Every once in a while, a politician will ditch the double talk and bare his true self. Paul Ryan did it the other night, declaring with full candor on Fox News that he’s nothing more than a manservant for the rich.
Shocking, I know. But to actually hear him say it was perversely refreshing.
We’re all familiar by now with the House GOP’s kill-Obamacare bill, the measure that aspires to strip health coverage away from millions of needy Americans. (An analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will soon give us a casualty count.) Obamacare is heavily financed by taxes and surcharges on upper-bracket Americans — but fear not, rich folks, because Paul Ryan is coming to the rescue.
If the House Speaker and fellow Republicans have their way, those taxes on the rich will be nixed. Those who earn more than $1 million a year will save roughly $157 billion over the next decade. The small surcharge they’re currently paying on the Medicare payroll tax? Gone. The small tax that’s currently levied on their investment income? Gone. And once all that revenue is drained, the downscale Trump voters who get Obamacare will be among the hardest hit, and health programs tailored to their critical needs will be imperiled.
Oh, the irony.
Anyway, what’s truly noteworthy is that the Ryan’s inversion of Robin Hood — taking from the poor to give to the rich — is too draconian even for Tucker Carlson. The right-wing Fox News host believes (correctly) that the economic populist fervor that elected Trump was fueled in part by the belief that politicians tilt too much to the special interests. So when Carlson hosted Ryan on his show last Thursday, to chat about killing Obamacare, here’s what went down:
Carlson: “[Obamacare has] a tax on wealthy investors. And you’re eliminating it in a health care bill. My question is, looking at the last election, was the message of that election really, ‘We need to help investors?’ I mean, the Dow is over 20,000, are they really the group that needs the help?” Ryan: “We promised we would repeal the Obamacare taxes. This is one of the Obamacare taxes. So we’re keeping our promises …. You may want to keep that 3.8 percent tax [of rich people’s investment income]. We’re not going to keep it, because it was part of Obamacare.” Carlson: “But … all the wealth basically in the last 10 years is stuck to the top. That’s one of the reasons we’ve had all this political turmoil, as you know. So it’s kind of a hard sell to say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to repeal Obamacare, but were going to send more money to people who have already gotten the richest over the last 10 years.’ That’s what this [bill] does, no? I’m not leftist; that’s just true.”
Ryan’s response: “I’m not that concerned about it. Because we said we were going to repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and this was one of the Obamacare taxes.”
A right-wing Fox News host suggests that it’s nuts to keep enriching the rich who have been disproportionately raking it in — Carlson: “I’m not a leftist; that’s just true” — and Ryan responds by disgorging a gem of plutocratic candor: “I’m not that concerned about it.”
Democrats should market that quote in the ’18 midterm elections, if only to remind downscale Trumpkins that they voted against their own interests. People like Paul Ryan are not their friends — as Ryan just made abundantly clear. It’s a lesson that downscale voters in general should’ve learned a long time ago.
Insightful quotation of the day:
“The struggle with the press had become something deep and visceral in him. Moreover, he realized that there could be political gain in it. He was in the process of creating a new political constituency, in part from alienated elements of the Democratic party and in the blue-collar areas of the north. These people were angry and restless. There had been too much change for them to accept, too many assaults on what they had been taught to revere…All this was easy to blame on the messenger who brought the news, the press. And if they wanted to slay the messenger, it was only good politics for him.”—Author David Halberstam, writing in 1979. About Richard Nixon.
What, you thought that was about somebody else?
Breaking news: A disturbed intruder wound up at the White House.
Also, last Friday night, some nut scaled the White House fence.