Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Ryan used to be a little less crazy than he is now

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan spent much of the last week trying to explain why he signed multiple letters seeking $20 million in stimulus funds for an energy company in his district. Ryan is a staunch opponent of President Obama's stimulus program, which those funds came from, claiming that stimulus is a "wasteful spending spree."

As it turns out, Ryan's stimulus hypocrisy extends back at least an entire decade. In 2002, Republican President George W. Bush proposed a similar — if less ambitious — stimulus plan to the one President Obama signed in 2009. Like Obama, Bush sought to goose the economy through an influx of public sector cash. His stimulus plan included an extension of unemployment benefits and a plan to mail checks directly to millions of Americans. Ryan took to the House floor to defend this plan, accurately noting that additional government spending would help move the economy out of a recession.

Specifically, for example, he said this:

We have a lot of laid off workers, and more layoffs are occurring. And we know, as a historical fact, that even if our economy begins to slowly recover, unemployment is going to linger on and on well after that recovery takes place. What we have been trying to do starting in October and into December and now is to try and get people back to work. The things we're trying to pass in this bill are the time-tested, proven, bipartisan solutions to get businesses to stop laying off people, to hire people back, and to help those people who have lost their jobs.

Wait... Paul Ryan... a Keynesian? (Gasp!)

Well, sort of, to the extent that any sensible person is a Keynesian to some degree, but... well, no, not really.
What he was, and what he has always been, is a partisan, and so what was good for Bush was good for him, whereas whatever Obama does is always bad. He wasn't a deficit hawk when a Republican president was spending wildly, and he's only against stimulus when it's a Democratic one promoting it.

Paul has built up a reputation as a serious, courageous "ideas" man, as someone willing to speak truth to power. This is nothing but a lie.

Indeed, if there's any consistency to Ryan, it isn't so much that he's a committed supply-sider, it's that he's a shameless partisan, the very opposite of his reputation.

And that he's a relentless trickle-downer who's always looking out for the rich. As TP notes, "[C]ome boom time or recession, budget surpluses or budget deficits, Ryan always supports tax cuts for the very wealthy."

And that's really the core of the Republican agenda anyway. Is it really any wonder Republicans think he's so awesome?

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