Everyone’s Ignoring Paul Ryan’s New Republican Agenda. Good.

As I previously mentioned, Paul Ryan is rolling out this year’s Republican agenda throughout the month of June. Under the headline “A Better Way,” Ryan’s plan is supposed to be a reclamation of Republican ideals, reimagined for the future. Too bad  nobody’s paying any attention to Ryan right now because of the giant sweaty orange elephant in the room. Michelle Cottle at The Atlantic writes:

Just look at what happened at the rollout of the agenda’s first plank: Ryan’s pet anti-poverty plan. The speaker and seven colleagues crossed the Anacostia River to commune with the impoverished, overwhelmingly minority residents from the “bad” side of Washington. But after all the speechifying, the only thing reporters wanted to talk about was Donald Trump’s latest outrage, regarding the Mexican heritage of Judge Gonzalo Curiel. And so the big news to come rolling out of the event was Ryan’s “textbook” racism comment.

The first six questions were about Trump,” AshLee Strong, Ryan’s spokesman recalled to me.

"And now I'm about to repeat the same song I've been singing for the last decade...hey! Guys? Where you going, guys? Guys!"

“And now I’m about to repeat the same song I’ve been singing for the last decade…hey! Guys? Where you going, guys? Guys!”

Poor Paul Ryan. Nobody’s paying attention to his big new ideas because they’re more concerned with the bigoted tyrant at the forefront of his party who could conceivably destroy America’s economy for a generation. It’s a real tragedy for Ryan.

Except it’s fine to ignore Ryan’s policy proposals because there’s nothing new about them. As I pointed out, he’s been propping up the same tired and ineffectual poverty plan for most of his career. And the more of A Better Way that I see, the more I realize that it’s not new at all. What Ryan is proposing here is more trickle down economics for the masses.

The conservative trickle-down ideology promotes a wide array of policies which promote three basic goals in order to make the rich richer and the poor poorer:

  1. Tax cuts for the wealthy.
  2. Deregulation for the powerful.
  3. Wage suppression for the 99 percent.

And so with these three policies in mind, let’s look at the plan that Ryan is unveiling to an audience of zero. Here’s Paul Ryan’s take on regulations: “regulations can stifle innovation and infringe on liberty.” He throws on some shiny details about “transparency” and so on and so forth, but really these are the things you always talk about when you’re arguing for deregulation. So that’s number two on the list.

Ryan is already on the record as vociferously combating the minimum wage, which is the third item on the list. He’ll be unveiling the tax part of his plan, presumably, next week. If that plan includes a tax increase on the wealthy, I will happily and publicly apologize to Ryan.

I’m not counting on it, though.

In the end, it’s probably good that Ryan’s big announcement is getting blown out of the media sphere by Donald Trump’s ongoing trash fire of a campaign. If anyone was paying attention to Ryan’s plan, they’d definitely notice that there’s nothing new about it. In fact, it’s the same old Republican agenda slapped up on a (relatively) snazzy new website.

 

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.