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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan, VP Candidate

Well what do you guys think of that choice?  I was not as surprised that he was asked as I was that he accepted.  I guess he hadn't read the words of John Nance Gardner, a two term VP under FDR, who said famously that the Office of the Vice President wasn't "worth a bucket of warm piss" (not my words, his words I'm quoting directly for historical accuracy).  It seemed to me that Ryan really took his position as chairman of the House Finance Committee seriously and felt that he was making a difference.  If VP Gardner's description of the VP office is accurate then there is not much of a difference he will be able to make as VP.  Of course you do get free housing.  It's hard to discount that as a pro to acceptance.  Ryan then will be living in a house paid for by the taxpayers (oh irony). 

Perhaps the party called upon his sense of duty or loyalty to the party or convinced him that his name on the ticket was their best chance of ousting Obama.  He is after all the anti-Obama, with Obama being the tax and spend Democrat and Ryan being the slash and save Republican.  The only problem with that, I think, might be if people start wondering why Ryan never made a peep when the Bush Administration was running up the national debt to over $10 trillion.  I guess he was just being a team player.

I really don't know if Ryan will help Romney or hurt him on election day.  It seems there are very few undecided left, percentage wise.  By all accounts Ryan is a decent man, smart as a whip and a fine speaker.  He'll likely eat Biden's lunch if they debate.  But I don't know if that will help since VP Biden has been known to eat his own lunch quite often.


  1. Well, a discussion of Romney’s tax returns now seems somewhat trivial.

    1. Tom I'm curious why you believe that?

    2. This article, which is at the moment listed as one of the most popular articles on Yahoo!, would suggest that the issue is at least still in play.


    3. Here is why I made that statement.

      Paul Ryan is best known for his budget plan which, I would offer, now becomes the Romney-Ryan budget plan. Every reader of this blog can decide for themselves whether “The Path to Prosperity” is good or bad, but it does SERIOUSLY addresses spending, borrowing, and most importantly entitlement reform. I am guessing that Ryan’s selection as a VP candidate moves the budget proposal to the forefront.

      It choosing whether to debate the Romney-Ryan budget plan or an unsubstantiated (at least for the moment) claim that Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years I think the tax issue loses.

  2. Perhaps Ryan was aware of Vice-President Garner's remark which has been - and could continue to be - euphemistically described as: The Vice-Presidency is "not worth a pitcher of warm spit." Perhaps he was also aware that if Mr. Garner had remained as Roosevelt’s VP it would have been him and not Harry Truman in the White House in the summer of ‘45.

    But perhaps he was more impressed by Lyndon Johnson’s calculation of the percentage of presidents who had previously been VP. (about 20 %)

    And Ryan would also have been aware that a post “Garner statement” list of Presidents who had been VP (spelled out) would look like this:
    Truman, E, K, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, C, R, Bush, C,B,O
    That would be 5 of 12.

    PS Roosevelt was the losing VP candidate in 1920 and Kennedy sought the VP candidacy in 1956.
    If they were included it would be 7 of 13.

    PPS Perhaps Ryan knows that even if the Rs lose this year Ryan will be the front runner for the Republican nomination in 2016.


    1. You are, of course, right about all of those things. He could have thought of all of those things and then some. But in today's and likely tomorrow's political atmosphere it is increasingly difficult to leave the office of the Presidency at the end of your term with any goodwill left and similarly the VP by association. So while historically the probability of a VP becoming the P was better than average, I would be surprised if that continues. Gore wasn't able to cash in and if Cheney had run I doubt he would have faired very well at that time. I would wager that even Darth Vader would have defeated him without using the Force, dark side or bright side. Your PPS is a valid point.

      As for Irony? So it does not strike you as ironic that the poster boy for lower government spending, which will by necessity be hurtful for many Americans at the lower end of the economic food chain, would be living entirely on the taxpayers' dime? It does strike me that way. I guess you had to be there. Seemed obvious when I typed it.

    2. The frequency of presidents having been VPs has been growing since Lyndon made his decision.

      I suppose that it would seem ironic if you do not distinguish between what one receives as a gift and what one receives for services rendered.

    3. Since Lyndon made his choice? The Times They Are A' Changin'. Time will tell if the past is any indication of the future in this case. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. The last VP was elected in 1988, almost a quarter century ago. That's getting to be pretty far back in the rear view mirror. But you've got numbers and I've got my opinion based on my observations filtered through whatever biases I have developed in my life. Both are subject to error when predicting the future. Ryan is a numbers guy so you are probably 100% correct that he would go by the numbers more than just which way the wind is blowing.

      I don't think the use of the White House or the Vice President's house is considered compensation...for tax purposes anyway. And no I'm pretty sure it's ironic...the perception is relative though I suppose. If something ironic happens and the observers do not see the irony is it still ironic?

    4. If something is not ironic and someone calls it ironic, does that make it ironic?

      Do you think it is ironic that Ryan accepts his congressional salary?

  3. I knew you would say that. It's really the only serious retort one could give. Of course, I meant the question to be rhetorical.

    Yes, actually I do. Given that he gets paid from government spending, and his health insurance is paid for from government spending, and his pension plan, the likes of which you do not find in the private sector, is paid for from government spending, and his expense account is paid for from government spending, and if he is elected VP his free and tax free house is paid for out of the very government spending which he so powerfully demonizes. All of this he receives from the government while he advocates cuts in government spending that will cause many thousands to lose their jobs and many more thousands to have their benefits cut or even terminated because we must cut government spending. No matter how you do it there will be much pain and suffering visited on real people through no fault of their own. But not to Paul Ryan. So yes, given those things I do find it ironic that he accepts his government salary and all the other benefits of being a congressman. Add to that a higher salary and free housing and the irony just goes up a notch or 2.

