In the era of make-believe-President Donald Trump, any good news is a welcome event, so the announcement by Paul Ryan that he’ll be retiring in January of 2019 is fantastic! The phrase “Good riddance” has rarely seemed more appropriate.
However, listening to a few of the news reports and reading several opinion pieces has been disconcerting. They paint the picture of a guy who “struggled” to hold onto his principles while wrestling with Donald Trump for the soul (?) of the Republican Party.
While it’s true that Ryan occasionally objected to a few of Trump’s more outrageous comments throughout the Republican primary season in 2016, and he called him out during the fall campaign following the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” video (“I am not going to defend Donald Trump. Not now, not ever”), he was quick to change his tune after Trump’s Electoral College victory.
Paul Ryan saw a golden opportunity to pursue his long-cherished agenda: destruction of Obamacare, privatization of so-called entitlement programs, and re-shaping the tax code to benefit the wealthy and corporations. In order to attain these goals, he willingly sold his soul (?) to the Antichrist. He refrained from additional criticism, and instead praised Trump’s “leadership” (???). He enthusiastically embraced Trump’s use of identity politics--playing on white privilege and resentment. It became difficult to distinguish the lackey (Mike Pence would be the handmaiden) from the Antichrist himself.
As he prepares his slow departure, Ryan touts his accomplishments--in particular pointing to the tax bill. Several days ago, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the deficit is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2019, courtesy of the Republican “tax cut”. That’s a nice legacy to leave the next generation, Mr. Ryan. This piece of legislation passed (last December) without a single Democratic vote. It locks in permanent tax cuts... to corporations (down from 35% to 21%). By contrast, middle class tax cuts were given an expiration date of 2026! And though most middle-class Americans were projected to receive an average payout of $930 (tantamount to 1.6% of their average income), the real bonanza will be enjoyed by the top 0.1%, who’ll receive an after-tax gain of $193,380. You’ve performed your duties for the privileged few well, Mr. Ryan, but you’re leaving behind a country that has never been more polarized--economically or politically. You should be ashamed of your behavior--though given the fact that you were barely able to keep your racism in check during the eight years of the Obama presidency, nothing you do is all that surprising.
Yours is a sad story, as well as a cautionary tale, though I’m certain you’ll be raking in tons of cash by spinning it otherwise. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out... see ya Paul!