Since the day he developed what would become a lifelong, unremitting, probably-actually-really-awkward-for-his-wife crush on Ayn Rand, House Speaker Paul Ryan has dreamed about two things: cutting taxes on the wealthy and destroying the social safety net. (Three things if you count convincing his wife to style her hair in a side-swept bob, which he’s been told time after time is never gonna happen, so stop asking.) So devoted was he to the hallowed principle of redistributing wealth to the people at the top that, for the past year and a half, he’s put up with just about everything that’s come out of the White House, be it the firing of the F.B.I. director, a refusal to condemn white supremacists, an alleged affair with a porn star, hush money, the attacking of his colleagues via Twitter, and the strong suggestion that special counsel Robert Mueller may be next to get the ax. Because in Donald Trump, Wisconsin’s first son saw the potential for a payoff that outweighed having to align himself with a born swindler who’s made a mockery of the White House and sought to destroy America’s standing in the world: a historic transfer of wealth thinly disguised as tax “reform.” With the bill once known as the “Cut Cut Cut Act” safely signed into law—a moment Ryan cited as one of the proudest of his career—the speaker announced to rank-and-file Republicans on Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the year, ducking out at a crucial crossroads for his party.
So what gives? Aside from facing political headwinds at home, and a pre-emptive battle for his job on the Hill, Ryan likely looked into the future and saw little hope of carrying out the rest of his agenda, even under a Republican president. For a brief moment after the tax legislation was passed, Ryan was lustily eyeing the opportunity to embark on welfare “reform,” positioning it, basically seconds after ushering in a historic giveaway to corporate America and the ultra-wealthy, as the reason the country’s finances were in total disarray. But sadly for Ryan, Mitch McConnell almost immediately put the kibosh on those plans, realizing how politically unfeasible they were. And so, as New York’s Ed Kilgore put it, Ryan likely “look[ed] ahead to a straitened G.O.P. margin in the House . . . and the prospect of having to wait until 2021 at the earliest to resume the fight against the welfare state [and] decided to go home to Wisconsin and regroup.” At roughly half the age to which he wants Americans to work until they can retire, he has plenty of years left to collect checks from the Brothers Koch and other corporate donors, who coincidentally just came into a large amount of money.
By bowing out, Ryan will also be well clear of Washington by the time his precious tax bill really starts to bear fruit. We speak, of course, of the report released by the Congressional Budget Office just two days before Ryan announced he was throwing in the towel. Among other things, the report estimates that, thanks in large part to December’s tax bill, the U.S. deficit will top $1 trillion annually starting in 2020, with the national debt soaring past $33 trillion by 2028, a situation that increases the likelihood of a fiscal crisis. Which, come to think of it, is something Ryan used to care about when tax cuts weren’t so close he could taste ’em. (Under Barack Obama, Ryan absolutely railed against deficits, turning them into the right’s monster in the closet, and winning a hilariously named “Fiscy” award in 2011 for “being the first [congressman] in several years to step forward with a specific scorable budget plan that would actually solve the nation’s long-term structural deficits.”)
Five years later, however, he can take credit for setting the U.S. on a path to run trillion-dollar deficits from now to eternity, beginning in 2020. Because, as his supply-side brother from another mother Larry Kudlow explained Monday night, deficits are fine when they’re for tax cuts or the type of spending that will line the private sector’s pockets, but for things like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? Well, then they’re a total scourge on society that must be stopped at all costs. Luckily, at roughly half the age to which he wants Americans to work until they can retire, Ryan has plenty of years left to collect checks from the Brothers Koch and other corporate donors, who coincidentally just came into a large amount of money.
via Vanity Fair http://bit.ly/2xvuIXg
April 11, 2018 at 03:27PM