Paul Ryan has criticized Mitt Romney’s infamous denigration of 47 percent of Americans as “obviously inarticulate,” but a recently uncovered video shows Ryan making a nearly identical argument — with just a 17 percent difference in the number of “victims.”
Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post has uncovered a speech that Ryan gave to The American Spectator‘s Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner in 2011, in which Ryan trashes the 30 percent of Americans who he says want the welfare state instead of the American Dream:
“Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers,” Ryan said in the speech.
“The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right 70-30 country,” he continued. “Seventy percent of Americans want the American Dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state.”
Ryan’s comments are slightly more Randian than Romney’s — the line about “takers” and “makers” especially calls Ryan’s conveniently discarded idol to mind — but they are just as condescending and inaccurate. As Rick Ungar points out in Forbes, Ryan’s polls and surveys showing that 30 percent of Americans don’t want to achieve the American Dream are nowhere to be found.
Ryan has clearly not moderated his views in the 11 months since giving the speech; on Tuesday, he explained that his answer to America’s 47 percent “problem” is to “help them get jobs so they can get good paychecks and then they’re good taxpayers.” This is logical advice coming from Ryan, given that his budget plan strives to gut programs that seniors, military veterans, and other “victims” of the 47 (or 30) percent rely on.
Of course, it’s not surprising that Ryan and Romney share a dismissive view of a large segment of the American people; as National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason noted after Romney’s 47 percent remarks came to light, there’s strong circumstantial evidence that they both borrowed their elitist rhetoric from the same right-wing pundit.
Ryan’s entire speech to the Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner can be seen here.