Again, we have Mother Jones to thank for yet another telling video that allows Paul Ryan to express his utter disdain for working Americans:
As Brett Brownell and Nick Baumann quoted in the article, Ryan says in the video:
"Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes," he said on the June 2010 edition of Washington Watch. "So we're going to a majority of takers versus makers." By November 2011, in an address he gave at an American Spectator event, Ryan put the number of takers at 30 percent. (That remark was first reported by Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post.)(More below the fold)
Ryan has also warned about President Barack Obama creating "more of a permanent class of government dependents"—language that echoes Romney's take on the "47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
The real problem Ryan has here (aside from coming across as the world-class dick that he is) stems from his pathetic grasp of logic. As a Catholic school boy myself, I'm pretty sure he wasn't taught by Jesuits, because those dudes were strict Aristotelians (at least when it came to logic; Platonists everywhere else). If he had been schooled in traditional logic, he would have failed the most elementary tenets of the intellectual system that provides the foundations of not only science but the backbone of our Constitution.
Given Ryan's logic (and I have to assume he's a sincere Randbot here), if I'm a public school teacher, paying my bills from a government paycheck -- one so paltry that I may need to supplement it with SNAP benefits (food stamps) in order to provide for my family, I'm a "taker" and not a "maker." That, despite the hundreds of kids who leave my classroom to make something of themselves in America. Becoming other "takers" like nurses or firefighters or cops or other government leeches.
Likewise, anyone serving in the military as an enlisted person is definitely a "taker" in Ryan's zombie eyes: Aside from pulling a government paycheck, almost anyone E-5 or below who is trying to support a family will tell you that it can't be done without SNAP (and other) benefits.
Hell, why go heroic? By Ryan's logic, the person trying to support a family on the wages they get from cashing out your groceries or toting off your garbage or pouring you your coffee is a "taker" because they can't do it without some government assistance.
It's kind of how our country shits on the people carrying the heavy loads.
Yet, if I've been fortunate enough to have been born into a situation where I inherit the factory and corporation and the four or five houses with the servants, I'm somehow a "maker" by default? Just because circumstances have dropped me in the lap of luxury in a way that my good fortunes allow me to hire "takers" by the dozens?
That doesn't sound like a logically consistent system that rewards hard work or excellence. That sounds like a game of chance that screws everybody who is not connected or otherwise set up to win.
It sounds less like a scientifically- or logically-based system and more like a mafia-owned casino.
At the risk of casting aspersions, didn't Ryan's daddy's Social Security payout and the state college he attended (on reduced tuition) make him one of the "takers" he refers to in his attempt to strike terror in the (tiny) hearts and minds of those you're addressing?
Ryan's problem is entirely one of bad logic; his ooga-booga false dichotomy of "makers" and "takers" just doesn't attain. While I'm willing to grant that there are some who would game the system for a mere pittance, electing to live in poverty for the sake of taking but not making, those few are mere statistical noise, such rare birds that they hardly qualify a place in the taxonomy. For the most part, people want to get ahead, to thrive and succeed, and will take almost any foothold is available to ascend to whatever heights they can achieve (and those aren't all monetary, despite your tiny-minded focus). In fact, your low opinion of most Americans seems, from where I sit, rather unpatriotic.
I can understand his problems with logic. Ryan fed into the puerile pseudo-philosophy of Objectivism and found himself incapable of outgrowing its grasp. Likewise, he failed to realize that almost no reputable university Philosophy department teaches Ayn Rand other than to show how her logic was essentially impoverished (a great primer for that is "How to become an Objectivist in 10 easy steps"). In the end, his problems with logic, challenges with telling the truth and inability to grasp the fact that the universe is a complex and interconnected place only goes to show him to be the flash-in-the-pan that he was destined to be, the historic footnote he will become on November 7.
There is no "60 percent logic" because logic doesn't work that way: It's either 100 percent or nothing. And while it's clear that logic can't always be applied to politics (and rarely is, unfortunately), the words Ryan speaks in the video will, in the end, stand only as an example of how once too much weight was given to the ideas of cranks and fools.
(Cross posted at The Firebird Suite where I blog about parenting, politics and the 'Phhhhh' in Phoenix)