Who Is Paul Ryan, Anyway?
Paul Ryan has been in Congress for 14 years but has only recently come to prominence as the godfather of the controversial Ryan Budget. I got to wondering , just what was Congressman Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin, doing for all those years before he became a belt tightening budget guru, the darling of the Tea Party and Mitt Romney's running mate?
Most specifically, I started wondering what he was up to during the Bush Administration, when the deficit was created. (Remember that when Bush came into office there was a budget surplus which he proceeded to distribute in the form of $200. checks. Bush then started two wars and lowered taxes so there would be no money to pay for them) Where was Ryan the fiscal conservative when all this was going on?
Turns out I'm not the only one wondering. Dylan Matthews has written a well researched, exhaustive post on Ezra Klein's blog over at the Washington Post on this very topic. Take a look. It's a real eye opener
Of particular interest is what Dylan had to say about Paul Ryan's co-sponsorship of the Social Security Personal Savings Guarantee and Prosperity Act of 2005, a proposal that even the Bush Administration considered too radical.
In spite of all that legislative activity, Ryan, according to the Huffington Post, has only managed to get two of his bills passed into law in almost 14 years in Congress.How about that for a stellar record? One of these bills concerned renaming a local Wisconsin post office and the other involved an excise tax on arrows(as in archery, bows and arrows, hunting and all that) Really?"The Social Security Administration concluded that the Ryan-Sununu plan would require huge increases in general budget revenue to make up the shortfall left in payroll tax revenue. Specifically, revenue would have to increase by 1.5 percent of GDP every year, an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found, or about $225 billion at current GDP. That’s a big honking tax hike. What’s more, under the plan, investments in the stock and bond markets would skyrocket such that by 2050, every single stock or bond in the United States would be owned by a Social Security account. This would mean that the portfolio managers at the Social Security Administration would more or less control the entire means of production in the United States."
The third thing I discovered about Paul Ryan by rooting around on the internet, is that his foreign policy experience, like that of his running mate, Mitt Romney,is remarkably thin. Check out this excellent piece by Abby Huntsman on this topic. The guy knows zero, zip, nada about anyplace outside the USA. Not cool, as Mitt demonstrated his own ineptitude in terms of foreign policy finesse quite dramatically on his recent trip abroad. In fact, former Bush administration State Department official Christian Whiton had this to say on Paul Ryan's lack of foreign policy experience on Fox News this past Saturday.
“Paul Ryan has said relatively little about foreign affairs and when he has it generally is brought back to his portfolio as head of the finance committee, so he’ll talk about how it’s important for America to thrive economically, to not appear to be in decline…But unfortunately what we don’t have from either the top or bottom of this ticket is a clear message on how these people will see the world and react to world events when they get into the White House if they do.”