From CHARLES P. PIERCE
I was struck by the revelation in yesterday’s paean to zombie-eyed granny-starving in the Times, that young, up-from-the-muddy-bootstraps Paul Ryan, the plucky burger-flippin’ success story from darkest Janesville, Wisconsin, had amassed a fortune of “between three and $7.7 million” without having held a more lucrative job than “Congressman” at any point in his adult life. Then, I noticed another item. Namely, that:
Mr. Ryan reported two tax-deferred college savings plans, with a combined value of between $150,000 and $300,000. He also reported two investment partnerships worth, in total, between $350,000 and $750,000, mostly containing shares of stock in well-known companies, including Apple, Goodrich, Kraft Foods, Visa and Whole Foods. Both partnerships were formed by Mr. Ryan and other family members to manage assets left by his grandparents and an aunt. Mrs. Ryan has reported receiving a trust after her mother died in 2010 that is valued between $1 million and $5 million, according to a letter Mr. Ryan filed with his latest financial disclosure. Mrs. Ryan also has longstanding interests in several mining and oil exploration investments in Oklahoma and Texas managed by her father, Dan Little, a lawyer in Oklahoma whose clients include oil and gas companies. Those investments generated as much as $150,000 in income last year.
So, he’s not the son of poor Smallville dirt farmer Jonathan Kent and his wife, Martha, after all. Where does the family dough come from? A construction company founded by Great Grandpa Ryan. The Rude Pundit went a’wandering through Googlestan, and what did he find? Among other great nuggets, this thing right here:
“The Ryan workload from 1910 until the rural interstate Highway System was completed 60 years later, was mostly Highway construction.”
This, of course, partly explains the outburst of Weaselspeak that Ryan dropped on Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker when Lizza cornered him at the logical end of all of the government-bashing on which he’d built his career.
When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.”
We think government should also do those things on which my family traditionally has been able to turn a pretty buck, so I could one day buy the handsome Georgian mansion back home that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Two days ago, as he joined the ticket led by presidential candidate G.I. Luvmoney, formerly employed by the game of Life, this is what Paul Ryan, whose owes his family fortune to government construction projects said:
“I’m proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business — you did build that.”
His entire life, and the history of his entire family, makes a lie out of everything the man has said in his political career, and a sham out of every policy position he purports to hold. It seems to be there used to be a word for that. What I do know is that, in 20 years, a lot of people in the Beltway who are in my business today are going to look at what they’ve written and said about this faker, and drink themselves into early graves.