Paul Ryan, Still Lyin’

While most media attention was focused elsewhere, the GOP’s favorite blue-eyed boy released his latest attempt to further gut the remnants of our social support system. Per the Washington Post:

As he crafted the report, Ryan — a former adviser to the late Jack Kemp, a longtime GOP voice on poverty issues — consulted with a diverse group of conservative thinkers. Ryan counselor Yuval Levin, a policy analyst, played an instrumental role, as did the American Enterprise Institute’s Arthur Brooks and the Brookings Institution’s Ron Haskins.

Ryan also huddled with Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. Smith is well known in the United Kingdom for his attempts to better connect conservatives with the poor.

“We’ve been paying very close attention to the Tories and their think tanks,” Ryan said….

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Paul Ryan report — two hundred pages! — if it didn’t involve some serious dishonesty. Steve Benen, at MSNBC:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been pretty aggressive in recent months about leaking word of his recent policy focus on poverty. The far-right congressman has periodically let major news outlets know he now hopes to “help” those who would suffer most under his own budget plan: low-income families…

The editorial board of the New York Times did a nice job summarizing the degree to which Ryan’s ideas are “small and tired.”… It’s a fair critique, but digging in a little closer, even more glaring issues arise.

The Fiscal Times’ Rob Garver, for example, interviewed some of the same economists cited in Ryan’s paper in support of his thesis. Many of the experts “had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research.”…

The Fiscal Times also talked to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Jeffrey Brown who said Ryan’s report also ignored relevant caveats when he highlighted Brown’s scholarship on Medicaid….

Mr. Benen chooses to believe (at least for public consumption) that this dishonesty is an error on Ryan’s part. I’m more of a mind to agree with Mr. Charles P. Pierce about the man he dubbed The Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver:

The reboot centers on Ryan’s casting himself as “The Conservative Who Cares About The Poor.” This, he says, stems from his deeply held Catholic faith — except that, when he tried to run that riff past the Jesuits at Georgetown during the campaign, they handed him his head, and even the National Council of Catholic Bishops wasn’t buying this codswollop… Nonetheless, because the report has been produced by Paul Ryan, there has been a positive scramble to announce that a new actual “debate” about poverty has been opened, and that the Republicans now have a “chance” to come up with their own solution to the problem afflicting millions of people who wouldn’t vote for them even if they could, and who the Republicans have no intention of allowing to vote anyway…

Look. Let’s not all be children. Paul Ryan’s entire political career has been about eliminating the federal government’s ability to do anything except raise an army and keep the tax burden on the country’s wealthiest citizens low. This is the Makers And Takers guy, remember? There is no compelling reason now to believe he’s changed at all. He has yet to take his lunatic “budget” off the table. He is a true believer in voodoo economics. He still believes in voucherizing Medicare into oblivion. (He would like to do the same thing to Social Security, too, but that gets kept on the downlow.) He is not opposed to federal programs to help the poor because of their (relatively) small effect on the budget, or even out of concern for The Deficit. He is opposed to them because he does not believe that they are legitimate functions of government. Anybody who buys that he’s sincerely morphed himself into a champion of what Karl Rove once called “compassionate conservatism” should not be allowed to cut their own meat without supervision…

53 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Putting the ‘con’ in Wisconsin.

  2. 2
    TRNC says:

    Mr. Benen chooses to believe (at least for public consumption) that this dishonesty is an error on Ryan’s part.

    That’s Benen’s schtick. He generally presents outright lies with a “Gee, how could he not know that – he must be terribly confused” tilt.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    “Give em a light and they’ll follow it anywhere “

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: I for one, would really like to put that particular con back in Wisconsin for good.

  5. 5
    mikej says:

    IDS is known for his attempts to connect conservatives with the poor? Unless he’s started speaking on the topic of leashes lately I don’t believe it.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What do you know about this Cotton dude? I was looking at his Combat Veterans for Congress endorsement. Some real gems in that outfit.

  7. 7
    Cermet says:

    Confuse everyone with a long paper, filled with lots of data, even foot noted, and sdd enough lies too prove your points and the media will not just give you time, but will mostly focus on the data, and false conclusions as if the lies are only a small, insignificant part of a larger, but fully valid thesis – Oh, and the people pointing out the incorrect conclusions will be given little space, and buried in the article. Talking heads will simply give the conclusions and mention, in passing that some people disagree … ryan knows how to give the 0.001% message to the captive media whores.

  8. 8
    kindness says:

    But NPR says Ryan is such a nice guy.

    Except now NPR is funded by the Koch brothers and that for profit Cancer Center people who also fund TeaHaddists. Coincidence?

