I remember when the Janesville Gazette refused to endorse Sen. Russ Feingold in 2010 because they felt he lacked visibility in Janesville when General Motors was rolling out of town. The newspaper said he wasn't responsive enough to the community's needs. Of course they never held Rep. Paul Ryan's feet to the same fire. Never. Ever. This, despite Ryan being the House budget chairman and is now set to be the Chairman of the Ways and Means committee.
I also recall the last time Ryan was promoted through the committee ranks of congress, he made it a point to tell the voters in his district that he won't bring home the bacon.
JG editorial excerpt: (2006)
”If people think this will help me bring home the bacon, that’s not the kind of guy I am,” he told the Gazette.
Was he scolded by his hometown newspaper for that statement? Not a chance. Strangely, a lack of visibility and disconnect from district and hometown issues seem to be working just swell for him. His enablers view "not bringing home the bacon" as fiscally courageous for Ryan, but unresponsive or detached for democrats. But, that he keeps winning re-election is proof enough for me. So I can't blame him.
After GM rolled out, area "leaders" including federal officials sent by the Obama White House held an auto town recovery summit here in Janesville. The local group delivered a list of eight projects and requests for capital totaling slightly more than $40 million to the feds. Everyone was at that meeting except the guy that was needed the most in the House to write the earmarks, the district's self-described go-to federal guy, Paul Ryan. At that time (summer of 2010), Ryan was plugging his "Young Guns" book on national TV. Again, he keeps winning elections so it obviously pays for him to not be a part of the solution.
Now it's year 2014 and here comes Paul Ryan's hometown support base membership of the now infamous "redstate" business lobby, Forward Janesville, and their media enabler, the Gazette, to draw up and promote a downtown "renaissance" plan consisting of ten projects that would require a major infusion of public money to complete, not including the nearly $5M to tear down an over-the-river parking plaza.
This "conservative" group of dedicated Ryanroids, believe it or not, are not asking Paul Ryan for an earmark to cover the costs. Instead, they're insisting local residents must increase their taxpayer obligations in the effort to avoid an economic death spiral. Their words, not mine.
One problem of course is the taxpayers they're asking for more from are the same taxpayers they lobbied a major beatdown on with their state aid reductions and tax-shifting agenda, including their support for Scott Walker. They now fear however, that going without a larger local taxpayer commitment would "be dangerous to the long-term strategy of the community."
As expected, the Gazette followed up on Forward Janesville's fearmongering by joining in their call for an increased role of collectivism to make things happen. In a recent editorial, they wrote that "communities must stay progressive and offer amenities ...to prosper." They continued to ante up the rhetoric, adding that our quality of life hangs in the balance and we must invest in cultural amenities, parks and dining to attract skilled workers. All of this stuff they claim will come providing local taxpayers step up their obligations. Until then the newspaper writes, "Janesville stands at a crossroads." Their words. Guilt trip an all.
Those are some heavy ultimatums.
But not mentioned is Paul Ryan. There's no sign of him in any of the Gazette articles about requests for capital to help his hometown avoid this debilitating "death spiral." Why is that? Yet, the art form of taxation (collectivism) is mentioned and the willingness to accept higher taxes is encouraged along with all the prosperity higher taxes can bring. So urgently required that Janesville is now at a crossroads.
Does Ryan know about any of this? If so, what is his response?
But why wouldn't Paul Ryan, as chairman of the house ways and means, participate in his hometown issues for a change, write an earmark for a renaissance of prosperity that his local donor base so strongly believes in and supports? Why should residents in Ryan's hometown willfully increase their taxpaying obligations when their famous Koch star congressman thinks paying more in taxes is wrong?
If NOT increasing tax obligations can send our community into a death spiral, why does he keep winning re-election preaching the exact opposite? Who should we listen to?
The Progressive - Paul Ryan's Deep Contempt for his District
RNR - Is Janesville Metro Area At Crossroads For Progress? (June, 2012)