You are hereThe Cap Times: Paul Ryan is scam artist of the year

The Cap Times: Paul Ryan is scam artist of the year

December 28, 2011- Paul Ryan is a hustler. The Republican congressman from Janesville has gotten very good at fooling political and media elites into thinking that his schemes to steer federal money into the accounts of Wall Street speculators (by taking steps to privatize Social Security) and for-profit insurance companies (by turning Medicare and Medicaid into voucher programs) would balance budgets or in some other way improve the circumstances of working families.

But Ryan’s having a harder time fooling Americans who take fiscal matters and the future of the republic seriously.

Indeed, to the extent that Ryan’s machinations were exposed by responsible media in 2011, they were rejected by the voters.

Among the worst setbacks suffered by Ryan’s Republicans last year was the defeat of the party’s nominee in a spring election for a historically Republican seat representing upstate New York. Democrat Kathy Hochul won by ignoring her GOP opponent and running against Ryan’s plan to enrich Wall Street at the expense of the elderly.

The bad news from Buffalo scared Ryan. And rightly so.

If the congressman’s determination to raid the federal treasury in order to enrich his campaign donors becomes more well known in 2012, it will be more widely rejected. Even Ryan, who has been easily re-elected in every election since 2000, could be vulnerable — indeed, new polling suggests his approval ratings are trending downward in his southeastern Wisconsin district, where the Budget Committee chairman has been confronted by angry crowds at town hall meetings.

That’s a big problem for Ryan. And it explains why he has begun hustling to get the sort of favorable publicity that would allow him to remain a darling of the D.C. establishment and one of the most successful fundraisers on Capitol Hill.



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