The GOP and White-Collar Welfare

As Obama is criticized over government aid for the poor, the rich continue to benefit from handouts.

Darren Hauck/Getty Images
Darren Hauck/Getty Images

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 Ryan — a man who is supposedly principled — has given no explanation for his fallacious claims that Obama’s 2009 stimulus did not work. The truth is that Obama’s policy has led to 29 months of consistent, positive job growth.

Unlike Bush’s post-9/11 response, which focused heavily on tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the wealthy and corporations, Obama’s $787 billion package was devoted to helping average American families, low-income earners and the unemployed. These investments — combined with the extension of payroll-tax reductions — have placed the economy on a road to recovery and contributed to an increase in consumer spending and consumer confidence.

Ryan also advocated for $224 million to save a GM plant in his small town of Janesville, Wis. He had originally supported Obama’s auto bailout — although he now claims he doesn’t — but that change of heart seems politically expedient because Romney infamously penned a New York Times op-ed entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” in which he outlined an argument that would have resulted in thousands of American job losses.

It’s important to note that this misguided philosophy isn’t new for Romney. As CEO of Bain Capital, he profited from bankrupting companies similar to the Janesville plant by shipping jobs offshore and relying on government bonds, federal dollars and local municipal tax breaks to fund Bain investments. The most well-known of these are Steel Dynamics in Virginia and GST Steel of Kansas City, both of which relied on corporate welfare.

But this hypocrisy is less reflective of Romney’s and Ryan’s personal attitudes or dispositions and more indicative of the GOP’s political playbook.

Ryan’s proposed budget — which made him a darling of the Tea Party — is dedicated to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: slashing corporate taxes for large businesses and capital gains taxes for high-net-worth individuals. He does this, of course, while cutting trillions from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the programs that the poor and middle class rely upon most.

In fact, under Ryan’s plan, Romney’s low tax rate of 13 percent would drop to 1 percent — an ironic twist considering the Occupy-movement debate and slogans. Literally, under a Romney-Ryan budget the top 1 percent would pay 1 percent in taxes. It is essentially a plan to institutionalize white-collar welfare.