    And really, NPR doesn’t matter. No one listens to them. It’s the other MSM ‘stars’ that will screw us on this one painting Ryan as a ‘serious’ guy. And there Charles Pierce helps our side more than anyone I’ve seen lately.

  9. 9
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: Wonder how he’d vote on the VA benefits that recently died in the Senate. Mentioned that vote to the kid on Friday, she wasn’t overly amused(she was in the Air Force). I think she said something about assholes.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    consulted with a diverse group of conservative thinkers.

    The only words in that phrase that make sense are “with”, “a”, and “of.”

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    “We’ve been paying very close attention to the Tories and their think tanks,” Ryan said

    Not sure it’s a step forward moving from Ayn to Maggie. Surely the Queen of Red Hearts is next.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Other than the fact that he is a 14th century retread, no more than you. Most of my Arkie buddies are like the sighted in the land of the blind. They keep telling their neighbors of what they see, but nobody believes them. If it is not in the Bible, it isn’t.

    There have been some epic arguments around the campfire.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Checked out the CV4Congress website…. I got the willies just looking at their home page. Any one who wraps themselves that tightly in the flag is definitely hiding some dirty laundry.

  14. 14
    danielx says:


    There is a certain amount of diversity among conservatives – for example, there are those who believe Social Security should be cut back, and those who believe it should be abolished. Similarly there are those who believe the answer to all foreign policy issues and problems is to drop high explosives on them, particularly if there are brown people involved, and those who are somewhat less inclined. Any “thinkers” among conservatives whose thoughts become more diverse than along such lines (Bruce Bartlett, David Frum, Francis Fukuyama, et al) are no longer conservatives.

  15. 15
    ladyblug says:

    As Charles Pierce says “Your welcome dick”! Or something to that effect.

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:


    consulted with a diverse group of conservative thinkers.

    The only words in that phrase that make sense are “with”, “a”, and “of.”

    I think we can give them “group,” don’t you?

    More seriously: there must be a list somewhere of Republicans for whom the default assumption is that they are not lying, but I can’t seem to find it.

  17. 17
    Baud says:


    True. There’s also old, fat, bald Republican men and young, pudgy, balding Republican men. So you have some diversity there.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cervantes: I’m sure you can find one over at Breitbart.

  19. 19
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah. I often mention my father served. Well every male in my family for many generations outside me and my brother. They would never tell you they served. Just something they did. Not something they need to tell you nor talk about. Anybody that wraps themself in the flag and puts it in my face they served worries me.

  20. 20
    RSA says:

    @raven: Firesign! “Get thee behind me!”

  21. 21
    Butch says:

    Not just Ryan, but the whole tired language of journalism. He “huddled.” One news story described the Ryan report as “blistering.” Please. The New York Times yesterday somehow managed to state that Social Security contributes to the deficit. Don’t you guys know better? (And by “you guys,” I am referring to the journalists, not the readers of Balloon Juice.)

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    I think it’s unfair to hold conservatives to the ludicrously high standard of having to know or care about what is in the papers they cite.

    It should be enough that they take time out of their valuable schedules to type up (or tell someone else to type up) all sorts of “authors” and “titles”.

    Who cares what these articles say, anyway?

    They’re probably written by a bunch of elitist academics at government schools. Just quoting the titles of their papers is too good for them.

    Someday we can have a Real America where conservatives will be free to write papers without the unpatriotic expectation that they have to find some sort of ‘expert’ sources outside their own hearts to prove what they say.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    As an Urbana native I likes the Urbana-Champaign!

  24. 24
    piratedan says:

    @Cervantes: i think that list may start and end with Michael Steele these days and I’m wondering how much longer he stays in the GOP because I’m sure he’s getting tired of being the only semi-reasonable conservative/republican left in the room. Most of the other political Corpracans have already fled to the boardrooms.

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @El Cid:

    Someday we can have a Real America where conservatives will be free to write papers without the unpatriotic expectation that they have to find some sort of ‘expert’ sources outside their own hearts to prove what they say.

    We already have that. They’re called “speeches”.

  26. 26
    Amir Khalid says:

    Journos are taught to write like that, to err on the side of making the story exciting. It’s embedded in journo culture because that’s what hooks the reader and sells more fishwrap. News, is after all, a business. Editors exact from reporters that the story be told as vividly as the truth allows, or slightly more so; if it’s not vivid enough, they punch it up (and blame you for making them do your work). Language does get tired when you overwork it like that.

  27. 27
    Tommy says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well not so much. But then again I got my journalism degree back in the 80s. Heck my major professor was the guy at CBS that hired Walter Cronkite and fired Edward R. Murrow (long story). I was taught it was my role to educate and inform my fellow citizens. An important role. Most of them would not understand what is going on with our media today.

