The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Crime scene outside Cincinnati, Ohio where state police shot FBI attacker Ricky Shiffer

Youtube Screenshot

Ricky Shiffer was like a lot of MAGA “patriots,” often proclaiming his willingness to die for Donald Trump. Like seemingly all Trump fans, he was outraged that the FBI served a search warrant on the ex-president’s Florida estate, eager to declare “civil war” on “the Deep State.” Shiffer was such a True Believer that on Thursday, he tried to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, and ended up dying next to a cornfield a few miles away.

Shiffer believed he was dying a martyr to the cause. But his only reward was for the community of terminally online Trumpists with whom he spent his time to immediately denounce him as a “crisis actor” who had performed a “false flag” operation with the sole purpose of smearing MAGA people by association.

Keep reading... Show less

Former President Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

Most Americans have long believed former President Donald Trump perpetrated multiple felony offenses both before and after entering the White House, according to opinion surveys — and yet those same citizens have also assumed that Trump would never be held accountable. But just at the moment that his escape from the law no longer seems quite so certain, the Republicans have almost all fallen into line behind him like lemmings.

There can be little doubt that the former president is in deep legal trouble. To evade the law, he is employing his usual tactics, from slick spin to torrential lying to feigned outrage to threats of mob violence, but mostly delay.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}