By Ed Wytkind
Earlier this week, the VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan stopped at an Ohio soup kitchen for a campaign photo op to show his concern for those less fortunate than himself. Only one problem with this display of caring as he rolled up his sleeves and did the dishes — the director of the soup kitchen said Ryan “barged in” without authorization after the food had been served and the dishes put away. In other words, it was all for show.
It’s a small story, but an apt metaphor for the GOP nominee’s views and voting record. For the record, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that 62% of Ryan budget cuts reduce funding for programs that support low-income people.
And a close look at Ryan’s record shows him as someone who frequently says one thing but does another – often at the expense of working families. Telling Americans in a national debate that he’ll create 12 million jobs doesn’t align with Ryan’s plan to cut transportation investments by almost half, sending half a million transportation workers to the unemployment line. Ryan’s budget, which Gov. Romney endorsed as “marvelous,” would slash aviation, public transit, passenger rail, highways, bridges, ports and maritime by 46%. That means longer commutes and airport lines, the end of public transit and Amtrak in many parts of America and even more severe highway, aviation and port freight bottlenecks. So he is for job creation, but wants to cut investments that we know create and sustain good-paying jobs across our economy.
Paul Ryan can even disagree with Paul Ryan. As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out during his debate on Oct. 9, Ryan took a timeout from attacking President Obama’s stimulus bill just long enough to put in several requests in writing for federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to go toward his district. So Ryan agrees with extremists in his own party but simultaneously puts in a request for evil economic recovery funds. And we wonder why voter cynicism is on the rise?
And while he called Gov. Romney’s 47% comments “inarticulate,” at least Ryan’s views about the role of government are out in the open and don’t require a hidden camera.
What the soup kitchen episode teaches us is that voters should be wary of politicians whose rhetoric doesn’t align with actual deeds. Showing up to wash dishes for the poor doesn’t negate the fact that Ryan championed an agenda that would result in a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the super rich.
Facts matter and can’t be skewed by a phony photo op. Our members will know the facts when they vote Nov. 6.