Tom Morello on Paul Ryan

Rage Against the Machine guitarist and general badass activist Tom Morello takes on Paul Ryan in an op-ed in Rolling Stone. Ryan has famously said that Rage Against the Machine is one of his favorite bands, but he likes their sound and not their radical left wing lyrics. OK then. Morello writes:

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!

Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.

You see, the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So, when they look themselves in the mirror, they convince themselves that “Those people are undeserving. They’re . . . lesser.” Some of these guys on the extreme right are more cynical than Paul Ryan, but he seems to really believe in this stuff. This unbridled rage against those who have the least is a cornerstone of the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Baker versus Ryan

Dean Baker takes on Paul Ryan and a lot of the fawning love Ryan has received from the political press that ignores that the truth is Ryan is no deficit hawk.

Governor Romney’s decision to select Paul Ryan as his running mate has condemned the country to 90 days of ridiculous news stories and columns about a choice on the size and role of government. The debate is silly because its explicit assumption is that Paul Ryan wants a small role for government. There is no evidence to support this assertion.

From here, Baker outlines a number of ways he’s previously identified in his book, “The End of Loser Liberalism” around how the government structures economies that amount to billions or even trillions of subsidies and protections for certain industries. This obviously has to do with the size of government and its role in the economy, yet is ignored by both the press and conservatives in favor of limiting the discussion to taxes and spending.

Baker goes on:

While Paul Ryan is a vocal opponent of the policies that the government has in place to protect low and middle income people, he has never indicated any opposition to the massive interventions, like patent monopolies for prescription drugs and the Fed’s policy of using unemployment to fight inflation, that redistribute income upward. For this reason, it is flatly wrong to describe Mr. Ryan as a supporter of small government. He is more accurately described as an opponent of government interventions that redistribute income downward and a supporter of government policies that redistribute income upward. [Emphasis added]

I don’t expect many reporters will take up Baker’s accurate framing of Paul Ryan, but it’d be nice if they did.

Paul Ryan

Charles Pierce:

Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn’t believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth — our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he’s ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as an something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.