He’s willing to enable a dictatorship to live out his dream of transferring trillions to the richest
How did a president who promised “insurance for everyone” end up backing a bill that will uninsure millions?
The answer is simple: Paul Ryan.
This doesn’t assume that Trump would want anything better or wants anything at all but massive tax-free gains for himself and his family. But it’s important to note that the repeal bill Republicans are hoping to push through looks pretty much what it would look like if Paul Ryan were elected president — or Mitt Romney were elected president after absorbing all of Paul Ryan’s ideas and the actual Paul Ryan into his campaign.
Trump once proposed single-payer health care because he thought it could win him the presidency. Now he’s betting his presidency on the opposite.
Donald Trump’s agenda is Paul Ryan’s agenda. It’s a “monumental fraud,” as Greg Sargent calls it, on Trump’s working class voters. But Trump is happy to oblige, since Ryan’s agenda essentially matches his and his donors’ basic world view — the rich should get richer, polluters and bankers should feel free to victimize whomever they please and women and minorities are inherently suspect thus must be subject to strict government controls.
Important point: the Ryancare debacle has nothing to do with Trump. This is about the intellectual and moral emptiness of the GOP as a whole
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 7, 2017
As Krugman notes, the cruelty of the GOP’s plot to uninsure the poor to make life for the rich a bit easier is inherently a GOP plot. But never forget that it would be impossible without Donald Trump — whose master salesmanship and even more masterful lying sold workers and aging white Americans. Without the innovation of promising “terrific” greatness to voters put into a white panic, no one was ever going to buy Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand plan to teach the poor how to choose richer parents.
Ryan’s reluctance to embrace Trump last year impressed some as a sign that there was some substance to the man. But we know now that the only reason Ryan objected to Trump was that the Speaker didn’t think he could win and might even cost him his majority. We know this because now that Trump has won, Ryan is now actively enabling Trump on the president’s path to becoming a dictator.
It’s hard to tell which Republican policies are purposely enabling dictatorship and which are just a typical right-wing attempt to put corporations in charge of our lives. But there are several areas in which Ryan is clearly signing off on Trump’s march to authoritarianism.
This starts with scientists meant to protect our air and water being silenced. And it continues with starving the agencies meant to protect consumers and collect taxes, even though this will cost the government and consumers more in the long run. A Trump executive order aims to eliminate “75% to 80% of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations,” and a new law tells agencies to put “corporate profits above environmental, health, and consumer protections.”
Starving the public of the protections and information we need to be kept safe doesn’t just enable plutocratic powers to profit off endangering people, it enforces a dictatorial control.
The foremost example of this is Trump’s tax returns. Rather than failing to demand them, the GOP Congress is burying any investigations that might reveal his conflicts. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has done more to clear Trump’s name than reveal his campaign’s ties to Russia, a country that sought to elect him after he changed his party’s platform in the country’s favor. And the House Oversight Committee is refusing to consider obvious violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution or an obvious pay-to-pay scheme in Mar-A-Lago where members are charged a fee, recently doubled $200,000, and given direct access to Trump and world leaders.
There’s a risk in getting bogged down in this Russia conspiracy because it distracts from Trump’s massive conflicts of interest. But the even bigger risk is it take the focus off Paul Ryan’s agenda of transferring trillions in wealth to the very richest.
Here’s how Jonathan Cohn described Paul Ryan’s budget proposal in 2012:
Ryan envisions a reduction in non-defense discretionary spending to levels this country hasn’t had since just after World War II. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by 2050 “most of the federal government aside from Social Security, health care, and defense would cease to exist.” That’s everything from air traffic control to medical research to food inspections to Pell Grants, by the way. If the Ryan budget somehow became reality then you might have to give up on college and avoid air travel—assuming you survived the food poisoning and killer diseases.
Without Trump, he would never had a chance to make this dystopia our reality. But let’s never forget that this nightmare we’re living in is Paul Ryan’s dream come true.
[Image by the great Anne Savage.]