Paul Ryan Disses ‘The Help’ Again

Rep. Paul Ryan takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers President

Congressman Paul Ryan after being introduced by Mitt Romney as "The Next President of the United States." Last week, Ryan revealed this his election loss left him unchastened. (TonyAlter/WikimediaCommons/CreativeCommons)

Just four months ago, Amer­i­cans told the Rom­ney-Ryan team: No.” The elec­torate reject­ed them. Many vot­ers object­ed to Mitt Rom­ney and Paul Ryan treat­ing them the way arro­gant 1 per­centers treat The Help.”

The election didn't go our way—believe me I, I know what that feels like ... That means we surrender our principles? That means we stop believing in what we believe in? ... We think we owe the country solutions to the big problems that are plaguing our nation ... We’re showing our answers.

Rep. Ryan, a Repub­li­can from Wis­con­sin, exposed his con­de­scen­sion toward the mass­es when he described 60 per­cent of Amer­i­cans as tak­ers.” Mitt Rom­ney illus­trat­ed his when he referred to 47 per­cent of Amer­i­cans as slack­ers too lazy to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their lives, a moment cap­tured on video by a mem­ber of The Help,” Scott Prouty, who was work­ing as a bar­tender at the $50,000-a-plate fundrais­er where Rom­ney said it.

Last week, Ryan revealed the elec­tion loss left him unchas­tened. He remains intent on telling The Help” what to do. The princeling of the roy­al Repub­li­can team reprised his pros­per­i­ty-for-the-rich-aus­ter­i­ty-for-the-rest bud­get. Although the pub­lic reject­ed that path in Novem­ber, Ryan con­tin­ues to insist he’s cor­rect and the major­i­ty is wrong. He doesn’t care what they want. Like any pam­pered princeling, he doesn’t tol­er­ate chal­lenges from The Help.”

He said as much at a news con­fer­ence after releas­ing a bud­get that even the con­ser­v­a­tive Wall Street Jour­nal described as near­ly a twin to the one he and Rom­ney ran on. Here’s what Ryan said after he was asked why he was push­ing ideas that the Amer­i­can peo­ple spurned in November:

The elec­tion didn’t go our way — believe me I, I know what that feels like … That means we sur­ren­der our prin­ci­ples? That means we stop believ­ing in what we believe in? … We think we owe the coun­try solu­tions to the big prob­lems that are plagu­ing our nation. … We’re show­ing our answers.”

What Ryan calls answers are the same old schemes, the ones to which the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans said, No!” But the con­sen­sus of the pop­u­lace doesn’t mat­ter to Ryan. Dur­ing the cam­paign, he and Rom­ney made it per­fect­ly clear they don’t like and don’t respect The Help.”

The con­tents of the Ryan bud­get demon­strate that as well. His pro­pos­al, like his pre­vi­ous bud­gets, would dam­age or destroy gov­ern­ment pro­grams that work­ers cher­ish, from Medicare and Med­ic­aid to Pell Grants and food stamps. While Ryan’s bud­get slash­es the liv­ing day­lights out of those, it awards the wealthy and cor­po­ra­tions addi­tion­al gigan­tic tax breaks.

He takes from the poor and gives to the rich. That’s the mot­to of medieval roy­al­ty. It’s not the reign­ing phi­los­o­phy of the 21st Century.

Amer­i­cans told him that last Novem­ber. Con­gress told him that twice pre­vi­ous­ly by refus­ing to pass either of his ear­li­er two Path to Pros­per­i­ty” bud­gets, both of which were also based on Ryan’s path-for-the prosperous-to-loot-the-people’s‑treasury concept.

Still, Ryan insists on aus­ter­i­ty for the non-rich. He demands for Amer­i­ca the gov­ern­ment-imposed asceti­cism that has dev­as­tat­ed cit­i­zens in Euro­pean nations from Great Britain to Greece. He demands for Amer­i­ca what aus­ter­i­ty did to Italy — a coun­try now reel­ing as unem­ploy­ment ris­es above 11 per­cent and1,000 busi­ness­es a day go bank­rupt.

No. The Amer­i­can peo­ple said no. They said they want­ed anoth­er way.

Con­gres­sion­al pro­gres­sives also released a bud­get last week. It’s anoth­er way. Called the Back to Work Bud­get, its pro­vi­sions are ones that a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans have sup­port­ed in poll after poll. It rais­es tax­es on the rich­est. It cre­ates jobs imme­di­ate­ly. It pro­tects social safe­ty net pro­grams like Medicare, Med­ic­aid and Social Security.

It would cre­ate as many as 7 mil­lion jobs the first year with invest­ments in infra­struc­ture, edu­ca­tion and strug­gling com­mu­ni­ties. Over time, it would cut the deficit by $4.4 tril­lion, part­ly by end­ing tax breaks for mov­ing jobs and prof­its over­seas and for lux­u­ries such as cor­po­rate jets.

The idea is to spend gov­ern­ment mon­ey imme­di­ate­ly to stim­u­late the econ­o­my and cre­ate jobs, which, in turn, will low­er gov­ern­ment costs and the deficit in the long run as less is paid out in unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, food stamps and oth­er aid, while at the same time more is paid into the gov­ern­ment in tax­es by the new­ly employed. This is stim­u­lus Ryan once believed in—of course, that’s when there was a Repub­li­can in the White House.

The Back to Work Bud­get doesn’t bal­ance. But econ­o­mists like Nobel Prize win­ner Paul Krug­man and pub­lic pol­i­cy experts like for­mer Sec­re­tary of Labor Robert Reich have repeat­ed­ly point­ed out that the fed­er­al bud­get does not have to bal­ance. It is not at all like a fam­i­ly bud­get, Reich has empha­sized. In fact, he explains, it’s cru­cial when unem­ploy­ment strains fam­i­ly bud­gets for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to spend to stim­u­late the econ­o­my and cre­ate jobs.

While Ryan claims his aus­ter­i­ty bud­get would bal­ance in 10 years, that’s high­ly doubt­ful since he cuts tax­es on the rich and nev­er explains what loop­holes he would close to off­set that mas­sive loss of income — if that’s even possible.

That’s among the bud­get secrets Ryan doesn’t deign to share with The Help.”

It’s reveal­ing that when Ryan ran for vice pres­i­dent last fall, he lost his home precinct, his home­town, his home coun­ty, and his home state. As well as the major­i­ty of the coun­try. Once Amer­i­cans got to know Paul Ryan, they didn’t like him or his ideas or his atti­tude toward them.

Ryan says he’s not going to change any­thing just because Amer­i­ca rebuffed him and his ideas. Instead, he’s order­ing Amer­i­cans to do his bid­ding. Again.

Ryan is con­fused about what his job is.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple don’t serve Paul Ryan. They’re not The Help.” He’s The Help.” And right now, by demand­ing aus­ter­i­ty that Amer­i­cans already reject­ed, Paul Ryan is back-talk­ing the boss. It’s inso­lent, insub­or­di­nate and disrespectful.

Leo Ger­ard is inter­na­tion­al pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed Steel­work­ers Union, part of the AFL-CIO. The son of a union min­er; Ger­ard start­ed work­ing at a nick­el smelter in Sud­bury, Ontario, at age 18, and rose through the union’s ranks to be appoint­ed the sev­enth inter­na­tion­al pres­i­dent Feb. 28, 2001. For more infor­ma­tion about Ger­ard, vis­it usw​.org.
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