Let’s begin with the Iraq War Resolution, which was supported by far too many
members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Ryan was a solid “Yay” for
this resolution. This tragic distraction ended up costing well over $800
billion, mostly funded through emergency supplemental appropriations bills
that were conveniently not included in the deficit until 2010. Simply: There
is no better example of wasteful spending in the last few decades than the
Iraq War. And Paul Ryan voted for it.
he Bush Tax Breaks
Euphemistically called the “Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act
of 2001” and the “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,” the
Bush Tax Breaks are the primary engines of our budget deficit. They both
include the word “Reconciliation” because unlike most Senate business, they
were passed by a slim majority vote in the upper house. Reconciliation was
designed to make cutting the deficit and debt easier. In this case, the Bush
Tax Breaks are responsible for about a trillion dollars in their first decade.
These cuts, which were supposed to grow the economy,led
to the worst decade of job growthsince
World War II. And Paul Ryan didn’t just vote for them—he’d like to make them
permanent and then take millionaires like Mitt Romney’stax
rate below one percent.
Medicare Part D
It’s difficult to imagine that Medicare Part D was anything but a cynical
attempt to pander to seniors who vote while adding a burden that would
eventually crush Medicare. The program added a needed benefit—coverage for the
cost of prescription medicine—while providing no funding it. The bill also
prohibited the government from negotiating with drug makers for better rates
(as we do for Veterans’ drug coverage.) Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which
closes the loophole in the Medicare Part D that costs seniors up to $250 a
year, Medicare Part D adds hundreds of billions to the deficit.
How did Paul Ryan vote on this bill? Aye, of course.
he Sensenbrenner Bill
It’s been called “the
most oppressive and discriminatory legislation of the last decade.” This
bill could have criminalized anyone who provided any aide to an undocumented
immigrant including those running soup kitchens. It also punished any city
that sought to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants and took away due
process of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The bill died
in the Senate but not before Paul Ryan voted for it in the House.
“This bill offends my principles,” Paul Ryan said in speech supporting TARP in
the U.S. House of Representatives. “But I’m going to vote for this bill in
order to preserve my principles…” This is the kind of logic that makes Paul
Ryan Paul Ryan. He’ll be a part of a system that transfers billions in wealth
to the richest one percent and engages in useless wars. But when it’s time to
stop an economic catastrophe he wants you to know he’s offended. TARP came
after a long trial of blunders that led to the financial crisis. But it’s
important to remember that the of the worst decisions of that era — from the
repeal of Glass Steagall to the tax breaks that incentivized financial fraud —
all bear Paul Ryan’s stamp of approval.