The media myth of Paul Ryan, fiscal conservative

Updated
By Jordan Michael Smith

Paul Ryan is routinely defined in the media as a ‘fiscal conservative.” But if a fiscal conservative is someone who believes in balanced budgets, Ryan is anything but.

“During the Bush-Cheney era,” said Rachel Maddow on Tuesday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, ”Mr. Ryan, as a member of Congress, voted for all the things in the George W. Bush era that cost a lot of money and that were not paid for at all: Two massive breaks, two wars, the Medicare Part D expansion which cost hundreds of billions of dollars, [and] the Wall Street bailout.”

Maddow went on: “None of those things were paid for. All of it was added to the national charge card, asking future generations to pick up the tab. A fiscal conservative would not have made those votes during the Bush-Cheney era, but Mr. Ryan did.”

Ryan should instead be understood as an acolyte of extreme libertarian novelist Ayn Rand, Maddow suggested. The vice presidential candidate has cited Rand as an inspiration on numerous occasions, and is even reported to have made his interns read her novels. Rand extols the rich in books like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, portraying them as producers while the masses are mere parasites.

“This is a real philosophy—it is a fringe one, but it is real—and it has nothing at all to do with fiscal conservatism,” Maddow said.   

Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan

The media myth of Paul Ryan, fiscal conservative

Updated