Supposedly, President Obama hasn’t done anything to save Americas economy. It’s like the past seven years never happened for Republicans. And House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says he has a “bold, pro-growth agenda” for 2016. In his weekly address Saturday, Ryan laid out the “mission statement” of that agenda:
“We want to save the American Idea for the vast majority of Americans who believe it’s just not there for them anymore. We want America to lead again. We want America to be confident again. That is our mission.
“By giving the people a clear choice in 2016, we will seek a mandate to do big things in 2017 and beyond.”
Watch Courtesy of Speaker Ryan’s Press Office:
You’ve seen the mission statement. Here is the plan, vague and incomprehensible as anything coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth:
These discussions will focus on five areas.
First, national security. How do we go about building a 21st-century military? What do we need to do to make sure we’re equipped to defeat ISIS and the threat posed by radical Islamic terror? How do we make sure we are secure here at home?
Next, jobs and economic growth. Our economy is far from its potential. Wages are still stagnant. Families are suffering. How do we fix our tax code? How do we rein in our regulatory state? How do we maximize our energy potential?
Third, health care. Obamacare has driven up premiums, limited choices, and taken away access. These are not the signs of success – they’re the signs of failure. If and when we repeal Obamacare, what solutions will lead to lower costs and a truly patient-centered health care system?
Fourth, poverty and opportunity. There are 46 million Americans living in poverty today, and a big part of the reason is we have a safety net that catches people falling into poverty. How do we lift people up, bring them back into the workforce, and restore upward mobility?
The last piece of this agenda – and it’s so critical to all the others – is restoring the Constitution. The president’s executive overreach has undermined the Constitution and damaged the people’s trust. What needs to be done to restore the separation of powers and protect our constitutional liberties?
There are so many problems with these vaguely worded and deliberately (it is to be hoped – we don’t want to believe they’re that stupid!) misconceptions:
First, notice he puts national security at the top of his list without once mentioning the biggest threat to our national security: climate change. He doesn’t mention the domestic terrorists threatening our freedom at home, but turns the Islamic State into the new Soviet Union. He talks about being secure at home without once mentioning the scourge of gun violence and his own refusal to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists.
Next, he ignores the fact that Obama has outperformed Reagan in job growth. He ignores the fact that by the end of 2009, Obama’s economy was no longer hemorrhaging jobs but creating them. Ryan ignores that by this past summer, Obama had overseen 64 straight months of private sector job growth. Ignores that by September Obama had reached 66 months and overseen the fastest job growth pace since Bill Clinton. You’d think none of that had ever happened. But it did.
Fourth, how are Republicans going to address poverty by eliminating the safety net? Is Ryan serious that the safety net and not giving all our money to rich people and corporations who ship jobs overseas and put all that money into un-taxable foreign bank accounts, is to blame? Yes, Ryan assumes if you’re poor its because you want to be poor. It will work much better to just give all that money to rich people and corporations, because they’ll share some of it with Paul Ryan.
The last piece of his agenda, allegedly putting the Constitution first, is the biggest joke of all. This is the party that assumed, when they won a majority in Congress, that Obama’s re-election was inconsequential, that it was the Republican who had been given a mandate by the people, and that the president had to do precisely what they say. They are the ones who have violated the Constitution again and again to legislate religion, to stab the president in the back in the area of foreign policy. Executive overreach? How about legislative overreach?
You’ve already got this one figured out, I suspect: Yes, the party that nearly ran our economy into the grave is going to ‘fix’ our economy using the same policies that nearly ran our economy into the grave.
Ryan is certainly using the right language, pretending to have learned the valuable lesson of the years he pretends never happened:
“To do that, we can’t just be an opposition party. We have to be a proposition party. If we do not like the direction the country is going in – and we do not – then we have an obligation to offer an alternative.”
Well…that would be a first, wouldn’t it? Sadly, he’s saying this, but he doesn’t mean it, as the most recent attempt to repeal Obamacare demonstrates. Republicans had NO alternative health care reform options to offer. Just kill Obamacare. Period. Back to the status quo that didn’t work before and won’t work now.
The big problem with Ryan’s agenda is that as Robert Reich has demonstrated, that alternative has already been tried, and look where it got us in 2008. Ryan closes by saying, “We see it as our duty here in the people’s house to offer real ideas, to tackle the real issues head on. We want a confident America. Now it’s time to get to work.”
Real issues: like repealing Obamacare for the seventieth time? Another investigation into Benghazi after your definitive House report that there was nothing going on?
Take heed, America. Because when Republicans say they’re going to fix things, they mean they’re going to destroy all the gains we’ve made in the past seven years. That’s Paul Ryan’s one and only agenda.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.