In his swan song press conference Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said “I have accomplished much of what I came here to do.” He said that “tax reform and rebuilding the military” were his two big achievements as a Republican leader in Congress.
Unfortunately for America’s middle class, he also said that he has more to “accomplish” before he retires.
“I want be clear here,” Ryan said. “I’m not done yet. I’m going to run through the tape.”
Wednesday morning Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader, said that the Speaker has been “a transformational conservative leader.” He added that Ryan’s “legacy” would be last year’s “tax reform” as well as engineering large increases in military spending for the country.
I think we need to take a closer look at this legacy and see if he has really been serving the country well during his tenure in Congress.
With respect to the tax bill passed last December, the Republicans call it “reform” but Democrats and most other people know it is nothing but a massive ($1.5 trillion) tax cut for America’s super-rich and large corporations.
Not only that, but the tax cut for billionaires was coupled with massive increases in military and defense spending which now top $700 billion per year. With Ryan at the helm the Republican Party long ago gave up have a claim to the title of the “fiscally responsible party.”
It’s gotten so bad that even the right-leaning ‘American Conservative’ magazine recently published an article entitled “America is Bankrupt and Republicans Couldn’t Care Less.” This article makes the argument that “America’s war spending has already bankrupted the nation” and our national debt has recently been projected to exceed $21 trillion this year (which by the way is over $82,000 for every man, woman and child in America).
To make things worse, the totally irresponsible Trump Administration is asking Congress to approve a $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2019 that would add $7 trillion to the already unsustainable federal deficit.
The purpose of this large increase in the deficit is simple: the elite autocracy needs us to pay them to sustain America’s military empire abroad AS WELL AS expand the police state here at home.
To rub salt in the wounds of course Trump also wants us to pay for building the ridiculous Mexican border wall. Why not? We’ll just borrow more money to do it.
Forbes magazine has called Trump “the biggest deficit- and debt-increasing president of all time.”
Given these spending increases the Republican tax cuts for billionaires is almost criminal. The military/police buildup is being funded by borrowing from foreign governments and from the Social Security Trust Fund.
We can foresee a time when the so-called “entitlements” that Paul Ryan hates so much and has tried to end (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) will be cut back further. The Republicans — building on Ryan’s “legacy”– will then claim we can’t afford “entitlements” which of course will only be true because of the trillions of dollars squandered on the military. What do they care if people starve and can’t afford healthcare?
Trump’s budget requests $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven “war on crime” and “war on terrorism.”
History shows that military empires fall by spending too much and spreading themselves too thin. And that is what is happening to the United States of America.
The legacy of Paul Ryan will be a bankrupt America. No wonder he is fleeing the scene of his crimes.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.