22 March 2012

Paul Ryan's New Novella, Path to Prosperity, is Paul Ryan's Personal Path to Prosperity

I've just finished reading a great work of fiction called Path to Prosperity (PTP) by Paul Ryan.  It's quite a stirring read.   The novel is nearly as captivating as imagining the salivating neocons gnawing at the bit as the PTP races through the spin cycle of the right-wing's brand of media, namely Limbaugh (when's he going to Costa Rica?).  It is set in a mythical land called Ameri-can, whose motto is Yes we can, where people have been trodden on by an evil dictator named Obama and forced to accept an evil plan called Obamacare.  It's almost as thrilling as John Boehner's impassioned remonstration of TARP.  But it's in the conclusions of PTP that this tale competes with Zeus in apocryphal proportions. 

While it may be true that America has a debt problem it might not be right to characterize it as a crisis.  Yet that's what the PTP does. 38 times, just to be sure, I suppose.  It then proceeds to outline cuts from everything like pork and $6.2 trillion dollars in government waste to cuts in taxes.  Yes, cuts in taxes.  Cuts in taxes will clear up the debt; cutting money coming in while increasing money going out, all the while reducing the deficit and American's debt.  Sound plausible? 

Mr. Ryan and the rest of the House Committee on the Budget proposes to reduce the deficit while also reducing revenue. This sounds like someone explaining how to pay off credit card debt, student loans, and a home mortgage by sleeping all day.  IF it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are a few things the PTP does well.  Its articulate description of our nation's debt and deficit is very, well, descriptive.  There are pie charts and graphs including one cool pie chart that has a graphic flag of China in it. Evidently Paul Ryan and his posse are going to fix medicare, cut spending, and get rid of the evil Obamacare (which isn't it's real name, by the way; it's really called Obamamania or the Affordable Care Act) because that's all evil cast upon this great nation from the left, which has really become the center-left, well the ACA is really from the conservative Heritage Foundation, but nevertheless it's wrong for America. 

Mr. Ryan like so many of our politicians in office is living the American dream.  In fact he's Rip Van Winkle.  He would have us believe that he has in his interest the best interests of the country.  In actuality he's just looking after himself and his reelection coffers.

The PTP is long - it's like 70 pages - and it's mostly drivel.  But for a work of fiction it's not a bad first attempt. What it does a really good job at is what it doesn't do.

The PTP doesn't reveal that Congress is looting this country.  I mean wait until these numbers appear - down below - they're actually a bit astounding.  The overarching tenet of debt reduction according to PTP is through tax cuts and the dismantling of medicare and Obamacare.  There's no mention of the wasted dollars on the continuing failed drug war.  No mention of two failed wars.  No mention of mass incarceration and the new Jim Crow.  No mention of the continued tax cuts for the wealthy.  No mention of reducing the military budget; the PTP allots $690 billion to military spending that's not including war funding (think Iran here).  By the way, the Medicare Program's total expenditures in 2010 were $523 billion. And, there's no mention of any reduction of federal salaries. 

Oh, okay, Mr. Ryan mentions salaries.  Yes on page 33, "Salaries for federal workers continue to outpace pay for their private-sector counterparts. Average wages in the federal civilian workforce ($74,311 in 2010) far eclipse the $49,777 median wages in private industry."  That's it.  No mention of his salary or any other members of Congress or the cuts that he would accept.

While the GOP would like the public to believe that the PTP will cut government spending to workers, it won't cut government spending on elected officials or their staffs (maybe they're not workers).

Anyway, members of Congress make quite a bit more money than those federal civilians do and they pay their staff members fairly well too.  Mr. Paul Ryan earned $174,000 last year plus (excellent, might I add) health benefits and a (quite robust, I would say) retirement plan.  He reimbursed his staff $858,000 including $138,780 for his Chief of Staff, some Andy guy, that lucky turd.  And Ryan is a frugal member!

  • The salary of rank-and-file members of Congress: $174,000 plus benefits (health insurance and retirement)
  • The government ships off $223,500 to that sad sap Boehner and $193,400 for party leaders
  • Ron Johnson earns $174,000 and paid his staff nearly a million bucks and what'd he do.  
  • Herb Kohl?
Aren't these guys already millionaires?  What do they need more money for?  I thought they were in the service of their country not that the country was serving them.

Just imagine if the PTP included real cuts. The kind of cuts I think the American people could really appreciate.  
To congressional pay: Average wages in the federal elected workforce ($183,000 in 2010) far eclipse the $49,777 median wages in private industry. This Budget will repair that. Each Member of Congress will receive wages commensurate to the average wage according to the Average Wage Index (AWI).  According to the AWI, the average wage in America in 2011 was about $49,777.  These reductions would enable the government to cut $75 million dollars from the payroll.  In addition, Chiefs of Staff would also have a reduction of pay ensuring an additional 45-53 million dollars of savings.

Now wouldn't that be a budget we could trust?  Maybe not, but it would make a good start.

In the end Paul Ryan saves American from the foreign dictator Obama yet the American people face greater suffering than at any previous time since the Great Depression ravaged their country.  Poverty explodes and the rich fat cats buy spacecrafts to enter orbit. The PTP is the new Atlas Shrugged.

For further reading check out these sites:

National Wage Average according to the Social Security Administration:

The Medicare Program is the second-largest social insurance program in the U.S., with 47.5 million beneficiaries and total expenditures of $523 billion in 2010.

For more information about congressional salaries see:







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