Today is

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ryan's Hometown On Path To Poverty

The front-page story in Sunday's Janesville Gazette reported on the growing poverty facing Janesville's school children. Titled, Pupils feel pinch of poverty, the newspaper failed to touch on any of the possible causes for the decline and also left out scads of pertinent information. One item they left out is the number of homeless school children - over 350. Instead they wrote about the personal struggles of several Janesville students trying to keep their head above water, which isn't difficult to relate to considering this is Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown. To the newspaper's credit, they at least didn't try to hide one important number. The fact that nearly half of Janesville's school district kids live in poverty. You read that right. 47.3% of children in the Janesville school district are living in low-income homes. Of note is a percentage chart the newspaper produced that shows poverty among school children has been on a relentless upward trajectory since 2000, interestingly the beginning of Rep. Paul Ryan's occupation of our district seat in Congress.

It's no secret that Paul Ryan's hometown and congressional district has some of the worst joblessness, foreclosures, declining average wages, property values and poverty in the state of Wisconsin. That this is the same congressman that writes fictional budgets of Dickensian inspired prosperity and roadmaps of a tough love utopia is of tremendous consequence. We are living his dream.

Just consider that since the time when Ryan was appointed to the House Ways and Means and eventually the House Budget Committee, he promised the folks at home he would be bringing home even less. He meant it.

Beginning in 2005, Ryan's district has seen an annual precipitous drop in average tax return dollars through federal grants and contracts totaling $3.72 billion dollars through 2008. During the same period, other Wisconsin districts did not experience the same cut-off of federal aid. Ryan, for whatever ideological reason and there are plenty, went on a personal fiscal crusade against his district that resulted in a draining effect on many of district's more economically fragile communities. Ryan is so far out there in Bizarro world that this could be his own Frankenstein experiment to prove that the working poor and unemployed need less money in their pockets in order to liberate themselves from poverty. The theory is once rock bottom is struck, the only way forward is up. At 50% poverty, Janesville is only halfway there.

Of additional note during the summer of 2010, Obama's counsel on automotive communities, Edward Montgomery, paid a visit to Janesville to find out what kind of help the locals want or expect from the federal government. The main gripe coming from Ryan's district constituents (Ryan did not attend the meeting) revolved around the obvious lack of, and access to - capital. No surprise there.

Yet, while Ryan was cutting off his own district from a return on their tax dollars, he went on a spending spree. Just consider that he voted for the Iraq War ($1.2+ trillion through 2012), the GOP's Medicare Part D boondoggle ($200B+ 2004 through 2008) ($725B+ 2009 through 2018), and the recent tax cut ransom package ($858B). Throw in TARP (originally pegged at 700B) and the first round of the Bush tax cuts ($2.3 trillion over 10 years). All in all, just those few pieces of legislation resulted in adding $5.98 TRILLION outside of the annual budgets to the national debt. This doesn’t include the first stimulus or other major incidentals. Ryan voted for all of it and played a significant role in adding almost the same amount to the nation’s debt that it previously took over 200 years to accumulate. So while Ryan was shortchanging his own district constituents, he was loading up the military machine, Big Pharma and of course, the rich.

But Ryan's reign of terror is not over. There is much work to be done. While his district continues to bleed, he now wants to change the role of government in a new effort to prevent his wealthy base and corporate masters from sharing some of the responsibility in the burden of debt he charged up. It's tax cuts for everyone!! Along with defunding and dismantling Medicare, Medicaid and eventually Social Security, Ryan wants to remove what he views as the last three "hammocks" of the working poor and middle class. As if that isn't bad enough.

It's now 2011 and when half of the kids in his hometown are living in poverty, I'd think Ryan's record should start meaning something to people. But for some reason, I think people just don't care.

Related: Paul Ryan Is Not Who You Think

Gazette Endorsements Explain Why America Headed Downhill

Another Manufacturer Fleeing Ryan's District


Bubby said...

I despise Ryan and all he stands for, however I just wanted to say I saw no mention in your article about the closing of the GM plant in Janesville which has had a horrific impact on the local economy. Governor Doyle tried to convince GM to keep the plant open to no avail. I hope that folks from Janesville will be out protesting at Ryans office downtown and let him know what a schmuck they think he is!

Lou Kaye said...

I appreciate your perspective Bubby. This posting could have been a mile long describing Ryan's bold-faced neglect of his district and contempt for his constituents. Doyle, Baldwin, Cullen and Sheridan were active and present during the final months when eyes were on the GM plant. Ryan was nowhere to be seen and at one point even likened members of the local UAW to Saddam's Ba'athist party. Even today some credit must be given to Feingold and Obama that there is still a chance, albeit slim, that the GM could open again and start building cars. Ryan fought against all of it at the same time protecting billions in subsidies for Big Oil.

Post a Comment