Paul Ryan takes heat from people who have never been in the kitchen

Romney 2012

One of the best things about living in the nation’s capital is that sometimes you get to hear some pretty cool people speak. One multiple occasions I got to hear Rep. Paul Ryan talk — extemporaneously — on public policy, and he blew me away. On top of that he was a nice guy, stopping in to speak to Heritage interns when he could have just whisked out the door without saying a word. Rep. Ryan has managed to work in the D.C. “kitchen” for quite some time now without deviating from his core mission — to increase freedom and individual liberties for all Americans — but yet he now finds himself taking heat from people who have never even entered the restaurant.

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years now, and I never heard someone question his honesty and integrity. He’s a principled guy in an unprincipled town. He’s outnumbered and has limited tools to work with, which is why I find it bizarre that “RINO” keeps echoing off the walls of the Internet since the House announced its budget deal with Democrats.

Buzzfeed’s piece, titled ‘How Paul Ryan Saved the Day’ sums up the Congressman well:

Ryan’s recent success stems in large part from his deep roots within the GOP’s conservative wing. Long before becoming a member of the conservative “Jedi Council” that has helped foment conservative outrage against previous spending plans, Ryan was a key figure within fiscal conservative circles in Washington. Over the years Ryan has developed a reputation amongst conservative and moderate Republicans in the House as a trusted voice on not only budget issues, but broader economic policy.

“The thing about him is that everyone knows he’s a straight shooter, he’s not going to play games. And that’s what it takes,” Diaz-Balart said. “Everyone understands what he says is real, whether you agree with Paul Ryan or not everybody understands that his word is truthful. In this process, he’s among the most trusted.”

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Rep. James Lankford, one of the most conservative members of the GOP leadership, agreed. “The level of trust is there because people know what his core is. We’ve all gone through budget negotiations with him, we’ve all seen the budgets he’s put together and the coalitions he’s put together to get that done. So we know he’s going after as much as he can possibly get,” Lankford said.

Have you ever tried to get blood from a stone? Republicans are not in a position to be able to take a chainsaw to government spending at the moment — particularly after the shutdown. They crossed the rubicon on that, and then when the pressure got too hot they wilted. Worse, they weren’t able to articulate the legitimate philosophical concerns that motivated them to go that route in the first place. If it wasn’t for the Obamacare rollout disaster from Hell, where would the polls be at the moment?

Take a look at where some of the loudest criticisms of Congressman Ryan are coming from; they emanate from people who would very much like to take the mantle of pied piper away from President Obama and hold onto it throughout the 2016 presidential election. The tea party is right: America is broke. In fact, it is more broke than any nation has ever been in existence. The way to address the problem is not to cannibalize one of conservatism’s staunchest defenders as he’s trying to convince the American people that Republicans can work with people they have fierce ideological disagreements with.

Note to my Tea Party friends: If there is a Socialist who seems like a really nice guy and an free-market Republican who seems like a jerk, the American people will (at least these days) vote for the Socialist. This carries over to how we talk about social issues. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it — and if you always come across as an angry raving-mad lunatic who would rather engage in scorched earth tactics than work with a political opponent, you will lose. And then America loses.

You don’t win by subtracting and dividing; you win by addition and multiplication. Congressman Ryan understands that if he can only get 30% of what he wants, then it’s better to do that then to throw a temper tantrum and get nothing. If the tea party is smart, then it will hold its fire on one of the few principled politicians in Congress and resume the air campaign on Obamacare.

Related: Barack Obama, Mysterio vs. Paul Ryan, Spider-Man?

Related: Paul Ryan’s wine passes sniff test; Susan Feinberg’s behavior smells like rotting Monkfish à la Soubise

U.S. debt blows by $17 trillion — Clueless Americans go about their business

Obama Jenga Economy

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could run your personal finances like the federal government? Every time you maxed out your credit card you could just increase the limit, shrug your shoulders, and continue spending. It would be great … until the day came when your creditors decided to get serious about the money you owed them.

Congratulations: the federal government is open and the debt pushers have given Americans another hit of their favorite drug:

U.S. debt jumped a record $328 billion on Thursday, the first day the federal government was able to borrow money under the deal President Obama and Congress sealed this week.

The debt now equals $17.075 trillion, according to figures the Treasury Department posted online on Friday.

The $328 billion increase shattered the previous high of $238 billion set two years ago.

Here’s what my brother said last night:

“I wonder if these people realize that if the interest rate on the national debt goes up even one percent that we are toast.”

Indeed. We are toast. Many Americans blame the tea party for making it hard for the president to raise the debt limit, when the truth is that they’re the only adults in the room. The Jenga tower of debt is wiggling and wobbling and the only people who are seriously trying to figure out a way to stop the coming crash are mocked and ridiculed.

The funny thing is, Barack Obama once sounded exactly like Ted Cruz not too long ago:

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the bank of China in the name of our children — driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for our first 42 presidents —  (number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome) so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we’re going to have to pay back. $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic. **audience claps** (Barack Obama, July 3, 2008).

