Spending Problem? Paul Ryan is the Spending Problem

Paul Ryan talks like a small government conservative:

Too much government inevitably leads to bad government. When government grows too much and extends beyond its limits, it usually does things poorly.

And the WSJ is pumping up Ryan as an antidote to the growth of government:

Ryan represents the GOP’s new generation of reformers. More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.

But Ryan himself has been responsible for a lot of that government growth. He loyally voted for all the big government programs George W. Bush ensconced into law — Medicare Part D, often described as the largest expansion of the welfare state since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society; the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA; the TARP bailout of Wall Street; the bailout of General Motors. So long as it was debt-fuelled spending authorised by a Republican (and during the Bush years, there was an awful lot of debt-fuelled spending authorised by Republicans) Ryan was out voting for it. 

Ryan’s voting record establishes firmly that Ryan is as much for bailouts and the expansion of government as Obama. He talks like a small government conservative on the deficit, too, but dig into the details and he promises to balance the budget on the back of closing loopholes in the tax code that he refuses to specify, while completely ignoring the severe problem of excessive total debt that is keeping the economy depressed today.

Does Ryan have an explanation for his voting record? Why did he put party loyalty above loyalty to the principles he now claims to espouse? Or did he forget his small government principles during the Bush years? Did he only discover Ayn Rand in 2008?

Ryan was forced to try and explain. Here’s the exchange between Ryan and ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour.

AMANPOUR: Congressman Ryan, you actually voted for the Wall Street bailout, and indeed the auto bailout as well.RYAN: Right. The auto bailout in order to prevent TARP from going to the auto companies, because we already put $25 billion aside in an energy bill, which I disapproved of, to go to auto companies.

What? Ryan later tried to clarify his remarks in an interview with the Daily Caller:

The president’s chief of staff made it extremely clear to me before the vote, which is either the auto companies get the money that was put in the Energy Department for them already — a bill that I voted against because I didn’t want to give them that money, which was only within the $25 billion, money that was already expended but not obligated — or the president was going to give them TARP, with no limit. That’s what they told me. That’s what the president’s chief of staff explained to me. I said, ‘Well, I don’t want them to get TARP. We want to keep TARP on a leash. We don’t want to expand it. So give them that Energy Department money that at least puts them out of TARP, and is limited.’ Well, where are we now? What I feared would happen did happen. The bill failed, and now they’ve got $87 billion from TARP, money we’re not going to get back. And now TARP, as a precedent established by the Bush administration, whereby the Obama administration now has turned this thing into its latest slush fund. And so I voted for that to prevent precisely what has happened, which I feared would happen.

Ryan should take a leaf out of Mr T.’s book and quit his jibber-jabber. He voted for TARP, as well as the auto bailout, and he has no reasonable explanation beyond fierce loyalty.

Republicans had two choices — Ron Paul and Gary Johnson — who are both consistent fiscal conservatives with no record of supporting bailouts or expansions of government, and no record of supporting costly pre-emptive wars. The Republican Party rejected both candidates, and instead went with two defenders of bailouts, two expanders of government, two believers in pre-emptive war and a large, powerful security state. That decision says an awful lot about the Republican Party.

People who want to see government play a smaller role in the economy and society should look elsewhere; outside of rhetoric both of the two major tickets have a track record of increasing the size and scope of government, increasing debt levels and bailing out favoured corporations.

39 thoughts on “Spending Problem? Paul Ryan is the Spending Problem

  1. “..outside of rhetoric both of the two major tickets have a track record of increasing the size and scope of government, increasing debt levels and bailing out favoured corporations.”

    You just noticed that? I’ve followed your posts for quite some time and, frankly, thought you were smarter than that. The “Republicrats” have been one and the same for at least 50 years, but American voters are too easily entertained by the dog-and-pony show to vote for a third-party candidate – even if he/she provided solutions.

    Sports, the world’s greatest distraction, teaches us that there can be only two teams on the field at any given time. We must be “for” one team and by extension be “against” the other. It is so easy to forget that no matter which team wins, they both share in the money you spent for your seat in the stadium.

    Ron Paul is a Libertarian who realized the only way to get elected is to join one of the only two teams in the game. Unfortunately for him, he will not surrender his principles in exchange for the support of the Party.

      • Aziz, I’ve noticed a few readers (especially on Zerohedge) bringing up pretty childish criticism of your posts similar to this: “You just noticed that? I’ve followed your posts for quite some time and, frankly, thought you were smarter than that.” I find this criticism to be pretty silly, and it makes me wonder if I’d find much pleasure blogging anything because of such people. Its almost as if there is no winning with people. Sheesh.

        • Oh my god Aziz, you went out of your way to dig up a load of obscure charts from FRED that illustrate how loose monetary policy benefits the financial sector?

          How fucking obvious! Do bears shit in the woods? Is the pope a catholic? Is the bear a catholic? Does the pope shit in the woods??

          My response to this is simple: if it’s so obvious, why didn’t you write it? Hehe.

        • “My response to this is simple: if it’s so obvious, why didn’t you write it? Hehe.”
          It IS obvious, and you usually write about things that AREN’T. That’s why people read your blog. But, hey, everyone is entitled to an off day. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

        • Heh. I wasn’t necessarily talking about your response to this post. I was talking about the response on ZH to my post on monetary policy enriching the financial sector, which I spent many hours writing and digging through charts looking for evidence (as opposed to a gut feeling).

