Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lyin' Ryan

In a reoccurring 'why does the media present certain persons as experts able to comment on specific issues when there is clear evidence to discredit their ideas' theme of mine, the Journal Sentinel recently (yet again!) gave Paul Ryan a platform to purvey his platitudes and fallacious "ideas."

There is a lot about grandchildren, crushing debt, opportunity, job creation, and the usual Republican cliches which are spewed when they are trying to appear seriously concerned about governing.

He mythologizes right from the start, "Each generation applying our timeless principles to the challenges of the day, has worked to ensure that the next generation would inherit an America that was stronger, more prosperous, and more secure. "

What challenges have we met lately? Climate, poverty, unemployment, or health care? Wages for workers have stagnated since the 1970s. The economy has grown, but only a select few have shared in the bounty. We are involved in war, strifes, and turmoil all over the world. This flag-waving triteness appeals to our emotions, but it doesn't accurately portray reality nor give us the policies for a shared prosperity.

He goes on to inflate the notion of a vacuous "crushing burden of debt". Ronald Reagan tripled our debt, George W. Bush doubled it. Unbridled free market adulation, as practiced by the Republicans, has left this country increasingly in debt. So, sorry if I could care less when a Republican starts to feign seriousness when discussing debt. When they are cutting taxes and starting unnecessary wars, simultaneously talking about a lack of revenues for programs, and concurrently concocting new breaks and giveaways to business, the earnestness of their concern about debt is in question. Republicans are not serious public servants. But they are seriously organized in their devotion to the needs of their corporate masters.

Paul talks about unsustainable health care and retirement. President Obama's health care reform is predicted to save $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. Yet Republicans are against these reforms. The Republican-favored 401Ks have increased instability in retirement. Plus, the most stable and solvent program, Social Security, is one right-wingers want to privatize. Here again, the supposed seriousness of the Republicans regarding these issues is in question.

Ryan even specifically states that whatever we do about anything, we cannot have policies that force citizens to reorganize their lives. Under no circumstances must American citizens be asked to change their behavior. We must not acknowledge the realities of: income inequality, the failure of deregulation and tax cuts, nor climate change. Consume all you can, drive whatever you like, and run-up your credits cards buying unneeded waste. Lead the disposable life because, now, you're the disposable American.

But, and this isn't debatable, we can't allow the government to govern in the best interest of the majority of citizens. Especially if it might affect the quarterly statements of the Fortune 500. This, again, shows Republicans' trivialization of reality.

He erroneously claims debt is discouraging job creation. Republicans seem willfully ignorant, and happy to pass on that ignorance, about the recession we're in. People are out of work, they don't have money to spend, therefore, demand is down. When people aren't buying as many things, businesses do not increase capacity. Right-wing, pro-business policies are a never-ending spiral of cruelty aimed at sucking every last productive gasp out of workers. A race ever-faster toward the bottom.

In a final spewing of desperation, Ryan blames retirees with decent health care and retirement plans for the trouble of our "proudest industries". This is top-down, class warfare, misdirection. The 'entitlements' of the working class are too onerous on business. A healthy workforce with the ability to retire after decades of service is too much. Absent from the discussion is the proper context which would include a deliberation about income inequality and the vast sums a select few of very well-connected persons disproportionately control. Harley-Davidson CEO, Keith Wandell, made $6.4 million in 2010. His one-year compensation is the equivalent of 134 median-earning union workers.

These aren't thoughtful policy platforms with the gravity necessary of each specific issue. This is the same old Republican snake-oil in its latest configuration. Don't buy it.

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