    1. I do not believe that it is ironic that CongressCritters are paid. I think that it is good policy and that they should be paid more (2-10-11). If they were not paid, then the only people who could afford to serve would be the rich.

      Let’s see how the shoe looks on the other foot. I got some benefits from the Bush tax cuts? I am opposed to the Bush Tax cuts. But I did not say, “Well I’m philosophically opposed to these tax cuts, so I will go ahead and pay the higher taxes that I think we should have had.” Doesn’t that put me (and perhaps you) in the same boat with Ryan?

      But the main point is this: It may seem generous to use government spending to prevent the pain you speak of, but if it leads to national bankruptcy there will be a whole lot more pain later.

    2. I must reply so that you will not misunderstand what I believe. From your comment I think you do. In my reading of the definition and understanding of the word irony, there is no judgment attached. There is either irony or there is not irony. If one reads that something is ironic one should not read ironic as "bad" or even "undesirable". Sometimes things in life are unavoidably ironic in the way that they happen. Those things may be desirable from a point of view and undesirable from another point of view but from either side they may be ironic. At least that's the way I understand the word "irony" and use it.

      Now, should "CongressCritters" be paid to do the nasty work that must be done to maintain the health of our country? Without a doubt. Should they be paid more than they currently are? Probably so. I would not have any of their jobs for any amount of money. Serving on the board of my Home Owners Association 12 years ago, an unpaid position, destroyed any idealistic thoughts I may have had about a political run. Even at that low level the decisions that must be made are not always easy and it is a thankless job where you are a constant target for derision and anger no matter what you do. I have no doubt that the difficulties of the decisions and the level of derision and anger go up geometrically as the political office level increases.

      As far as the pain and suffering that will necessarily be one of the results of steep cuts in spending, they are inevitable just as cutting costs is absolutely necessary. A cause and effect. I do not want to be glib about it. While irony is not in and of itself bad or undesirable, as I understand it anyway, pain and suffering are (I hope we can all agree on THAT at least) and I only hope that the ones who will necessarily suffer can at least be in our thoughts and maybe even given a thanks for "taking one for the team" as we "pull the plug" on them, if I may mix my metaphors. WAY too often these segments of our population are pictured as a bunch of lazy good fer nuthin' socialist communist leaches when most of them, by far, are no different from you and me. I suppose it makes it easier to inflict the pain if we think of them as the enemy of our pursuit of happiness...the ones who want to destroy our way of life.

      Hey guys! When you lose your jobs or other means of support just take solace in the fact that you are doing your country a big favor. This must be done because we can no longer afford you. We wish you the best of luck in finding other ways to support yourselves. We truly hope that the supply-siders are right and the private sector will pick you right up and your life will be back to normal in no time. We REALLY do. A big THANK YOU from all of us nonsufferers. Sorry that we were smarter/luckier than you in making our life choices.

    3. Also, to your concern about only the rich being able to afford to serve, according to a November 16, 2011 article in USA Today, 11% of Congress have net worth of over $9 million. While the median net worth of congress is about $890,000 (9 times that of the average household) with 250 millionaires. Now I don't really know what level of net worth makes you rich (what the cutoff is). A million dollars ain't what it used to be. So if you are concerned about only the rich being able to afford to serve, do these numbers concern you?

      caveat: I don't know if these numbers are correct or not. The author quotes the source as the financial information disclosed by the individuals themselves.

    4. .
      I believe that I do understand you.
      You are opposed to cutting the current rate of spending and you make highly emotional appeals in support of that position.
      You apparently do not see excessive debt as a problem worthy of a response.

    5. Can't someone see our debt as a serious problem and still not want to reduce it on the backs of the poor? I would cut the rate of spending by first reducing military expenditures and ending wars, then by changing tax rates. If that doesn't work, I guess it would be OK to go after all those shiftless drugged poor people (sarcasm intended)>

    6. .
      I certainly do. My first step would be to declare the value of medicare as income and tax it with the income being devoted to the medicare pot.

      Of course that would hit the MIDDLE CLASS to whom all politicians pander like a caricature of a sycophant.

      Hello KW.

    7. No Wayne....you don't understand me. As I said, but you ignored, costs (aka spending) must be cut. Yes our debt burden is too much and we need to lessen it dramatically. I don't know how else to say it. I also understand that we are in way too deep to ignore the fact that entitlements are going to have to be cut. Without touching entitlements the arithmetic just doesn't work. Sorry KW. I wish it weren't true but I've looked at it and looked at it and I'm afraid it's true. I get that and I have said so. So I don't know how it became apparent to you that I don't see excessive debt as a problem worthy of a response. But I also see the victims of those cuts as worthy of at least a modicum of respect.

      As far as your declaring the value of Medicare as income exactly what does that mean? What is the value of medicare to which you refer? The portion of the Medicare tax paid by the employer? Or the benefits received? Or what?

      It sounds like you are referring to benefits received. But if that's the case how are we going to tax our parents for the benefits they receive? Many of them certainly cannot afford that even if they gave the government all the income they make. So I must be wrong about that? I am interested.

  4. see-Tax Medicare as income 8-14-12