          A lot of stuff I write will probably be kinda obvious to regular readers. But new readers, maybe not.

          I will try harder to cover obscure stuff too. But the more obscure I get, the more I feel like I am alienating new readers or non-experts. It’s delicate.

        • Ignore the critics and do what you want. It’s your blog after all. It takes no effort to comment or critique. It’s a lot of effort to write. I’m not new but appreciate your covering some obvious topics with more than your gut. Keep doing what you do.

      • You missed something. Ryan voted against Bowles Simpson because it didn’t go far enough on entitlements. He is the ONLY politician to grab the “third rail” and declare cuts need to be made (prompting the granny off a cliff comments). He wants to move Medicare to a voucher keeping it from bankruptcy.
        The Dems want ZERO change allowing bankruptcy.
        How is that not a significant difference?

        • He created the spending problem by voting for all the Bush-era legislation. And his position on spending is just totally wrongheaded — he’s happy to keep all the wasteful overseas and imperial spending, while throwing people who have paid into social security and medicare all their lives off a cliff.

          I supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, because they wanted to cut the wasteful overseas and imperial spending, bring the troops home, give the money back to the public and honour historical promises to people who have paid into the system. They were the real alternative, and Republicans ignored them and voted for Romney and Ryan, two big spenders of the Bush era.

  2. Pingback: Spending Problem? Paul Ryan is the Spending Problem « azizonomics « Hawks5999

  3. Great expose John. I read up on this guy but did not really know his voting record. Thanks for clarifying he is a party hack and probably on the take from the Banking sector and GM.

    BTW. Breaking news on “4 Corners: ABC Australia News. Australia is about to have its Sub Prime blowout. A former Mortgage Broker busted for Fraud is whistle blowing on the Australian Banking Industry. They approved thousands of Sub Prime “Low Doc Loans”. Australia’s property market is popping! This is serious. Even I thought our Banks were very well regulated internally and externally.


    I have just done 3 solid weeks of Tax Returns, and during my interviews, people who have invested in property can’t sell at a profit and if they are forced to sell they are underwater. We don’t have full recourse lending so they may have bankruptcies all over Australia if they lose a job and can’t pay the loan.

    See Azizonomics is better than Zerohedge!.

  4. The term I use to describe Ryan is “Pseudo-Conservative.” It’s a movement here. These people abhor paying taxes, but like wars, bailouts, the TSA etc. all under the guise of “keeping you safe.” They support turning public debt into private fortunes for a select few, and worse yet, don’t have the intellectual honesty to admit that’s what happening.

    Both parties are pro-deficit, they just frame the discussion a little different.

    What’s most disheartening is so many people still think there’s a significant difference. Anymore I find political discussion about as stimulating as listening to someone explain how Coke is great and Pepsi sucks.

  5. Pingback: Spending Problem? Paul Ryan is the Spending Problem « Silver For The People – The Blog

  6. Of course i agree entirely with your analysis of ryan. How could anyone but a hack not agree.

    But, when it comes to paul and the libertarians, you are as snookered as the people you identify as being snookered by ryan.

    Let’s look at the evidence.
    Ron Paul says he is for smaller gov’t and he says he would control all the deal making that leads to bigger gov’t if only he were in charge. But what does he actually do, if we are going to use the same analysis we do for ryan.

    What ron paul actually does is take earmarks “because if he doesn’t, his constituents money will go to waste” and a newsletter that was printed in his name had some things in it that were mighty untoward, and he said he “didn’t read it” or something.

    So, what could any reasonable person expect from a ron paul presidency? I’ll tell you.
    He would jack up gov’t spending, because “he can’t get the other side to agree, so he might as well get it for his side” and he would have minions running around doing all sorts of damage that he would later say “he didn’t know about”.

    Those are the reasonable assumptions one could make on his presidency based on his history, just like we dealt with ryan’s history.

    Deal with it.

    • yo, you don’t understand how congressional budgeting works and you have based your argument on that ignorance. “Earmarks” are what every member of congress should be doing to budgeted dollars. Any budgeted dollars that aren’t earmarked are passed on to the executive (read: bureaucratic) departments to spend as they see fit without having to answer to an electorate. Members of congress who aren’t earmarking aren’t performing their duty as elected government officials and are passing on that responsibility to unelected members of the executive.

    • yo —

      I agree Ron Paul has a lot of baggage that many people find alienating. Fine.

      Gary Johnson had most of the same policies without the baggage. I wish the people who criticised Paul over his old newsletters, etc, supported Gary Johnson instead. I was happy with both Paul and Johnson, though I marginally favour Johnson on policy. The fact that people are throwing this stuff around, instead of banding behind Gary Johnson shows that it’s mostly ad hominems thrown about by Obama supporters and various other neocons.

  7. Either way, the US Dollar and economy is toast after the elections. They won’t be able to fund their Treasuries. World Governments are going to go their own way and deal with the best solution to their immediate Political problems. Their own backyard, keeping fuel and food prices in check, dealing with Iran, if it means cheap fuel etc.

    Ron Paul was the USA’s best solution to save themselves. Just like the Jews crucified Jesus. Jesus offered the Jews a new line of thought, and they did not take it. To their detriment. Rome would not have sacked the Temple etc etc etc. There are moments in world history where wise men offer their leadership and the idiots fail to grasp what they are offering. Socrates, Jesus, Tesla, Ron Paul.

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