Paul Ryan’s Five Worst Bush/Cheney-Era Blunders

The Iraq War Resolution

There’s a reason that George W. Bush immediately supported the announcement of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Paul Ryan was a loyal Bush/Cheney vote on all of the worst of that Administration’s historic screwups.

Let’s begin with the Iraq War Resolution, which was supported by far too many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Ryan was a solid “Yay” for this resolution. This tragic distraction ended up costing well over $800 billion, mostly funded through emergency supplemental appropriations bills that were conveniently not included in the deficit until 2010. Simply: There is no better example of wasteful spending in the last few decades than the Iraq War. And Paul Ryan voted for it.

The Bush Tax Breaks

Euphemistically called the “Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001” and the “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003,” the Bush tax breaks are the primary engines of our budget deficit. They both include the word “Reconciliation” because unlike most Senate business, they were passed by a slim majority vote in the upper house. Reconciliation was designed to make cutting the deficit and debt easier. In this case, the Bush tax cuts are responsible for about a trillion dollars in their first decade. These cuts, which were supposed to grow the economy, led to the worst decade of job growth since World War II. And Paul Ryan didn’t just vote for them—he’d like to make them permanent and then push Mitt Romney’s tax rate below one percent.

Medicare Part D

It’s difficult to imagine that Medicare Part D was anything but a cynical attempt to pander to seniors who vote while adding a burden that would eventually crush Medicare. The program added a needed benefit—coverage for the cost of prescription medicine—while providing no funding it. The bill also prohibited the government from negotiating with drug makers for better rates (as we do for Veterans’ drug coverage.) Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which closes the loophole in the Medicare Part D that costs seniors up to $250 a year, Medicare Part D adds hundreds of billions to the deficit.

How did Paul Ryan vote on this bill? Aye, of course.

Image credit: Theib

The Sensenbrenner Bill

It’s been called “the most oppressive and discriminatory legislation of the last decade.” This bill could have criminalized anyone who provided any aide to an undocumented immigrant including those running soup kitchens. It also punished any city that sought to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants and took away due process of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The bill died in the Senate but not before Paul Ryan voted for it in the House.


“This bill offends my principles,” Paul Ryan said in speech supporting TARP in the U.S. House of Representatives. “But I’m going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles…” This is the kind of logic that makes Paul Ryan Paul Ryan. He’ll be a part of a system that transfers billions in wealth to the richest one percent and engages in useless wars. But when it’s time to stop an economic catastrophe he wants you to know he’s offended. TARP came after a long series of crimes and blunders that led to the financial crisis. But it’s important to remember that the worst decisions of that era — from the repeal of Glass Steagall to the tax breaks that incentivized financial fraud — all bear Paul Ryan’s stamp of approval.


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