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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Paul Ryan Sells Major Tax Shift Legislation Cheap For Only $500K

Pardon me for my cynicism, but I've been mildly amused by all of the attention members on my side, the Left and the Democratic establishment, have suddenly paid to the report that Charles Koch and his wife donated $500,000 to Paul Ryan's campaign committee after the congressman successfully pushed the Koch's tax plan through the House. I mean, who do you think Ryan was speaking to when he looked into the camera and said, "I did my part." Yes indeed.

On top of that, for the last ten years this blog and a handful of other Wisconsin blogs have been reblogging reports on Ryan's Koch connections and his annual visits to the Koch compound when it wasn't cool. I mean really. What does anyone think Paul Ryan was doing at those millionaires club "conservative clinics?" Playing tiddly-winks?

None of those reports mattered much however because afterwards, Ryan was re-elected by large margins again and again.

Even today, when political watchdogs like myself bring up the Koch brothers connections to some Wisconsin politicians and cry foul, we're accused of being just common political hacks or hear, "What about Soros?"

So for me, all of this sudden commotion over a mere $500K donation from Charles Koch to Ryan seems like old shoulder shrug news. It doesn't really change anything.

The most interesting part in my view however was how little they gave to Ryan for his major effort. $500K? Gov. Scott Walker picked up $500K from local Diane Hendricks for the mere asking. Think about it. Ryan's was national legislation worth tens of billions annually to the Two Percent and hundreds of millions to the Kochs alone almost immediately.

But it was, outside the naming of a post office, the first significant piece of legislation Ryan sponsored and passed in his nearly 20 years long career. Of course I realize the Koch's have a vast political cash machine known to contribute $200-$400 million annually to GOP party candidates and presidential campaigns. Rumors in 2012 swirled around $100M was earmarked just to the Romney/Ryan presidential campaign. But now we're talking a potential payoff for an "issue" effort - tax legislation - not necessarily candidate support, even though the "payoff" has the appearance of a common campaign donation. And, it's all legal.

So I have to wonder what price the Koch brothers and Paul Ryan have agreed to on block-granting Medicaid, or the dismantling of Social Security or Medicare. $800K each? $1 million each? It sounds dirt cheap. Yet, I don't blame the Koch brothers for getting off cheap. Who wants to overpay for anything if they don't have to?

What worries me most is how somebody in the congressional capacity of Paul Ryan today, without my cynical speculation of price-tagging or selling out, seems to hold such little value for those national treasures as it is. It's disturbing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe we're all getting disturbed about Ryan and the Kochs. That's great, and we know politics generally has been taken over by big amounts of money.

I think Ryan sells his services pretty cheap (though not by ordinary Amarican standards) because he is so much a part of the whole Koch plan: he's a loyal acolyte to them and Mont Pelerin, he's not a brilliant economic policy wonk, does horrific things to the people he claims to represent, and gets paid well by corporate America.

It will be interesting to see which lobbyist he winds up working for.

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