The Paul Ryan Primer

(….or, everything you didn’t think you’d already know about Willard Romney’s veep pick).

1) In a Willard/Paul administration, you’re on your own, pal. Rep. Ryan is a devotee of Ayn Rand and, as such, espouses policies that strangle any sense of altruism or charity. These days, modern-day Randians will suggest charity is the work of the church, conveniently forgetting that Ayn Rand condemned Christianity and thought charity was “evil.” She also thought feminism was “phony” and Arabs were “savages.”

Paul Ryan hands out copies of Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to all his interns, strongly suggesting that if they’re going to work in his offices, they should be familiar with its philosophies. He gives her sole credit for seeking office, and is tireless in his efforts  to enact her extreme views as public policy. At least – he *used to* give her credit.

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” That’s what Paul Ryan said a few years ago. It was only when his draconian policies were connected to Ayn Rand (“the reason I got involved in public service, by and large”), that Ryan said “I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. … If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.”

How convenient. How transparent. One might even label the statement hypocritical – and they would be correct. What a putz.

2) Get ready to pay a LOT more taxes, unless your current annual income is over a million dollars a year. Millionaires get a tax break. In broad strokes, the progressive tax structure is eliminated, and replaced with a 25% top tax rate, with everyone else paying 10%. This is designed to appeal to a huge majority of Americans who currently are paying between 28 and 35% to the IRS – but it leaves quite a few things they enjoy on the table. Earned Income Tax Credit? Gone. Deductions for your kids? Not under Ryan’s plan. You say you’re a poor college student and want to deduct your tuition loans? No, no, no … Ayn Rand would see that as “socialism” – so it’s out.

Once you add up all the programs the “Ryan Plan” decimates, you pay more, and billionaires pay less. Which is why billionaires founded and donate heavily to TEA Party groups across the country. Wait, you didn’t know that?

3) Paul Ryan wants to give your Social Security funds to the people responsible for the financial disaster of 2007: Wall Street bankers. George W. Bush tried to give your retirement savings to Wall Street in 2005. Had he been successful, there would be no Social Security today.

4) The “Ryan Budget” includes putting 4.1 million Americans out of a job. That’ll sure help the economic recovery, huh?

5) Seniors will pay more for healthcare (if their Wall Street Social Security fund has a good quarter and can pay a dividend … if not, they’ll just get sick). The idea is to send old folks a voucher and throw them to the wolves in the insurance industry. Who wants to sell a policy to an individual they KNOW is going to cost them a LOT of money” Gee, that should go well, wouldn’t you say?

6) If you’re smart (think Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” smart), but poor – you’re NOT going to college to become a productive member of society. That vaccine you might discover? Flying car you want to design? American ingenuity and untapped potential aplenty? No, sorry – we don’t plan to invest in America’s future during a Willard/Paul administration. From the folks who crunch those kinds of numbers, one million students won’t get help attending college.

7) Romney-Ryan 2012 will continue to give big oil approximately $40 BILLION in subsidies (despite the fact that the industry is earning record profits and pays less than 4% on those profits in taxes). Fun fact: Paul Ryan and his wife are heavily invested in oil and this legislation will make him rich. I mean, like really, really rich. Not rich like *Mittens* … but, you know, never work a day in your life again rich. True story.

8) Paul Ryan was a co-sponsor of the “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which sounds fine. Human life is sacred, right? Sadly, by giving a fertilized egg “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood,” you also do away with some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization. Oops.

 

A history of violence.

Meet Gregory Peterson, a high-profile Republican fundraiser for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Mr. Peterson was arrested last week for “nine counts of forcible sexual abuse, seven counts of rape, three counts of object rape, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, assault, burglary and sexual battery.”

Gregory Peterson holds an MBA in Finance & Entrepreneurship from Brigham Young University and was co-chair of the Romney fundraiser in the *same cabin* where he [allegedly] raped his victims. He is currently in the Salt Lake County jail.

We didn’t break that.

Seriously, with all the furor over the president’s ill-chosen analogy, Republicans haven’t had a chance to look in the mirror lately. (How many ice cream vendors have built bridges that allow customers to get to their shop … or ‘shoppe’? How many manufacturing firms built a global peer-to-peer computer network to talk to suppliers and customers? None? Okay then.)

