Rep. Paul Ryan Blasts Obama's "Class Warfare" And "Intellectually Lazy Arguments"

October 26, 2011 12:47 pm ET — Media Matters Action Network

Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the Heritage Foundation, where he accused President Obama of launching a re-election campaign based on "class warfare" and "intellectually lazy arguments." From his remarks:  

But instead of working together where we agree, the President has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past. He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators. [...]

Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger. Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country - corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.

Ryan is no better equipped to talk about class warfare than Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) is to address economic inequality. Ryan's signature policy proposal, the Path to Prosperity, would eliminate vital services for working Americans while reducing taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations. If that's not class warfare, then nothing is. 

Meanwhile, intellectual laziness has become Ryan's own calling card, despite his reputation as a serious thinker. Last Friday, for example, Ryan blamed Obama for choosing the path of "painful austerity," ignoring his own advocacy of severe budget cuts. Previously, Ryan has attacked Democrats for using the same "accounting gimmicks" that he does, claimed Obama's "spending spree" is the "whole reason" behind the need to raise the debt limit, and latched on to a report that the Affordable Care Act would allow people to work less as evidence that it would "destroy jobs."

Finally, no matter what Republicans say, the tax increase favored by Democrats would affect only 0.2 percent of Americans, and there's no need for the president to "build support" for it because it's so popular already. According to recent polls, a strong majority of Americans — including more than half of Republican voters — support higher taxes on millionaires. But Ryan has made it clear that most of America's opinion does not matter to him. So much for not 'betraying the powerless.'