Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lying Ryan

What the hell is wrong with Paul Ryan? He recently tried to blame President Obama for a GM plant closing in Janesville, Wisconsin, as if Republican obstructionism had no role. Worse, Ryan, Romney, and nearly everyone in their party said at the time that Obama was wrong to intervene to save GM. This was shortly after the Janesville plant closed. Romney also made it clear that government should let GM go bankrupt.

Ryan blamed the lost jobs at Janesville, which is in his congressional district, on Obama. Did Obama not intervene? Did GM not survive? Ryan wants you to ignore the fact that GM is still in business, meaning many plants are up, operating, and profitable, but attacks Obama for not saving that one plant that happens to be in Ryan's district.

Ryan wants it both ways. Government should not intervene in commerce; the free market has the solution. Yet he chides Obama because workers in Ryan's district lost their jobs precisely because, he says, Obama did not act to save that specific plant. I thought you guys loved the Randian free market rough and tumble; you know, creative destruction and all that? And is there any one out there who doesn't acknowledge that GM had no choice but to shed manufacturing output?

The final irony to this is that GM closed the plant in 2008, under George W. Bush. Ryan is so determined to score cheap political points that he got his story completely screwed up.

A more complete chronology, complete with video, can be found here.

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There is a small addendum to the Janesville plant story: it made SUVs. People are moving away from them for very rational reasons. Ryan and others want to blame the plant closing on Obama because of high gas prices, overlooking the fact that gas prices have been affecting sales of SUVs for years. They're also ignoring the intense market competition within the segment. This crap about high prices makes Americans look stupid; we have the lowest gas prices in the industrialized world. The real motivator in politics is that so many of us are addicted to the idea of perpetually cheap gas. We want a world where gas is so cheap we can drive gas-guzzling behemoths with impunity. The trend towards smaller, more fuel efficient cars, towards hybrids and, gasp, electric ones, towards the legitimacy of downsizing and public transportation, is inevitable.

Factor in global warming, pollution, and the growing role of solar and wind power. All of this has been embraced by liberals here as well as significant majorities in other countries, many of which have become demonstrably more fuel-efficient than the US, and environmentally cleaner to boot.

And it bugs the shit out of Republicans.

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