Someone made a disparaging, unfounded and spurious charge about the irresponsible nature of President Obama and his handling of “the people’s money.” So I wrote him a note. No, it wasn’t the guy in the photo, but he’s been busy lying, too. Here’s what I said:

What you need to do, is stop believing what you’re *told* is the problem. “Obama’s an irresponsible spendthrift and we need to cut government services for the ‘lazy’ and ‘irresponsible’ and stop giving away other people’s money?” That’s the charge, in its many and varied iterations, that is parroted back most often. Whether the discussion is government programs, the deficit, or ‘the shameful waste of government’ vs. ‘the lean, mean fighting machine of capitalism’, facts seem to bounce off right-wing cerebrums with equal ease.

This fiscal year the deficit will total around 7.6% – which is not good. What is good, is that next year the number will be 6.3% and by 2014 down to 5.8%. Ronald Reagan struggled with the economy, too – running an annual deficit of 6% in 1983 – but just as the current administration is doing – whittled it down until we were in surplus again by 1998. Of course, Ronald Reagan also tripled the national debt, raised the debt ceiling SEVENTEEN times and raised taxes (after famously cutting them).

Reagan’s tax increases didn’t put the burden back on Americans equally, though – it was mostly on the backs of the working class (the same poor sods who keep electing Republicans because .. guns! … gays … God!). Oh yeah, President Reagan also took money out of the Social Security trust fund to bring his budget back from the brink of deficit Hell. But, as a Republican icon of ‘anti-government’ toughness – none of these FACTS about Reagan are fair game in any rational discussion of where the country is today, right?

Our annual budget deficit was 30.3% in 1943, but America had a war to win back then – so we all pitched in: we rationed food, gas and planted victory gardens. In 2003, our president told us to “go shopping,” put the war effort on the country’s credit card (but never, EVER on the actual BUDGET), and outsourced over half the effort to third world nations (can you say Halliburton hired boatloads of workers from the Republic of the Philippines to do American jobs? I knew you could.)

Yes, Dick Cheney’s idea to “privatize” the military has been a total success – for Dick Cheney and his pals. For the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines – not so much. How many servicemen were electrocuted in the showers before America started paying attention? Remember the “hillbilly Humvee armor?” Yes please – fewer services and increased costs! It’s the American way!

Each year, the loopholes and deductions available only to the wealthiest Americans costs this country approximately $1.7 TRILLION in lost revenue. It dribbles out of our Treasury in itemized tax deductions – $77,000 for a pet horse owned by Ann Romney here – a quarter million in a tax haven there. What you do, is move money from a candidate’s right pants pocket, to his left – sheltering the cash in a stock that doesn’t actually GO to the needy – but keeps the charity portfolio strong, allowing them to keep their Park Avenue offices open – ready, willing and able to help poor fat-cats find shelter from the IRS storm.

And yes – it may be a tax deduction today, but it’s still available for buying a new dressage horse, should the Romneys decide at a later date to cash in the stock. You know what happens when the uber-rich don’t pay their taxes? Greece.

In the words of Senator Lindsey Graham

“I don’t blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage…It’s a game we play.

Every American tries to find the way to get the most deductions they can. I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game.”

The only problem with that statement, of course, is that there is a completely different set of rules for those that have, and those who have to work for a living. Which may explain why House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote a loophole for himself into the STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge).

The Senate bill required reporting of any transaction over $1,000 within 45 days by both members of Congress, staff and family. Simple and straightforward language. In the House version, Cantor exempted family members from the reporting rule – so if you talk about your workday and it just so happens that you mention insider information which will send a stock price higher – how can that member of Congress be held accountable if their SPOUSE cashes in on that knowledge? I mean, really? Actually, they can’t.

Cantor also stripped out the language which required lobbyists to register their involvement in the House of Representatives, and the portion of the law that took away pension payments from members of Congress found to be corrupt. So if you’re found guilty of a felony – it’s good to be a member of the United States Congress.

But yeah – Obama’s the problem. I can see the new attack ad as if it were this afternoon: “Obama supporter now admits: “OBAMA’S THE PROBLEM.” And not one trace of irony was noted. Bravo – well played.