Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Paul Ryan... legislation for sale? 24 August '11
Next time you’re on E-Bay - browse for Congressmen - and at the top of the list you’ll find Republican Paul Ryan - well, not necessarily on E-Bay, but metaphorically - because he’s currently up for sale to the highest bidder.
That’s right - the Conservative “boy wonder” with an Eddie Munster haircut and an unusual thirst to throw grandmas off cliffs - has a habit of writing legislation that specifically benefits the donors who give him the most money.
Take for example the chemical company “S.C. Johnson & Son” - a company that sells air fresheners and bath and shower cleaning appliances - which dropped $41,000 into Paul Ryan campaign war chest.
For them - Ryan turned around and wrote two pieces of legislation aimed specifically at giving “S.C. Johnson & Son” huge tax breaks - like this one - H.R. 2556 - introduced in 2005:
"To suspend temporarily the duty (or tax) on air freshener electric devices with warmer units."
And this bill - introduced that same year - H.R. 6194: "To reduce temporarily the duty on bath and shower cleaning appliances."
He even said in his floor remarks that he was doing it for the SC Johnson company - saying:
I rise today to introduce legislation on behalf of SC Johnson… We must help manufacturers like SC Johnson remain competitive in the global marketplace… The 2 bills that I am offering today will help accomplish this important objective by suspending duties for multiple components of unique air freshener products that are imported from abroad… Suspending the tariffs will bring down SC Johnson's costs of doing business.
Of course, then they can give more to him.
Then there’s the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which funneled $72,000 dollars to Paul Ryan and - ipso presto! - Ryan wrote legislation that’s chock-full of tax exemptions for the beer industry.
Heck - sororities and fraternities that aren't even in his home state of Wisconsin got word that Paul Ryan was up for sale.
The national Fraternity and Sorority PAC handed him $24,000 - and Paul Ryan went to work writing legislation giving them tax breaks too.
It’s really simple - if the price is right - then Paul Ryan will do it - which means he may run for President after all - as long as people throw enough money at him.
But this got me thinking - what else could we pay Paul Ryan to do?
Maybe if every career clown in America chipped in 10 bucks and sent him a check - he’d wear a big red rubber nose to at all his Budget Committee hearings. You think?
Or maybe - if all the porn actors in California handed over a few bucks - we could get Paul Ryan to wear a spiked bondage collar next time he goes on Fox so-called News - I hear Fox News viewers are into that sensational stuff, you know.
Or how about - all the Lady Gaga fans in America give Paul Ryan 5 bucks - and he’ll wear a meat suit to the State of the Union next year.
The possibilities are really endless.
Or - more seriously - wouldn't it be great if we could at least pay off Paul Ryan to write legislation that benefits the country - and not just his deep-pocketed corporate donors?
Currently - there are 47 million senior citizens depending on Medicare - if they each sent a dollar maybe then Paul Ryan would drop his crusade to privatize Medicare.
There’s also officially 14 million Americans who are out of work - maybe if they each pitched in 50-cents - Paul Ryan would buck his Party and sponsor legislation to extend unemployment benefits.
It’s worth a shot right?
Well, here's the only problem - we'd have to get in line after these people - the guy here who's buying two $300 bottles of wine for his dinner with Paul Ryan is Clifford Asness, who started up a $35 billion hedge fund on Wall Street.
On reconsideration, it might be a whole lot more expensive than I thought to buy the best Congressman money can buy.
So instead, let's just all call our members of Congress and tell them we're tired of people like Paul Ryan writing legislation for his campaign donors and giving the back of his hand to seniors on Medicare.
There are even some toll-free phone numbers you can use to call congress over at callcongress.org.
That's The Big Picture.