognitive dissonance with the two conflicting thoughts floating around the empty space in their heads.

The Ryan VP pick makes perfect sense and completes the Corporate-Plutocrat ticket. Romney/Ryan is the Koch brothers wet dream ticket. If these two get their hands on our government you can kiss our democracy goodbye and start getting ready to worship at the alter of Big Corporate Government! Only the uber-rich will truly be free of the corporate shackles. Will the Tea Baggers still yell at them to "take your government hands off my Medicare"? Very doubtful.
Comment: #1
Posted by: A Smith
Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:47 PM
Re: A Smith Ryan is too conservative. Oh, wait, Ryan is too liberal. Ryan is a hypocrite. Ryan is.... And yet, it's obama who gutted Medicare to pay for obamcare and said that "First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." The Ryan plan does not affect anyone over 55, Obamacare will add $1.7 TRILLION to the deficit, etc., etc., etc. Neither, ASmith nor DSirota are being honest.
Comment: #2
Posted by: David Henricks
Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:57 AM
David might not be 100 % honest, but he brings up some good points about how Ryan is just another one of "them". Plutocrats that have an interest in keeping this corrupt system the same. He's not a real reformer. Ryan and Romney will be slightly less destructive than BHO and homeboy G-unit gangsta Biden.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:36 AM
If you allow David Sirota to answer the question "Who is Paul Ryan," would you then allow Rush Limbaugh to define who Obama is?
Comment: #4
Posted by: oddsox
Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:46 PM
Re: oddsox,

You putting dumbaugh in the same category as a legitimate journalist is, to say the best about both you and dumbaugh,...odd!!
Comment: #5
Posted by: morgan
Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:18 PM
There is a reason why there are no politicians as Oath Keepers. The issue here is an issue of law, not politics. Every public servant who swears to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, and who does not, does not represent the people. If what Paul Ryan has done is consistent with the limitations imposed by the Constitution, then he has clean hands. If not, he's just another lawless politician. It is difficult for me to understand how an elected representative of the people can consciously swear an oath of office and then totally ignore their oath. Maybe Doug Casey is right - the government is run by sociopaths. If so, the whole government needs to be replaced, not just the miscreants working in it. So, where are the states... those sovereign entities who created the federal government to perform certain limited functions for the states and for the people? Why aren't the states protecting their people from the federal lawlessness and tyranny?
Comment: #6
Posted by: HighlanderJuan
Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:39 PM
There is a reason why there are no politicians as Oath Keepers. The issue here is an issue of law, not politics. Every public servant who swears to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, and who does not, does not represent the people. If what Paul Ryan has done is consistent with the limitations imposed by the Constitution, then he has clean hands. If not, he's just another lawless politician. It is difficult for me to understand how an elected representative of the people can consciously swear an oath of office and then totally ignore their oath. Maybe Doug Casey is right - the government is run by sociopaths. If so, the whole government needs to be replaced, not just the miscreants working in it. So, where are the states... those sovereign entities who created the federal government to perform certain limited functions for the states and for the people? Why aren't the states protecting their people from the federal lawlessness and tyranny?
Comment: #7
Posted by: HighlanderJuan
Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:42 PM
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