Saturday, December 28, 2013

So Wait - Paul Ryan Presumes to Lecture Pope Francis?

Francisco (20-03-2013).jpg

It's almost too hilarious, too imbued with extreme chuckle factor to relate without rolling on the floor in a laughing fit. But evidently, the econ doyen of the Repukes - Paul Ryan - has actually sought to lecture Pope Francis on capitalism after Francis came out swinging against trickle down BS economics, e.g.

Francis, in an 84-page document known as an apostolic exhortation, headed "Evangelii Gaudium" of the Holy Father, made it clear that NO moral theologian could embrace "trickle down, or supply side" economics or the Pareto model that it's based upon.(E.g. )

Francis was blunt - too blunt for many conservos - as he proclaimed:

How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

And this was evidently way too much for Paul Ryan as well - he who formulated and presented his noxious 'Path to Prosperity' several years ago, based on more tax cuts, more military spending, cutting food stamps and replacing Medicare with vouchers (which a senior could take to an insurance company and hope to buy up to $10,000 a year in health care  -never mind if his cancer treatment costs $55,000).

This is germane given that today some 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits- growing to 4.8 million through the new year as the 26-week cutoff point rolls forward.  They can thank Rep. Paul Ryan. He took the lead in negotiating a pseudo-bipartisan budget deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray that revealed again the Dems have no balls, no moxie and don't know how to deal with Repukes. As the authors of 'Banana Republicans' put it - they "carry knives to a gun fight" (when they ought to be bringing UZIs and AK-47s)  On behalf of his party, Ryan held the line against continuing extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Those who are left out of benefits from today, and those affected in the weeks to come - and who are faced with hungry, crying kids-  can thank Paul Ryan for his dastardly imposition of harsh austerity while the military and Spy state grows fat  to the tune of over $800 b a year. Make no mistake, it is the preferential favoring of the military -spy state that is costing people food, warmth and likely the very roofs over their heads.

Anyway, in an interview Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having now. People need to get involved in their communities to make a difference, to fix problems soul to soul.”
Ah yes, the "charity solution". The one favored in the 19th century by philosopher Herbert Spencer who coined the term "survival of the fittest" (not Darwin!) and used it in his theory that natural selection could be applied to the human race to prune away "undesirables". He railed against government assistance - even for the disabled - and proclaimed that "if they are not fit to survive on their own then they should not survive".  Instead, he offered the chestnut of charity- if people only donated more time, money then all would be well and the poor would be raised up, ennobled. And without the government Nanny state!  Never mind, even with people today donating some $6 b a year it still falls short of the needs and demands - with 48 million people at or near the poverty level.
"Soul to soul" is nice - a kind of cuddly trope to warm the cockles of the Neoliberal heart-- once you're in heaven - assuming it exists! On this Earth, and without the government's assistance, you're still going to see millions of kids hungry, in rags, and people homeless.
As evident in the interview, Ryan still couldn’t suppress either his right-wing politics or his ignoble capacity for condescension as he chirped:
The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”
So wait....let me get this straight: because the Pope is originally from Argentina he's not free to comment on the U.S. Neoliberal capitalist system? The implication being he has to be ignorant (hence unqualified to comment)  if he isn't living here? Has Ryan ever heard of books, libraries, newspapers?  Does he believe Francis inhabits a vacuum or bubble like his Repuke - Tea Party clones?

The fact is that the Pope,  based on his experience, is probably much better qualified to discuss the limits and defects of capitalism than Ryan is, blinded as he is by Randite bunkum. Recall Ayn Rand's solution to helping others as she put it in her book, The Virtue Of Selfishness (p. 45):

The proper method of judging when or whether one should help another person is by reference to one's own rational self-interest and one's own hierarchy of values: the time, the money, or effort one gives or the risk one takes should be proportionate to the value of the person in relation to one's own happiness.

Now compare this to the biblical view: cf.  1 John 3:16:

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

One wonders whether Ryan, as a Catholic, ever had real occasion to study his Bible in depth (assuming he owns one).   In the same Rand book (p. 120),  we see how his idol compares those receiving Medicare to thieves "robbing a bank".  In fact, this harridan actually proclaims (ibid.) "the private hoodlum has a slight edge of moral superiority since he has no power to devastate an entire nation and his victims are not legally disarmed."

Are you shitting me?  So, please now, if Ryan is an acolyte of Randian econ how the hell can he also be a sincere Catholic and be enjoined to follow Francis' injunction to care for the poor and those tens of millions marginalized by Neoliberal market capitalism?  Never mind, Ryan has pulled another rabbit out of his cocked hat even as the Beltway morons of the Neoliberal corporate empire gawk and faun.

Ryan actually professed to an aide to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, that he is going to deliver an anti-poverty agenda as soon as the spring. “This is my next ‘Roadmap,’” Ryan told him, adding:

I want to figure out a way for conservatives to come up with solutions to poverty. I have to do this.”

Yes, indeed, he "has to" because his previous "Road Map" blew up along with all the Beltway buffoons that supported it and glorified it.  Recall that the previous incarnation of tomfoolery BS and bunkum busted out the deficit for years and didn’t balance the budget until 2040, thanks to its generous tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. In other words, the guy who impressed Ezra Klein as a serious, albeit deficit-obsessed budget wonk,  turned out to be terrible at math. Maybe Ezra needs some math retreading too, if he is going to be able to discern serious "wonks" from self-seeking assholes and fools.

In the meantime, I will go with Francis' take on capitalism, having already seen the extremes that trickle down can have on other nations, i.e. Barbados, when it was tried there in 1986.   As for "crony capitalism" I don't know what planet Ryan inhabits but the US of A is the hallmark and empire of cronyism. It is "pay to play" to the Googleplex power: the lobbyists and other scum bribe our officials with perks and money, and they deliver the 'goods' in the form of laws or policies in the money-changers' favor. Meanwhile, the 99 percent suck salt.....or shit, as the case may be.

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