Koch Brothers darling Multi Millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan is leaping back on to the national stage as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was initially hesitant citing family concerns (despite the fact he is an opponent of paid leave for ordinary Americans) but eventually was swayed by other GOP leaders to take the job. Ryan, who seems fixated on reducing retirement benefits for both the American public and especially federal workers, will have a larger platform to try to make these cuts a reality. Clearly these ideas are unpopular to many but as Paul Krugman brilliantly stated, Ryan is “the best con man they got.” Republicans are using him to sell their treasure trove of unpopular policies to the apathetic American Public
Ryan was an architect of George Bush’s failed plan to partially privatize Social Security in 2005. More recently Ryan has teamed up with Congressman Darrell Issa to push the idea of reducing Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits for Federal Workers. In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office they emphasized that the CBO should consider “different options for reforming FERS, based on changes made in recent years to other large pension plans, both public and private. The report should include, but not limit itself to, adjusting the retirement contributions of federal employees, altering the formula for computing pension benefit payments, and expanding the defined contribution component while reducing the defined benefit component.” This sounds quite ominous for Federal Workers. The intent is crystal clear.
As outlined in The New Yorker Ryan believes the only reason privatization failed in 2005 was because of the way it was marketed.
“The Administration did a bad job of selling it,” he told me. Bush had campaigned on national-security issues, only to pitch Social Security reform after reelection. “And . . . thud,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to prepare the country for these things. You can’t just spring it on them after you win.” The lesson: “Don’t let the engineers run the marketing department.”
Here is where the job of being an elite con man comes into play.
After repeatedly emphasizing he did not want the Speaker’s job he abruptly changed his mind and accepted it. Publicly he worried that “its a job for a empty nester” not a person with young children. “I cannot and will not give up my family time,” he told reporters before abruptly changing his mind. Curiously Ryan has been a staunch opponent of paid family leave despite the fact the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer paid family leave. Astonishingly this country ranks last in government supported time off for new parents.
“Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job’s impact on his spouse and children,” said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “Yet [he] isn’t willing to guarantee that all workers… have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations.”
“For workers without paid family leave, taking time off to care for a new baby or a seriously ill loved one can have devastating long-term financial consequences, ranging from racking up credit card debt to raiding savings to bankruptcy,” Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, told ABC News. “Paid family leave would provide a critical safety net for these working families in their times of need.”
Make no mistake Speaker Ryan will be pushing an agenda that is quite friendly to Multi Millionaires children at the expense of working families. “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of some day having my own kids ask me, ‘When the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could? Why didn’t you stand and fight for my future when you had the chance?'” Ryan said to reporters. His children do not have to worry he will make life easier for children of the wealthy at every turn.
Speaker Ryan will try to dismantle the three of most popular parts of the federal government to continue the GOP fixation of shrinking government.
Speaker Ryan accepts millions of dollars from individuals and groups that will profit by turning medicare/medicaid into a voucher scheme and by the privatization of Social Security. He targets for “reform” include vital government services like the US Postal Service, Social Security Administration, and Medicare/Medicaid all services that benefit ordinary Americans. The wealthy have no need for a safety net. They want to profit by its demise.
Speaker Ryan will now play the role of con man daily on a national scale. He surely will be selling day for night. We all must call him out on his continued hypocrisy before our countries safety net vanishes. Ryan and his fellow multi millionaire politicians are in politics for the wrong reason. They want to accelerate the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.