A Bubble Boy
Representative Paul Ryan (R., Wisconsin) has become the Republican guru of economics in the House of Representatives. He and Senator Patty Murray of Washington State are the guiding hands behind the recent combined Budget Committee’s output for the coming two fiscal years. Newspapers, columnists, and Republicans in general think the world of this intelligent, trim, handsome, hard-working and hard-talking Congressman.
Primarily, this is because for all his top-of-his-head ideas, Ryan is incredibly weak on specifics, on specific numbers, dates, plans, outcomes, and expenses to the American people should his Ayn-Rand inspired economic principals be followed.
There is no reason on earth why Ryan should be better informed than he is about dollars and cents. After all, apart from one summer’s employment in a family concern, Paul Ryan has spent his entire career in Washington, the land of make-believe.
In this Paradise, Congressional members, both Representatives and Senators, do not have the same things the rest of the nation does. Firstly, they have no realistic understanding of money and what having it, or not having it, can mean to an average family. Their own economic status is assured. They are paid well and have special healthcare privileges. They are not in danger of needing food stamps, or unemployment, or fiscal stimulii. Their children are educated in good schools across the country, not shoveled into what’s available in any particular town. They do not have parents who are on Medicare or Medicaid, or even sick. They do not have family members who are out of work or who might actually need nutritional assistance. They do not have members of their families enrolled in the Armed Forces.
Not having all this baggage means that they are free to imagine and legislate programs in almost any modern area of endeavor that has no connection with reality. And they do.
They do this year after year, spending not their money but ours. Ours comes from our pockets in taxes which we give to them to piss away as they will because they can. Money (ours) means nothing to them.
When Ryan was selected as a running mate for Mitt Romney in 2012, he did not explode with radical ideas. Rather he toned down some of his more backward-looking rhetoric and largely sat on his hands. He was a good debater. When the election ended, he returned to his seat in Congress as the darling of the Right.
Since that time, Ryan has had experiences of no kind that bring him closer to those of average Americans. He seems happiest dealing on a level of idealism that cannot be supported by the country financially. Which is why he so often proposes but does not specify. He has no earthly ideas on what any project or program is likely to cost.
He may be the nicest guy in the world, a good basketball player, a fine personal trainer, a good companion and a wonderful father. But he has lived in the D.C. bubble since emerging from college. This is no way to learn the knocks and hardships of your fellow citizens’ lives. Those around him have perhaps even less realistic ideas than he does. What he seems best at, at the moment, is walking a tightrope between conventional Republican principles and those of the Tea Party, and suggesting tax breaks for the very wealthy.
What he seems worst at is dealing with reality, assessing the roles of women in America today, assisting the needy, understanding the fall-throughs of competitive education, grasping the needs of our veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, how to spur native manufacturing without hurting the working class of the country, uniting the dreams of migrants with the realities of citizenship.
In short, what we have in Paul Ryan is a nice guy who shouldn’t be allowed even to stand close to a cash register on which the US Government must depend. Money to him is unreal and unnecessary if he can propose his overarching proposals and social changes.
He seems normally inclined to be a good guy. So did, at one time, The Walking Dead.