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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) pesky intellectual love affair with Ayn Rand blew up in his face again on Wednesday, when he casually made offensive remarks about the work ethic in America’s “inner cities.” On Thursday, he clarified his controversial comments, arguing that society as a whole has not properly cared for the poor.

“We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular,” Ryan told conservative radio host Bill Bennett, “of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work, so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

Critics have accused Ryan of being racially insensitive and patronizing. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), for example, characterized his remarks as a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“My colleague Congressman Ryan’s comments about ‘inner city’ poverty are a thinly veiled racial attack and cannot be tolerated,” Lee said. “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.’”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) piled on: “There are few words that can describe such a deeply ignorant comment, but shameful, disturbing, and wrong offer a good start,” a spokesperson for Pelosi said in a statement.

Later on Wednesday and again on Thursday, Ryan attempted to defend and explain his views. He first told reporters that his remarks had “nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.” On Thursday, Ryan recognized that what he said could be construed as offensive and released a statement to clarify his “inarticulate” comments.

“I was not implicating the culture of one community — but of society as a whole. We have allowed our society to isolate or quarantine the poor rather than integrate people into our communities,” he said in a statement.

It may be worthwhile to examine Ryan’s attitude toward helping the poor and his attempt to “integrate” the economically disadvantaged into “our communities.”

First, as he attempted to make clear in 2012, he turns to theological scholars like St. Thomas Aquinas, not pop philosophers like Ayn Rand, for inspiration on this issue.

But Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal sought to “help” poor people with cuts to the top federal income tax rate, ensuring the most wealthy Americans pay less. Cuts to social programs that directly benefit the poor would, of course, offset the tax reduction.

In Paul Ryan’s world — or is it Ayn Rand’s? — the poor would then pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop mooching off the rich and relying on social safety-net programs for basic necessities. And, most importantly, the top earners in this country wouldn’t have to shell out their hard-earned money to people who don’t understand the value of work because of their “culture.”

It’s just how St. Thomas Aquinas would have wanted it.

Pete Marovich/MCT

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  • FredAppell

    Perhaps it was racial, or perhaps it was nothing more than a wrong-headed personal observation that was poorly articulated. Either way it makes no difference, the GOP isn’t likely to receive any votes from the inner cities anyhow. Furthermore, it’s much easier to cast aspersions on an entire culture than to try to understand and help it. I think for once the GOP should be part of the solution instead of committing wide spread condemnation.

  • toptwome

    Paul Ryan is a gag a minute. How sickening and disgusting he is toward people struggling to survive.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Well, he just shot himself in the other foot! Given Ryan’s being the scion of wealth, this reminds me of how we used to joke about George W. Bush being born with a silver foot in his mouth. Seems like Ryan has the same problem.

  • Grannysmovin

    Ryan probably was more truthful in that interview than he has ever been in his life. He was addressing a conservative audience and was throwing them their red meat. He uses quotes from a white nationalist – gee what would ever make people think Republican elected officials use race baiting.

  • latebloomingrandma

    I wonder if he’s ever taken a sociology class? He seems pretty clueless about people other than those like himself. Of course, that could describe the Republican party.

    • ganderdavis

      Well at least with your comment we can see your brain isn’t blooming like your mouth.I just love reading the lame comments coming from people who blindly follow an idiot like Obama and the Democrat party like little sheep.Talking crap about people who support themselves while standing up for those who have and will continue to milk the system all because people of the lighter shade are too afraid to say what they really mean to the moochers of the world.Obama will continue to flush this country down the sewer and he and his party of the lame will continue to use their we didn’t do anything wrong it was the other party excuse all the while getting dimwits to tag along for the ride.Oh and Bill their in office to keep jerks like you commenting on forums like this.And as all can see from idiots like lemstoll the race card is constantly played by jerks from the democrat party. To all democrats go choke on it !!

      • latebloomingrandma

        My remark was rather benign to induce a diatribe such as yours. Perhaps you stumbled on this site by accident?

  • lemstoll

    Racial stereotyping as usual. Started at the Civil War and a book Ryan has studied: Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

  • lemstoll

    Why the poor can’t work.

  • Bill

    Paul Ryan, rich asshole, never worked a day in his live, mooched off of Social Security, loves Ayn Rand, hates everyone else unless your rich, nothing but a drain on the Government we support, has done nothing to improve this country or help its people. Why are GOP assholes like him still in office sucking money from the American People?