Serving seven consecutive terms, Wisconsin’s republican congressman and Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, Paul Ryan is today best known for his Chairmanship of the House Budget Committee.
Americans by now know that as chairman, Ryan has been a hardheaded proponent of cutting federal spending. That his budget plan includes privatizing Social Security, significant changes to Medicare by replacing it with a voucher system for Americans under 55, providing block grants to states for Medicaid as opposed to the current joint state and federally funded program, and repealing the Affordable Care Act. We all know his position on defense spending, cutting corporate taxes and taxes on high-income Americans. And we all know of his stubborn stance toward raising the debt ceiling last year.
However, what most Americans do not know is that prior to his chairmanship he was best known as a “big spending conservative.”
From 1999 to 2006 the House of Representatives was led by republicans. Therefore Ryan’s tenure in the house has been mostly coexistent with a republican majority.
During that period, Ryan supported the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts representing about $1.7 trillion in deficit spending between 2001 and 2008, the unfunded ($9.7 trillion) Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, and the unfunded ($3 trillion) Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
In 2008, he supported the $700 billion bank bailout known as TARP, the Economic Stimulus HR 5140 ($152 billion), and the $15 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler.
And in 2009 he voted for $192 billion additional anti-recession stimulus spending.
“Inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast for a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton,” according to Crooks and Liars.
With Ryan’s help, George W. Bush doubled the national debt. Ryan and his fellow republicans voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling under President Bush.
Consequently, to a greater degree Ryan is more responsible for America’s financial situation and our failed economy than President Obama.
And, contrary to republican rhetoric, it’s not Obama who has been the big spender. Market Watch reports that “There has been no huge increase in spending under the current president, despite what you hear.”
Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate makes it clear what will be the defining issue of the 2012 Presidential campaign. It makes clear for those who say there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Obama and Romney that there is a significant difference. Romney has now brought to the campaign an even more distinct choice between two candidates and their core beliefs that also reflect the ideologies of their parties.
If the voters elect Romney, Ryan, and a republican congressional majority into office, they will be voting for the same big spending, economic problems, and belligerent foreign policy that America inherited with the George W. Bush presidency.
Andrew Restuccia and Seung Min Kim, Paul Ryan’s voting record: Big-spending conservatism, Politico.com
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2012 annual report of the boards of trustees of the federal hospital insurance and federal supplementary medical insurance trust funds (Pg. 81), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Trustees Report & Trust Funds
Policy Basics: The 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Tim Fernholz and Jim Tankersley, The Cost of bin Laden: $3 Trillion Over 15 Years, National Journal
Representative Paul D. Ryan’s Voting Records, Project Vote Smart
Jon Perr, 10 Inconvenient Truths About the Debt Ceiling, Crooks and Liars