Paul Ryan and Scott Walker Come Out for Repeal of Federal Child-Labor Laws, Because the Kids Insist. Coming soon: Talking polar bears pleading for more oil drilling.
Oh, my — not only was Paul Ryan’s hunger=dignity speech appalling on the merits, the anecdote he used to make his point was fake — a distortion of a real story with a completely different point.
I’m actually not happy with this discovery; the crucial point here should be that even if the story of the kid who wants brown bag lunches were true, it would be a terrible argument against school lunches and the social safety net in general. In a way it’s a bad thing to have the conversation shifted instead to Ryan’s failure to get simple facts right.
— Into the Mouths of Babes, Paul Krugman, nytimes.com today
Here’s what Ryan said yesterday in his speech to the CPAC convention, as related by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait:
In his vacuous, sloganeering speech today at CPAC, Paul Ryan argued that “the left” — the term he used to describe not the actual left, but the Obama administration — offers Americans “a full stomach — and an empty soul.” What soul-emptying ways is “the left” filling people’s stomachs? Ryan has a story from his fellow Republican, Eloise Anderson:
“She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch — one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.”
Anderson is a longtime anti-safety-net crusader and currently a member of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Ryan was paraphrasing testimony gave to the House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs, last summer. Greg Sargent details the controversy here, and links to Glenn Kessler’s and Wonkette’s investigative reports on it from last night.
I initially had the same reaction as Krugman: that this under-oath fabrication of fact by a witness at a congressional hearing who is a key member of Walker’s administration, would become the news story, rather than that Ryan used the anecdote to come out for repeal not just of the school lunch program but also of child-labor laws.
But upon reflection, I think the revelation that this Walker appointee gave fabricated testimony to a congressional committee–stunning, in itself–is a net plus, because it brings far more public attention than otherwise to the premise of this Walker appointee (and therefore of Walker himself) and Ryan: that children from poor families, including, presumably, infants and toddlers–these people want to kill the food stamp program, too–should work for their food.
This odd conflation of parent and child, by both Anderson and Ryan, is so weird and ridiculous–and so stunningly offensive, surely, to most Americans–that its mere verbatim recitation will, I think, be a gift that keeps on giving during this year’s campaigns. But it also highlights this: that the Republicans appear to be unaware that a large percentage of school-lunch-program or the food-stamp-program (or both) recipients come from households headed by someone who works, often full-time, at a very low-wage job or at a combination of low-wage jobs.
Or else these pols are claiming that no one should work at very-low-wage jobs, and should instead find a way up the socioeconomic ladder. In which case, they are saying that Walmart and the fast-food and hospitality industries should pay their employees more. I mean, shouldn’t be able to find employees. (Not ones who’ve fed themselves and their kids, anyway.)
Paul Ryan and Scott Walker turn out to be pro-labor, after all! Who knew? We Dems need to start appreciating the annual CPAC conference for it’s, um, newsworthiness.
These people’s weird obsession with killing the social safety net is shared by–what?–15%-20% of the public? They themselves seem to recognize that outrageous that the people who want this is small, and the people who obsess over it and privilege it over all other policy matters, is really, really small. Which presumably is why they keep fabricating stories.
This is part and parcel of the genre that until yesterday most recently featured as its top stars Julie Boonstra and Emilie Lamb. What’s next? Talking polar bears pleading for more oil drilling?
As an aside, I think that if Walker is serious about running for president, he needs to fire Anderson. She fabricated a story, under oath, at a congressional hearing. That’s not a trivial matter.
Walker goes out of his way to do and say dumb things and he has always surrounded himself with people who make him look smarter than he is–the Secretary of Revenue notwithstanding (he was in that position at the end of Tommy Thompson’s administration and was brought back by Walker presumably so he would have someone who knew what they were doing). Walker is the guy who got fooled by a radio disc jockey into believing he was talking to one of the Koch brothers and explaining how they were considering dirty tricks against protestors, any number of his aides before he became governor have been convicted or are under investigation for misconduct and those that are not have been revealed as racists with sophomoric senses of humor and his singular campaign pledge–to create 250,000 new jobs–is going to end up around 150,000 short. He is a college dropout–lots of fog about whether he quit or was asked to leave–and only rose from his position as a state assembly back bencher because the Democratic County Executive of Milwaukee was a crook. Despite all that he may get re-elected in an off year election which traditionally has weak Democratic turnout, but he will NOT be a viable presidential candidate anymore than Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin were the last time around. Arguably each of those three was more viable and at least Perry and Palin could have carried there home state something Walker could not do–at least against a living Democratic candidate. He is a teabagger darling, but like Ron Johnson those types only win in the upper Midwest when the presidency is not in play.
“He is a teabagger darling, but like Ron Johnson those types only win in the upper Midwest when the presidency is not in play.”
“Talking polar bears pleading for more oil drilling?
Perhaps baby seals working in bat factories,or wolves repairing helicopters.
I wonder what percentage of that 15 -20% wants to kill Social Security or Medicare?
A brown paper bag full of tea is what Tiny Tim really wanted for lunch, along with his soul, of course, packed on top, lovingly by dear ole Uncle Ebenezer Ryan.
I watched The CPAC road show, yesterday. I swear, I’ve got three horses that can’t produce in a day, the horseshit that crowd did in about the time it took me to turn it off and find something useful to do.
Say, didn’t Social Security feed his sorry ass, growing up. Some people can’t remember where they came from.
Right now, the TV has ole “It might have looked like me, but it weren’t me that shut down the government” Ted Cruz bad mouthing Bob Dole, A TRUE American Hero. The only time Cruz would pick up a rifle is to shoot himself in the foot.
And there’s Rick Perry, you can tell a Texan, but ya can’t tell him much
I hope they all run for POTUS..
Of course the answer to the poverty problem is easy. These people just have to stop being poor.
“These people just have to stop being poor.”
That seems to be the republican/libertarian answer.
Look at the 2 minute mark of the video. You are correct.