    The big case in point is that you have to show “both sides.” No you don’t, if one of them isn’t telling the truth. One of they key role of a journalist is you don’t put yourself in the story. The other is you don’t print lies.

    But then again I never used said degree …. so what do I know :).

  28. 28
    rikyrah says:

    In all actuality, I would have been in the hospital, because my parents would have beat my ass if I had done this. I mean beat it to the point where my Black behind would have been in the hospital. Y’all can call it child abuse, but I wasn’t raised that children would even open their mouths to utter the shyt this child did, let alone TAKE PARENTS TO COURT?


    I couldn’t even wrap my mind around this story. I read it twice, because I didn’t even think it was real the first time I read it.


    NJ teen suing parents won’t get immediate support
    Associated Press Updated: March 4, 2014 6:56pm

    A northern New Jersey honor student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a “potentially slippery slope” of claims by teenagers against their parents.

    Rachel Canning had sought immediate relief in the form of $650 in weekly child support and the payment of the remainder of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, as well as attorney’s fees.

    State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied those motions but ordered the parties to return to court on April 22, when they will present evidence and testimony on the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their daughter. Rachel Canning, a high school senior, has already been accepted by at least one college and is seeking to have her parents pay some or all of her tuition, attorney Tanya Helfand told Bogaard Tuesday.

    Dressed in her school uniform and with several friends in the gallery, Rachel Canning didn’t speak to reporters after the hearing.

    Bogaard sounded skeptical of some of the claims in the lawsuit, saying it could lead to teens “thumbing their noses” at their parents, leaving home and then asking for financial support.

    “Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?” he asked. “We should be mindful of a potentially slippery slope.”

  29. 29
    Cervantes says:


    I was taught it was my role to educate and inform my fellow citizens.

    This is for old time’s sake.

    Just curious: Given that you were taught to educate and inform, did you ever talk with Sig about going into advertising?

  30. 30
    Amir Khalid says:

    I didn’t learn journamalism from some fancy-schmancy university like you, guy. ;) I was taught by editors who themselves learned it in the newsroom. Truth matters, educating and informing the public matters too; but so does selling the paper, and if the paper doesn’t sell you’re out of the game.

  31. 31
    aimai says:

    @rikyrah: Well. I’m a bit divided on this point. This isn’t one of them but a) child support from an absent parent seems like a good model, to me. You don’t have to be under someone’s control for them to owe you support, as from parent to child. b) Parents cut off children for all kinds of reasons, including sexual orientation or religious affiliation. If you bring a kid into this world you have an obligation to follow through on your support for that child until they are self sufficient to the standard you yourself experienced, or can afford. Rich men sue to get out from under this expectation all the time and we think it kind of weird–that a guy can start a family, raise the children with certain expectations like they will live to the same standard as their wealthy father, and then abandon them to start a new family and nickle and dime the old kids to death.

    I worked in a place where family property was, for the most part, jointly owned. The very idea that there is something that is wholly the parents, rather than shared with the children, is anathema there. You aren’t booted out at 18, you are a co-owner with the parents of the family farm and home and everything in it. This makes for some crushing burdens for everyone, but also means that no one gets to be thrown out with nothing.

  32. 32
    Tommy says:

    @Cervantes: Nope I didn’t. Something I fell into. Totally not planned. I took a job answering the phone at an ad agency just to pay the bills. Never thought that would be something I’d do for 15+ years. Then, well I did.

    Honstly I never talked to Sig much about anything not work related. I kick myself for that. I was just so intimidated by the man. I kind of just walked into his office, gave him his research, and walked out. We never really talked at all.

  33. 33
    Tommy says:

    @Amir Khalid: No you are right. There is a reason an editor writes the headline. It needs to move papers. Heck I had a professor tell me “Tommy it takes you ten pages to clear your throat, that won’t sell papers. You need to find another profession.” I did.

  34. 34
    Cervantes says:


    We never really talked at all.

    These are the things we come to regret.

    If it’s any comfort: your comments here positively beam with truth. Sig, I think, would approve.

  35. 35
    gene108 says:


    And really, NPR doesn’t matter. No one listens to them. It’s the other MSM ‘stars’ that will screw us on this one painting Ryan as a ‘serious’ guy. And there Charles Pierce helps our side more than anyone I’ve seen lately.

    Actually the issue with the MSM are the people, who get news from headlines or a few minutes of CNN that’s playing at the local Subway at lunch.

    There’s so much negativity towards Obama and Democrats people just figure he must be failing, because no one is saying anything positive.

  36. 36
    GregB says:

    Amazingly the programs that would help the tried and true GOP constituents are deemed helpful and the programs that would help the traditionally Democratic constituents are deemed worse than Hitler.

