Saturday, June 23, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Ryan’s thoughts on tax cuts are worth $1.50

Confession is both good for the soul and column fodder.

So Iíll plead guilty to the charge that whenever some politician says or does something incredibly dense, the first thought that leaps to mind is "Ca-Ching!"

President Donald Trump has suggested that Democrats who chose not to stand in rapturous awe and applaud until their palms bled over his every utterance during the State of the Union address fit the description of traitors who hate America.

To be sure, the dour Democratsí lack of support was in stark contrast to the Republicans on the other side of the aisle, who every time the president burped looked like all those teenage girls who swooned over the Beatles when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

But if expressing loyal opposition qualifies as sedition, then the Republicans who sat in Easter Island statue-like silence during President Barack Obamaís addresses to Congress probably deserved to have been sent off to Guantanamo Bay, too.

This is what happens in Washington, where Potomac Fever attacks that portion of the brain which controls reality.

Dissent becomes disloyalty. And a $1.50 a week is viewed as a windfall.

Over the weekend, House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted his praise of the recently passed $1.5 trillion tax cut and cited as proof of its monumental boost to the middle class: "A secretary at a public school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week ... she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for a year."

We pause here for a forehead slap. Or perhaps spit-take of coffee. Whatever works best for you.

Politicians are often taken to task for being out of touch with their constituents. Sometimes the criticism is fair. Sometimes it isnít. In Ryanís case this certainly rises to the level of "What the &^%$#&%# where you thinking?"

Itís worth remembering that Ryan is second in the line of succession to the presidency. He is one of the most powerful political figures in the nation, wielding vast influence over legislation passing through Congress.

And yet this singular figure somehow arrived at the notion a secretary hauling in an extra $1.50 a week is now rolling in clover all thanks to the GOP tax bill. Perhaps he was channeling his inner Man of the People. Unfortunately, the man turned out to be Ayn Randís John Galt.

How does this sort of "Let them eat Cheez-Whiz!" myopia happen?

Ryan canít be oblivious to the numerous critics of the tax bill, which will disproportionately benefit the wealthy upper reaches of society. Indeed, a number of analyses of the tax bill have noted Trump is likely to see anywhere from $22 million to more than $40 million in net savings from the revised tax code ó a tad better than $1.50 a week. Of course, we could nail that number down in more detail if Trump actually released his tax returns. But, alas.

The speaker deleted his tweet, perhaps after someone on his staff slapped him upside the head for coming off as a clueless Washington elitist. But Ryan can never delete what he believes.

This is, after all, a man who while decrying big government has never held of a private sector job since graduating from Miami University in Ohio. Now 47, for the better part of the past 25 years Ryan has been face down in the public trough as a congressional staffer, or an elected member of the House from Wisconsin, rising in leadership before ascending to the speakership in 2015.

Ryan has never had to worry about where his next $1.50 a week comes from.

There is some validity to the argument that when youíve spent as much time as Ryan being kow-towed to, with lesser minions bowing and scraping before you, while you may pay lip-service to your humble roots, it is all too easy to lose touch with the folks back home.

Ryanís claim that a Pennsylvania school secretary was beside herself with gratitude over her eight-bit bonanza reflected how far removed the speaker is from daily middle class lives. It also has encouraged ironworker Randy Bryce, a Democrat, who is running against Ryan, to solicit donations of $1.50. According to Roll Call, Bryce has taken in roughly $60,000 in contributions of just $1.50.

What might we call this? The Ryanís Shrug heard around Wisconsin?

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18