Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ignore the Wine and Focus on Paul Ryan's Voting Record

I don't see much point in lambasting Paul Ryan for an appreciation of fine wines, even expensive ones. Ryan's congressional pay makes a bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru affordable, and his future earning potential once he leaves office makes the expense trivial.

But this really isn't a discussion about economics of oenology: it's about the symbolism of extravagance in a time of austerity, and what is consistently missing from every account of Ryan's night on the town is that is why Ryan is susceptible to charges of fiscal hypocrisy.

Ryan has built his reputation in Washington as a fiscal conservative who advocates a small government approach that "doesn't pick winners," but he also voted for TARP and the auto bailout. He frequently waxes on the need to keep taxes low, but voted to tax executive bonuses at AIG after the insurance company joined TARP. He is the author of a plan to decimate Medicare over the next generation, but also voted for Medicare Part D, the largest expansion of entitlements in a generation (even though it had a dubious funding mechanism).

Ryan's explanations for these votes range from ridiculously nuanced to outright apologetic, were all, to a very large extent, votes that placed political calculations over the economic virtues he frequently promotes in public. To date, and to their credit, bloggers on the conservative side of the Cheddarphere have actually called Ryan out on these, shall we say, inconsistencies, but their criticism was short-lived and quickly forgotten.

Wine shouldn't be the reason people are piling on Ryan, his track record of folding when the chips down should be enough. Alas, explaining the ins and outs of legislation and economic policy is far more difficult than pointing to a $350 bottle of pinot noir and yell "Hypocrite!"

1 comment:

Naked Chicken Stew said...

Christ almighty yeah.
You cain't explain nuthin to these pinheads around here. They just look stoopid doing this. Acting like stereotyped socialists dictating what a man can drink up his paycheck with.

BTW if you also do posts on the goddam lunacy of the Naked Bike ride framed as FREEDOM and CIVIL RIGHTS, and on the mutherfuckin Urban CHICKEN issue (die Hipsters! okay u doan hafta die, just stfu!)
...then we'd have a nice lil Trifecta here.
Yes we would.
It's a mad world baby.
(going nowhere, going nowhere)