Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker profile of Paul Ryan shows just what kind of a looter and moocher Ryan is back home in his district, where Janesville’s economy was destroyed by the closing of a GM plant:
[…]Through 2007, Ryan regularly requested government money for special projects back home. Earmarks grew out of control during the Bush years, but most of what Ryan asked for, and got, was defensible: four hundred thousand dollars for a water-treatment plant; three hundred thousand for a technical college where G.M. workers could be retrained; seven hundred and thirty-five thousand for Janesville’s bus system; and $3.3 million for highway projects throughout Wisconsin. […] Since the plant closed, Janesville, which sits almost at the center of a ring of major cities, including Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Des Moines, and Minneapolis, has partly reinvented itself as a distribution hub for major companies. […] As Janesville increasingly becomes a base for the business of distribution logistics, its single most pressing economic concern is good roads. [Ryan supporter] Beckord pointed toward Interstate 90, which runs southeast a hundred miles to Chicago. […] Next year, I-90 around Janesville will begin expansion from four lanes to eight. The project, the top issue for the local business community since the G.M. plant closed, will be financed as part of a billion-dollar federal and state highway project. […] We passed a warehouse-like building under construction where several men in hard hats were at work. Beckord explained that it would soon house the Janesville Innovation Center, providing entrepreneurs with commercial space in which to launch their ideas. The money came from a $1.2-million government grant through the Economic Development Administration, one of Obama’s major stimulus programs.
There was one more success story that Beckord wanted to share. A few years ago, he had a melanoma that was treated with a radioactive isotope; this isotope is administered to fifty-five thousand patients a day but has a half-life of sixty-six hours after manufacture, so it must be delivered quickly. The isotope, known as a medical tracer, is made outside the United States by a complicated process requiring highly enriched uranium from nuclear reactors. The government offered twenty-five-million-dollar matching grants to companies that could devise a way to produce the material domestically, without using enriched uranium. “Two of the four companies that won that competition, incredibly, are going to build plants in our county, and one of them is going to be in Janesville,” Beckord said. In May, the federal government announced that it would contribute more than ten million dollars to the new facility, which could employ some hundred and fifty people.
There’s nothing new about a Congressman who talks tough in DC but gets re-elected on pork, but let’s not allow the collective Village erection obscure the fact that Ryan is nothing new, and he represents a district that’s heavily dependent on the federal dole.