House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan reiterated Thursday that since President Barack Obama can’t run on his record “because the results are fairly dismal,” he resorts to class warfare rhetoric that has the potential to divide the country. The Wisconsin Republican also said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Americans have legitimate economic fears that should not be exploited.
“I think he can’t run on his record, because the results are fairly dismal,” Ryan said. “I am very concerned that his rhetorical shift has turned away from being a uniter toward more of a divider — preying on resentment and envy, pitting people against each other.
“I just reject the premise of his view that one person’s gain must necessarily come at the expense of another person’s loss — and what it does is it stokes resentments within our society — this also hurts jobs,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many business people lately have been coming up to me saying in Wisconsin: All this class division discussion just scares me, and it hunkers me down, and I’m not going to invest.
“That combined with the bad policies of uncertainty, of tax increases,” Ryan said. “To me, the president is using this rhetorical shift because he doesn’t have a good record to run on and he is not willing to adjust his policies to reflect the realities of our time.”
Host Joe Scarborough noted many Americans harbor legitimate resentments, citing — for examples — that Wall Street firms were bailed out in 2009 and their profits are skyrocketing and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. Ryan said he agreed.
“That’s my point — my point is there is a legitimate fear and anxiety out there — we shouldn’t be exploiting it, we shouldn’t be encouraging it, we should try and heal it,” Ryan said. “We should be focusing on economic growth, on prosperity, on social mobility — on upward mobility.”
Ryan said corporate welfare needs to be addressed, as does “crony capitalism.”
“Let’s stop subsidizing the wealthy, let’s stop subsidizing their health and retirement benefits, let’s stop picking winners and losers in the tax code up here — based on who’s powerful and whose has good connections,” Ryan continued. “Those are the things we should be dealing with as we try and get this debt and deficit under control and get this economy growing.”
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