It has indeed been interesting to observe the circus in the House as Republicans struggled to find a replacement for corrupt John Boehner. Briefly it appeared there would be a blatant extremist taking the head job until Republicans convinced Paul Ryan to take up the job, albeit with conditions.
What is curious is that the media and many pundits are wondering how Ryan will fare any better than John Boehner in dealing with the extremists in the Republican caucus; what with Ryan being such a moderate and conservatives’ highly-regarded budget wonk and all. However, to label Paul Ryan a moderate, or assume that he will have any issues with the extremists in the House Freedom Caucus, is tantamount to calling Ted Cruz a compassionate progressive who is too liberal for the likes of Bernie Sanders.
It is true that most Republicans embrace the same Koch brother economic agenda and vision of a libertarian America; some are just more intense and favor extreme measures to achieve their goals. Paul Ryan embraces the Koch’s vision of America void of a government, he just has a longer-term plan to shut down the government for good than GOP extremists who want regular short term shutdowns for concessions.
Some Americans are aware that Paul Ryan intends on privatizing both Social Security and Medicare, but they may be unaware that Ryan has indicated that he wants to shut down the federal government with the same resolve as the extremists in the House Freedom Caucus; but instead of shut-down for hostages, Ryan wants to shut down the government permanently. Although he has never said it out loud, he has telegraphed the message for the past three years through his Heritage Foundation budgets in the sense that they effectively “take away all money for the non-military portion of the federal budget.”
Departments and agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, the Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, CIA, Environmental Protection Agency, Security and Exchange Commission, Election Commission, and every other federal government entity will be defunded out of existence; the Koch brothers’ dream come true. What that means is middle class and poor Americans will pay taxes solely to maintain the military and nothing else. In Ryan’s’ budget, the rich and corporations’ tax liabilities will be zero because there will be no government to fund.
For some odd reason the media has embraced the Republican mantra that Paul Ryan is some kind of budget wonk even though his budget numbers have never worked out according to real “budget wonks;” including those at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. As an aside, Ryan and Boehner changed the CBOs scoring process so now it works according to the Heritage Foundation rules to guarantee that eliminating taxes for the rich and corporations looks like a giant revenue creator. What does work extremely well in Ryan’s budgets is progressively eliminating any federal spending whatsoever except for the military. Fortunately, Ryan provided the proof in his budget and it likely endeared him as Speaker of the House to the extremist wing in Congress.
After Democrats sat out the 2010 midterms and handed control of the House to Republicans in 2011, Ryan became chair of the House Budget Committee and conspired with the Heritage Foundation to devise a budget that achieved all of the Koch brothers’ dreams and goals. To make sure his budget numbers were right and he could effectively wipe out the federal government, albeit later than the Kochs want, Ryan directed the Congressional Budget Office to score his budget plans. Much to his satisfaction as a “brilliant conservative budget wonk,” the non-partisan score of his plan showed the entire federal budget shrinking to just 3.5 percent of GDP by 2050 (page 16). That number may not mean much to non-budget wonks, but to put into the terrifying perspective it demands; 3.5 percent is “roughly equal to current spending on the military.”
Ryan has indicated that he, like all Republicans, will not allow the military budget to be cut and includes regular increases in his budgets as a matter of course., That leaves absolutely no money for any government entity, the Veterans Administration, social safety nets, domestic programs, infrastructure spending or anything else whatsoever. If Republicans are successful and implement Ryan’s, or any of his Republican cohorts budget proposals, within 35 years America will have just enough money to pay for the military and nothing else. It is the Koch brothers, House Freedom Caucus, Tea Party, Senate Conservatives Fund, and Grover Norquist’s ultimate dream come true; ending the federal government and everything it entails.
Stunningly there are Americans, journalists, and pundits who believe that Ryan is some kind of moderate who may have issues dealing with the extremists in the party. The only difference between the extremists and Ryan is how soon, and for how long, they are able to shut down the government. If Ryan was the “moderate” the media and many pundits claim, the House Freedom Caucus would not have afforded him one vote of support, and despite appearances and speech, Ryan is no moderate and is likely as extreme as any Republican in Congress; he just knows how to put a “kinder” face on his extremism like his self-designation as the face of compassionate conservatism. Remember, the one person on Earth who impacted Ryan’s worldview more than any other, and informs his ideology of greed and contempt, is a character in a work of fiction by Ayn Rand.
The media is grossly remiss in not identifying Paul Ryan as religiously and economically extreme as any member of the House Freedom Caucus, and the notion of him having an ounce of compassion for any American would be farcical if it was not so appallingly false. Ryan has never heard of a social program or safety net that cannot be eliminated, and has specifically targeted the middle class to drive the entire population into poverty. It is noteworthy to mention that earlier this year Ryan conducted a “big study” of America’s anti-poverty programs and declared them failures; not because he intends on fixing them, but to cut them to death to pay for tax cuts for the rich.
Paul Ryan is no budget wonk regardless what Republicans and the mainstream media claim because his budgets were never intended to work for a functioning government; they work for the rich, corporations, and anti-government conservative and libertarian extremists. Those extremists, whether they reside as members of the House Freedom Caucus and Senate Conservatives Fund, or are billionaire oil magnates and anti-tax crusaders, greatest wish is America without a federal government and Paul Ryan has a plan to grant their wish.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.