“We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition. Because what we will end up doing is we will convert our safety net system — which is necessary I believe to help people who can’t themselves, to help people who are down on their luck get back onto their feet–in a hammock that ends up lulling people into lives of dependence and complacency which drains them of their incentive and the will to make the most of their lives.”
-Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, at the Heritage Foundation
In a recent speech at the Heritage Foundation, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan outlined a nightmare vision that the United States may become a nation of “takers and not makers.” He correctly noted the need for a safety net to help people back onto their feet.
But his view that being unemployed, and that very social safety net would put us all in a “hammock” of dependency and complacency that would prevent us from making anything of our lives deserves closer examination as it contradicts any real support for the poor and the working men and women of the nation.
One thing you’ve got to challenge in the rhetoric is people being “down on their luck.” Luck has nothing to do with it unless you yourself gambled with people’s home mortgages, decided to fire workers, and refused to allow the people with the most income and social and political clout to fully share the burdens of being Americans and not just the benefits.
Wall Street and a Republican Party that cannot do anything in Congress has created that “luck” that millions of Americans now lack. And if Ryan turns out to be right, they will have created the hammock for all of us to lay in and be despondent, complacent, and dependent, and lulled into doing nothing with our lives.
And Ryan has accused the protestors around the nation and the President with dividing American against American. The division sown into our social fabric has been placed there by the Republican Party and the refusal of people like Ryan to champion the great mass of the public in the nation. Congressman Ryan also neglects to mention that millions upon millions of us are united in our poverty, misery, and hopelessness about a future that seems to have been snatched away from us.
In Wisconsin, the legislature in Ryan’s home state was called into special session by Governor Scott Walker to have a session devoted to the jobs crisis in the State. They have clarified what a bicycle is, passed a resolution honoring pro-life pregnancy crisis clinics, and where Wisconsin residents may carry concealed weapons. You judge how many jobs that creates and how focused these people are on getting the people of the nation to work.
In Washington, Ryan and his cohorts continue to place emphasis on maintaining tax cuts and special privilege for the upper one percent of Americans while neglecting, gosh, the other ninety-nine percent. That’s a lot of hammocks you guys have to make Paul! If Struggles for Justice now were to name the jobs bills introduced into Congress, other than the Obama Plan and a chopped up version in some ten or fifteen pieces, we would find that Ryan’s Republican Party has failed to introduce one single piece of legislation that would put people back to work.
And then let’s go off to Wall Street and walk into corporate board rooms around the nation and see what wonders hath God wrought upon the denizens of the rich in making jobs for the rest of us however lousy and however they might enslave us. They cannot even do that or they don’t even wish to do so. If anything, the people who run the huge multi-national nation states that corporations have become want to shed even more jobs.
Hear that Paul? More hammocks.
If there is a threat that the nation will become a majority of takers and dependent souls on the largesse of government and a danger to public order and decency, it is a crisis of their own making.
Normal, ordinary people want to work. We love to work. We work more than we should whenever permitted to. We want to make things too. Manufacturing in the United States continues to decline as corporate managers seek lax regulation and low wage environments to create jobs overseas: the American dream turned nightmare.
This Ayn Rand disciple committed like Ayn to perfecting the individual at the expense of all other individuals and rejecting the moral guide and comfort of religion entirely (a great feat for a Catholic boy) is drifting into a Dickensian fantasy land as one other blog so aptly pointed out this week.
Congressman Ryan: I bet you have a most interesting Christmas this December. Remember, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future are all waiting to see you in your Congressional office, or perhaps in those town hall meetings where ordinary Wisconsin people in your very own district are anxious to meet you and applaud the cutting of their Medicare and Social Security that you have so neatly proposed and planned.
The chains are rattling wherever he goes. Ryan has forged and is forging some heavy and long links in his very own chains of bondage to masters who manipulate human beings for personal gain all over the world now.
We’ve yet to obtain the text of the complete speech but no doubt the Congressman will soon be heard to be shouting “are there no workhouses?” We now know who’s playing Scrooge at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington this year. And perhaps on an extended arrangement he might play the role every year while each link in the chain he is to wear is forged with the strongest iron and steel.
What a racket he’ll make on some future episode of Ghost Adventures.
American workers know who the real takers are. So does Paul Ryan but conservatives and Tea Partiers, and the Republican Party keep that well hidden. That’s why they are so deeply worried about the Occupy Wall Street Bogeyman. It may just be the Ghost of Christmas Past getting ready to arrive for them this year, and not just Paul Ryan.
We close with a set of stark statistics. Since 1979 the income of the top one percent of us has increased two hundred and seventy-five percent. It even takes more than one line to print it. Since 1979 the income of the remaining ninety nine percent of us, though some of the rest have increased their income substantially has been stagnant and stuck where it was forty-two years ago. And in the last decade ordinary working Americans have seen their income drop ten percent and it continues to drop.
Just who were you referencing Congressman Ryan when you referred to the takers in our society? And come this Christmas Eve pleasant dreams!