Along with everything else he's running away from, Mitt Romney may now have to give up the 'You Didn't Build That' meme.
Paul Ryan's family made its fortune with a construction company started by his grandfather, originally Ryan Brothers and now Ryan Incorporated. It is now run by his cousin Adam Ryan.
Ryan Incorporated Central has been shaping the earth since 1884. The Company started in Janesville, Wisconsin with a team of mules building railroad embankment in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. As it grew, it added road work and mining in the early 1900's. By the 1940's the Company had become a full-service grading contractor serving both private industrial and public transportation customers, including some of the original work at what would become O'Hare Airport.
This including extensive experience in power and industrial site-work, state-of-the-art municipal and industrial landfill construction and capping and full service golf course construction. The Company's project size ranges in dollar value from $10,000 to $50,000,000.
Railroads. Roads. Landfills. Airports. Who built that?
Not just any roads, but the Federal Interstate system. As The Rude Pundit has pointed out:
But on the website for Ryan Incorporated Southern, headquartered in Florida (there are various divisions of Ryan and, yes, still from the company founded by his great-grandfather that's run by Ryan's cousins), it's a bit more explicit: "The Ryan workload from 1910 until the rural interstate Highway System was completed 60 years later, was mostly Highway construction."
In other words, you know how Barack Obama talked about how your business didn't build the roads that allow you to do business? Well, if you are in the Midwest, chances are that Paul Ryan's family did build some of the roads. And they got to be amazingly successful because the federal government gave them six decades of contracts and millions upon millions of dollars to build them.
Paul Ryan's family has accumulated a great deal of wealth thanks to government spending.
Are we clear here? We're talking about Paul Ryan, who, with his wife, is worth as much as $7.7 million and "much of the Ryans’ wealth is in the form of trusts and inheritances." For Rep. Ryan, those trusts and inheritances are a result of money that the federal government spent on infrastructure.
So let's count the levels of hypocrisy here. Paul Ryan's family got rich, very rich thanks to government spending. The spending which built the infrastructure which allows companies to function successfully. We all know this is what President Obama was referring to when he said 'you didn't build that'. We would never had heard of Paul Ryan today if the government had not spent billions of dollars on infrastructure, and he wouldn't be able to demonize government spending and call for its radical reform and dismantling.
Next, he and his running mate Mitt Romney are trying to build a campaign on the meme that those roads his company built are not an essential need and factor in the success of any other company. What does Paul Ryan have to say about the hypocrisy of thriving off the goverment teat while working to demolish it?
“Of course we believe in government,” Ryan said to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. “We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.” In other words, the government spending that helped Ryan’s family get ahead falls within the proper role of government. The government spending that helps other families get ahead …? Fortunately, Ryan Inc. also builds landfills, so we’ll have somewhere to bury all that wasteful spending on the poor and middle class.
There you have it. The government should pay for things that have benefited Ryan personally. But don't dare suggest this infrastructure might have helped someone else, or let the government continue to help anyone else. Pull up that ladder!