Ever since Paul Ryan was picked as Mitt Romney’s VP sidekick for their failed 2012 campaign, he’s been the standard-bearer for the GOP. Along with Mitch McConnell in the Senate, he has spearheaded the scorched-earth strategy of the past eight years—knee-jerk opposition to anything and everything Obama and the Democrats have proposed, however reasonable and compromising the proposal.
Looking like a bastard son of Ronald Reagan with his low-forehead shock of black hair, Ryan puts another happy face on the thick-skinned agenda of trickle-down economics that has devastated the working and middle classes for the past four de cades. His famous budget proposal in 2012 was justly dubbed “Romneyhood” by Obama—Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the poor and giving to the superrich, who have grown fantastically richer in the past two decades, while the other 99% has suffered wage stagnation and higher rates of unemployment, poverty, depression and suicide.
But this is not the crisis Ryan sees: “We risk hitting a tipping point in our society where we have more takers than makers…. We’re going to either have a taker society or a maker society.” Forget all the statistics and evidence. It’s a great moral issue, you see: the Holy Makers vs. Evil Takers, as defined by Ryan’s muse, Ayn Rand.
Ryan began reading Rand in high school, where he was elected prom king, then crowned “Biggest Brown-Noser” by his classmates. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person,” he said in 2005, “it would be Ayn Rand.”
In 1974 Rand contracted lung cancer from her long two-pack-a-day smoking habit, and promptly reaped the Social Security and Medicare benefits that she had always blasted as communistic perversions against her free-market utopia. I hate you, Uncle Sam—but help me now! Worse, though, was her celebration of an infamous serial killer in the 1920s as an ideal hero: William Edward Hickman went on a robbing and killing spree before kidnapping, murdering and dismembering a 12-year-old girl. Meeting the father for a ransom exchange, he actually propped the head and torso of the dead girl, with her eyelids sewn open, in the front seat of his car. Collecting the ransom, he then tossed the limbless body in front of the horrified father and sped off.