Ryan Grim reports the vice presidential candidate made his remarks November 2011 at the annual The American Spectator's 2011 Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner, six months before Romney made his 47 percent remarks:
"Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state," Ryan said. "Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers." [...]As usual with Ryan, as with the guy on the top of the GOP ticket, Ryan did not spell out specifically who he meant, which programs have created this class of supposed layabouts who can't get off the government teat, or what exactly the "American Dream" is other than a handy catch-all definable however a keynoter wishes to describe it.
"Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes," Ryan said. "So you could argue that we're already past that [moral] tipping point. The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will."
We do know, however, what Ryan (and Republicans who have voted for his budget) have in mind: demolition of Great Society and Social Security programs that, whatever their flaws, have served to keep more people out of poverty than would have fallen into it had the programs not existed. Social Security. Medicare. Food Stamps. Unemployment insurance. School lunch programs. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. These programs for seniors, children and other people—many of whom we call by that oxymoron, the "working poor"—are to be gutted in the Romney-Ryan version of the American Dream. Corporate welfare and special tax rates for people who don't make most of their income from wages and salaries don't, of course, count as government-dependent in the Romney-Ryan world.
The contempt with which this pair holds tens of millions of Americans oozes from their pores and other orifices. On that score, we should consider ourselves lucky. Many plutocrats have learned how to conceal their scorn, making them far more palatable to voters who don't look past their veneer.