    Shocked that this lying shitheel is still a lying shitheel.

  37. 37
    Cervantes says:


    The very idea that there is something that is wholly the parents[‘], rather than shared with the children, is anathema there.

    Unthinkable to me also.

  38. 38
    Tommy says:

    @Cervantes: I didn’t know some of this stuff in the video you linked to. I am a more mature person then I was when I worked for him. I guess you could call it opportunity lost. I would do things differently.

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    if the Zombie-Eyed Granny Killer opens his mouth…he’s lying.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    “Tommy it takes you ten pages to clear your throat,

    Heh… Truer words never spoken. ;-)

  41. 41
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He was right. Spot on.

  42. 42
    azlib says:

    Ryan has learned to dazzle the lazy and ignorant (e.g. most of the press) with bull****. Inconvenient facts do not matter. His project is to eliminate the welfare state for everyone except billionaires. I wish the Republicans would run on that platform rather than hiding behind research they misrepresent.

    This is just as much a fraud as “compassionate conservatism” was. I knew the jig was up on that one when Bush laid out his first tax cut plan tilted heavily towards cutting taxes on the wealthy. At that point I figured “compassionate conservatism” meant being compassionate towards the rich.

  43. 43
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    Even this isn’t true anymore. The farm bill was a giant clusterfuck, even the agricultural supports. Those go to bedrock Republican constituencies, and until now have been holier than God. ‘I Got Mine, Fuck You’ has become just ‘Fuck You.’ The GOP is the party of spite now.

  44. 44
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    He (Ryan) is opposed to them (federal programs to help the poor) because he does not believe that they are legitimate functions of government care one iota about the truly poor in the least.

    There… I believe that reads correctly now…

  45. 45
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    He had to twist the facts because they’re inconvenient for his ideology, and his ideology can’t possibly be wrong.

  46. 46
    boatboy_srq says:

    @azlib: Ryan’s one true advantage is his ability to make bull#### look scholarly. We’ve had over a decade of every other Teahadist publication looking like a middle-school book report: thin, padded and lacking any substance (no offense to the many middle schoolers who actually read, and write coherently). Ryan has a talent for producing thick documents, replete with references and quotes that can be construed (if you go back to the source material and look at it through the wrong end of a telescope whilst standing on one foot and splashing ink in your eyes) to support his position. People have been given advanced degrees for less.

    The trouble with Ryan is the MSM. They’re attracted to lots of pages of material with lots of quotations and footnotes pointing to otherwise-respectable scholarship in the same way a cat is mesmerized by a laser pointer. And in days when the average Teahadist seems unable to put two complete sentences together that relate to each other in any way, the ability to produce that much material that holds together (however poorly stitched from the parts) generates an “Oooohh, shiny!” response from the media.

    Ryan isn’t the ignorant person’s policy wonk: he’s the lazy person’s policy wonk. He’s the guy who makes up the answers and finds convenient quotes to take out of context to support his thesis, who gets all the folks who don’t want to look up the quotes themselves to copy from him – until he gets a D- (and gets all of them Fs). This is one of the biggest reasons folks like Krugman are so demonized on the Right: unlike their darling, Krugman et al actually do the research and can back up their theories with evidence that agrees with them.

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @kindness: Cancer Centers is a straight up scam, think Tijuana clinic. They are horrible, up down left and right.

    I was aghast that NPR accepted their sponsorship, but maybe ADM, who are assholes, figured they’d gotten their money’s worth and NPR now has to whore further down the food chain.

  48. 48
    Goblue72 says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I swear I’ve seen their ads on Hulu as well. Goggles them and was squicked out – and infuriated. How sleazy do you have to be to sell snake oil to CANCER patients?

  49. 49
    Fred says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: You nailed it friend. Well said.

  50. 50
    Fred says:

    @boatboy_srq: I think it is simpler still. They love his soulful eye brows and most of all the widows peak. They really get all gooshey for that widows peak.

  51. 51
    West of the Rockies says:

    Is Ryan really and truly an important part of anybody’s platform? I think he may be too bland even for Republicans, who seem to adore blandness. He just strikes me as a self-important twit who is not nearly as bright as he (and his followers, which number in the dozens!) seem to think he is.

  52. 52
    LanceThruster says:

    And these are the “Frontrunners!”

  53. 53
    mclaren says:

    Democrats should kiss this guy. Paul Ryan is the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination right now.

    If Ryan gets nominated, a dead armadillo squished by an 18-wheeler would be elected president in 2016 if the Democrats nominated it.

    This guy is toast. I hope he tells a lot more lies. Bring it on, boy, let’s hear more gibberish about Atlas Shrugged and Francisco d’Anconia’s speech about money.

    These people are just digging their own graves, politically speaking.

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