WASHINGTON, DC, January 6, 2013 ― Love is blind. It can turn perfectly reasonable, principled, and disciplined people into “sheeple,” lemmings chasing after the object of their affection. Such has been conservatives’ relationship with Congressman Paul Ryan.
Many conservatives fell in love with Ryan after he produced his budget proposal and after his run for the vice presidency. However, his recent vote to increase taxes while increasing the debt by $4 trillion left many feeling betrayed. His vote for new debt was nothing different from his career as a Big Government Republican.
“You know if you take Paul Ryan’s vote last night plus the Medicare drug benefit plan, that’s $11 trillion in new debt … you know suddenly he’s off the top of my list of being a fiscal hawk” Joe Scarborough said on Morning Joe. That only scratched the surface of Paul Ryan’s record of debt. Scarborough did not include Ryan’s votes for No Child Left Behind, TARP, the AIG bill, the auto bailouts, and many other bills, which along with the Fiscal Cliff deal would account for close to $11 trillion in deficit spending, according to the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund. (We should note that their list includes tax cuts, which are not considered deficit spending by conservatives).
Another high profile conservative, Redstate.com editor Eric Erickson wrote, “Paul Ryan is a creature of Washington. He was a Hill staffer. He was a think tanker. Then he went back as a Congressman.” Despite his argument that Paul Ryan is not the standard-bearer for fiscal conservatism, Erickson doesn’t stop at praising his positive effects on Romney during the election. Ryan’s contributions to the campaign included losing a debate to Joe Biden, failing to carry his home state of Wisconsin, and even losing the county he was born and raised in, and currently represents parts of in congress – all by a margin of 23 percent.
Other fiscal hawks that look to Ryan’s budget as an example of how conservatives can produce a balance budget in the future are giving him the benefit of the doubt. Any real fiscal conservative must come clean that we need to reduce military spending. Saying that does not make you an isolationist any more than calling someone who wants to reduce medical spending is a witchdoctor. Ryan’s budget doesn’t have any real cuts to military spending and the Pentagon.
Paul Ryan made the statement, “the debt crisis is coming to our country; the wall and tidal wave of debt that is befalling our nation.” So in responding to this “tidal wave,” the Ryan Budget puts our nation in a surplus after 2040, but only if the economy grows without a recession until then.
Many conservatives scoffed at the plan, calling it unreliable and arguing that it took too long to balance the budget. Last year Congressman Ryan revised his plan using unrealistic economic growth forecasts, stating that we could balance the budget by 2019. When all is said and done, the Ryan Budget – unlikely ever to be adopted into law – is, to quote a former President, “voodoo economics.”
Despite voting to increase the debt ceiling and voting for deficit spending, Ryan created the image of being a fiscal hawk. It took his vote to raise taxes for some conservatives to finally make people realize that Paul Ryan is not the man they thought he was. Some call him a “hack,” a “fake,” a “disappointment.”
He is in fact just a politician, and politicians come in only two forms: as prophets or prostitutes. Prophets are few and far between, they don’t last long and never receive the respect they deserve during their public service. Prostitutes serve for decades, become lobbyists, and grow wealthy selling access to the state they helped to grow. Like the Republican Party, Congressman Ryan is better at conservative rhetoric than conservative policies.
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