Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on Wednesday will accuse President Obama of engaging in the kind of politics of division that he once rejected in his 2008 presidential campaign. He will argue that Obama’s recent, heated campaign trail speeches targeting Republicans as more interested in their party’s fortunes than creating jobs do not live up to the kind of new politics Obama had once promised.
“Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and resentment,” Ryan will tell listeners at the Heritage Foundation, according to prepared excerpts.
In what his office has billed as a major address, Ryan--the chairman of the House Budget Committee and an intellectual pillar of the House’s new GOP leadership--will try to create a coherent conservative narrative to combat Democrats’ recent statements that the wealthy are not being asked to sacrifice to help solve an economic crisis they helped create.
In the speech, Ryan--once considered a possible presidential contender and still a possible vice-presidential pick--lays out a road map for how Republicans can reclaim a populist vision, despite Democratic claims that Republicans have sided with the wealthy against those who have suffered in the down economy.
Ryan will suggest it is the government’s corporate cronyism, through subsidies that benefit the rich--and not tax policy-- that have stalled growth in the lower and middle class.
“Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger,” he will say. “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’s address may be a sign that the GOP is looking for a broad response to the continuing Occupy Wall Street protests and polls showing wide support for President Obama’s suggestion that taxes on the wealthy should fund government proposals to spark job growth.
Ryan will argue that when government intervenes in the economy to ensure it treats people more equally, the inevitable result is that government elites must make choices between which individuals and industries to favor.
“That’s the real class warfare that threatens us: A class of bureaucrats, and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society,” he will say. ”And their gains will come at the expense of working Americans, entrepreneurs, and that small businesswoman who has the gall to take on the corporate chieftain.”
Ryan also will challenge Democrats’ willingness to push for higher taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans, and their hesitancy to look for ways to cut government spending on benefits enjoyed by the wealthy, including loan programs and other government incentives used to spur the new alternative energy industry.
“Rather than raising taxes and making it more difficult for Americans to become wealthy, let’s lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive,” he will say. “The politics of division have always struck me as odd: the eagerness to take more, combined with the refusal to subsidize less.”
Ryan has faced withering Democratic attacks as the author of this year’s House Budget, which proposed dramatic changes to Medicare to save money over time.
His office said Wednesday’s speech is the second part of an argument he began last month at another conservative think tank, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where he argued that stabilizing the nation’s finances will require the kind of Medicare reforms he has proposed.