Here’s a dirty little secret: whether it’s a Democrat or Republican in office, the debt just keeps going up, up, up. And when you finally have a small group of conservatives who are trying to discuss the severity of the consequences if we don’t get this under control — now — they are called “terrorists” and “hostage takers” and men with “bombs strapped to their chest” by the White House.

Here’s another dirty little secret: Millionaire politicians will survive future economic calamities because … they’re millionaires, and they’re really good at voting themselves money. Take the spending bill that opened government again, for example. Asked about all the money confiscated by taxpayers to benefit individual politicians, Nancy Pelosi’s response was incredibly telling.

“What difference does it make?” Mrs. Pelosi said when she was asked repeatedly about the items, which include a $174,000 payment to the widow of the late multimillionaire Sen. Frank Lautenberg and a $2 billion maximum price increase on a dam project on the Ohio River that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had supported as an earmark in previous years.

When John Edwards wasn’t impregnating the woman who wasn’t his wife years ago, he used to talk about “two Americas.” He was right — but not in the way he imagined. There isn’t one America for rich people and another for poor people, but there is one America for hard-working citizens and another for those who have their hands on the levers of power. Hopefully, the economic pain to come in the years ahead will teach Americans the value of limited government in ways basic math, bloggers and honest reporters have been unable to convey.

National debt mysteriously frozen; Feds use accounting that would land you in prison

National Debt Clock Twitter

A few weeks ago I met up with some old friends in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown for some sushi. During the course of conversation the national debt came up. I mentioned that the official Twitter “debt clock” was frozen at just under $17 trillion for what seemed like a long time. Too long of a time. My friend asked how that was possible and I said that I had no idea other than that the feds were probably playing some strange accounting games that would land the average American citizen in prison.

It turns out that Terrence Jeffery of CNS News has been wondering the exact same thing:

According to the Daily Treasury Statement for July 26, which the Treasury released this afternoon, the federal debt has been stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00 for 70 straight days.

That is approximately $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60 that Congress has imposed on the debt.

The portion of the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress first hit $16,699,396,000,000.00 at the close of business on May 17. At the close of every business day since then, it has also been $16,699,396,000,000.00, according to the official accounting published by the Treasury Department.

If the debt had increased by even $30 million at any time during those 70 days, it would have exceeded the statutory limit. But, according to the Treasury, the debt did not do that. Instead, it remained precisely $16,699,396,000,000.00.

Even though the government’s official accounting of the debt has not budged for 70 days, the Treasury has continued to sell bills, notes and bonds at a value that exceeds the value of the bills, notes and bonds it was redeeming.

Ask yourself: Does this pass the sniff test? Of course not.

On May 17, the day the debt began its long stay at $16,699,396,000,000.00, Treasury Secretary Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. In the letter, Lew said the Treasury would begin implementing what he called “the standard set of extraordinary measures” that allows the Treasury to continue to borrow and spend money even after it has hit the legal debt limit.

This is exactly what I have talked about for years on this blog. The U.S. economy is resting over a giant sinkhole of debt that continues to grow, and at some point it’s going to suck a whole lot of people into darkness and despair. The American people who spend their nights looking and laughing at pictures of Anthony Weiner’s blurred weiner on “The Dirty” will soon come face to face with a fiscal reality that is far scarier than a pervert from New York. Politicians in both parties will have blood on their hands, but ultimately it is we the people who are to blame.

We elect buffoons into office. We allow the media to distract us with circus-side shows.  We have become so invested in “red” vs. “blue” that slick politicians have been able to exploit blind partisanship for personal gain.

The real question is: Who stands for freedom and who sets the stage for tyranny?

Does President Obama stand for liberty? Does John Boehner stand for liberty? If you answer “yes” or “no” like a Pavlovian dog the moment your brain registers each man’s party affiliation, then congratulations — you are a dutiful little red or blue foot solider. Unfortunately, recessions and depressions don’t care whether you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to your name.

The truth is that almost no one in Washington is telling the truth. We went over the real “fiscal cliff” some time ago. The exact date is uncertain, but right now Uncle Sam is an unconscious man in free fall after being thrown out an airplane. Will America wake up in time to pull the parachute, or are we too close to the pavement already? It’s a good question.

By this time, most people are familiar with the saying: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” It’s true. The problem is, at one point in time our little economic Mustang had plenty of roadway to ease on the brakes, change direction and ride off into the sunset. Now, the wall is before us and we’re still careening towards it, ever closer, at 100 m.p.h. — and instead of pumping the brakes and telling you to make sure your seat belt is on, President Obama and John Boehner are asking you look out the window and enjoy the scenery.

I have my seat belt on. I’m a weird guy and decided to wear a crash helmet because I never cared what other people thought of me. What about you?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run to the metaphor store. I used quite a few of them in this post and I need to restock the shelves.