Paul Ryan: Would-be Savior of the Welfare/Warfare State

By:  Sheldon Richman
08/15/2012
       
Paul Ryan: Would-be Savior of the Welfare/Warfare State

 Paul Ryan may be the conservative’s conservative, but understand what that means: He’s out to save the welfare/warfare state from its own intrinsic unsustainability. He’s no small-government man.

Paul Ryan may be the conservative’s conservative, but understand what that means: He’s out to save the welfare/warfare state from its own intrinsic unsustainability. He’s no small-government man.

Ryan’s budget blueprint, at best, wouldn’t balance the budget for three decades and meanwhile would add trillions in debt. He would only slow President Obama’s planned spending increases. If Ryan got his way, spending as a percentage of GDP would fall only to 20 percent. It was 18 percent when Bill Clinton left office in 2001. Ryan also wants more military spending.

But there’s more to Ryan than his budget. In virtually all other respects he supports big government.

In the Bush years, Ryan voted for everything: No Child Left Behind (which increased the centralization of education), the Medicare drug entitlement, housing subsidies, unemployment-benefits extension, the bank bailouts, and the 2008 subsidies to failing Chrysler and GM. In voting for TARP (the Trouble Asset Relief Program), Ryan said, “Madam Speaker, this bill offends my principles, but I’m going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles.”

Ryan is equally committed to intrusive government in other areas. He supported Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, voting for all the attendant big spending. When the House took votes on winding down the occupation of Iraq, Ryan voted no. He’s an advocate of the American empire, which endangers Americans physically and fiscally.

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Sheldon Richman (photo)

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