What Was Paul Ryan's Real Role In The 2008 Bush Bankster Bailout?
Even if the DCCC never saw it coming, Republicans have been growing increasingly worried that, Wisconsin's first congressional district, which voted for Obama in 2008 would probably swing back to the Democrats with Ryan running for vice president. Rob Zerban is a sincere and capable progressive and he will make a much better representative for Wisconsin working families than Ryan. As for Wall Street, they have plenty of representatives and losing Ryan won't be that big a catastrophe. Although... Ryan has been one of Wall Street's most devoted partisan's. We tend to mostly think of him as the "Kill Medicare guy" but let's go back a few years and look at the eye-popping, anti-Tea Party role he played in forcing through the Bush bankster bailout.
It's September 2008 and the GOP kleptocrats are winding up their last months in office. They wanted to deliver one more grand giveaway to Wall Street-- Henry Paulsen's bankster bailout. One problem: enough Republicans (133 of 'em) joined with Democrats to defeat it 205-228 when it was first brought up for a vote. Wall Street's best-paid shills, Boehner, Cantor and Paul Ryan, mobilized for battle. At the time Ryan, a relatively junior Member, had already taken $1,704,095 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street (a number that has now risen to $2,860,072). After the defeat in the House, Wall Street and the banksters went bonkers and pulled all Bush's strings and he and Paulsen easily got the monstrosity passed in the House of Lords and then went back to the House with a no less odious version of the bill that they had rejected a few days before. This time it passed 263-171 with not 65, but 91 Republicans joining in. Among the vote switchers who had had their arms twisted by Boehner, Cantor and Ryan plus the official registered Wall Street lobbyists:
Gresham Barrett (R-SC- $807,723)
Judy Biggert (R-IL- $1,675,717)
Charlie Dent (R-PA- $760,872)
Mary Fallin (R-OK- $336,576)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA- $1,670,352)
Pete Hoekstra (R-MI- $295,830)
Gary Miller (R-CA- $807,688)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL- $928,068)
Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH- $458,449)
John Shadegg (R-AZ- $1,218,261)
Lee Terry (R-NE- $1,246,007)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH- $2,438,284)
At the time some people wondered if teabaggers and fiscal conservatives would hold a screamingly hypocritical Ryan accountable at all. Yesterday's selection by Romney-- popular with the GOP base-- shows they didn't give a damn. At the time, Ryan was the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee. He' had assigned himself the job of spokesperson for fiscal austerity but he had already taken more money from the banksters than any other politician in the history of Wisconsin politics and, as we saw, he voted for the bank bailout not once, but twice. In fact, Ryan was one of the hypocrites exposed in Michael Moore's film, Capitalism: A Love Story:
In a section of the critically acclaimed examination of how Wall Street insiders diverted hundreds of billions of tax dollars into their accounts, Moore illustrates how the bailout happened. Democratic and Republican members of Congress who do the bidding of the bankers scared their colleagues and the American people into approving a massive bailout of the speculators whose misdeeds created the financial meltdown that shocked the nation in September 2008.
Ryan, the Republican congressman from southeast Wisconsin's hard-pressed 1st District, is shown playing the fear card by telling the House that it had to steer almost $800
millionBILLION to Wall Street's sleaziest players.
"If we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us-- if we fail to pass this I fear the worst is yet to come," claimed Ryan.
The statement from the Wisconsin Republican who has positioned himself as a budget specialist in the House played a significant role in securing support for a bailout bill that had not been adequately analyzed and that included few protections against fraud.
Had Ryan used his reputation and his role on key committees to aggressively oppose the bailout, he might have blocked the rush to judgment that economists now say could end up costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars-- and a big chunk of their country's future.
Instead, the GOP establishment's favored point man on fiscal issues claimed-- without benefit of facts, figures or any grounding in economic reality-- that a failure to give the bankers everything they were asking for could bring on a depression.
"This is a Herbert Hoover moment," Ryan told the House, as he reached a fear-mongering crescendo. "(Hoover) made mistakes during the Great Depression-- let's not make those mistakes."
It was a virtuoso performance. Moore was right to highlight it.
The filmmaker has given Wisconsin taxpayers a dramatic illustration of how it came to pass that we are bailing out bankers and billionaires at the same time that auto plants are closing in cities such as Janesville and Kenosha-- both of which are in the 1st District. More importantly, Moore has reminded the voters of southeastern Wisconsin how key members of Congress such as Paul Ryan determined to take care of the speculators on Wall Street rather than working families on Main Street.
Ryan was overjoyed to bail out his bankster/paymasters on Wall Street but when it came to bailing out their victims who, through no fault of their own, were swamped with screwed up mortgages, he changed his tune... drastically. Ryan always stands up for corporations and never stands up for working families.