Video: Paul Ryan gets booed at townhall meeting

posted at 2:55 pm on April 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Think Progress originally pushed the video out after Paul Ryan’s meeting with constituents, and CBS News reported on it today, so it’s making the rounds.  The booing and groaning comes from Ryan’s perfectly factual argument that not only do we already tax the wealthy, we also need them to keep the rest of the money so that they can invest it in the private sector rather than the public sector.  The negative response doesn’t deflect Ryan from his argument:

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the architect of the Republican budget plan, was booed at a town hall meeting on Tuesday in Milton, Wisconsin, while defending extending tax breaks for high-income individuals. …

In the video, a constituent says “history shows that concentrating more wealth at the top has been the worst thing for our economy.”

“The middle class is disappearing right now,” he says. “During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income, but yet today we are fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire?”

The Census Bureau found last year that the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans had hit its widest amount ever.

Certainly it did, but it’s not from a lack of taxation of the wealthy, at least not in federal income taxes.  The top 1% of earners paid 38% of all federal income tax receipts; the top 10% paid 69% of them.  The problem of income disparity in the last few years comes from unemployment, not a lack of taxation.

Why is unemployment continuing to be a problem?  One reason is that we are directing capital into the public sector, which is the least efficient user of it.  Only instead of directing present capital into Keynesian stimulus programs and government expansion of regulation, we’re borrowing money like crazy to send future capital to government bureaucracies.  Those who have capital to invest see the rather obvious problem approaching of how we end up paying for all of this credit-card living, and it’s either budget cuts or higher taxes.  That has them sitting on capital rather than investing it in private-sector growth, a problem that will only get worse as government policy turns more towards populist class warfare.

Still, the video here is instructive on a couple of points.  As Allahpundit has repeatedly noted, we’re only going to have a serious conversation about government entitlements if the public is ready to hear some painful truths about the phony capital Washington is moving to float those programs.  This audience is obviously not ready to hear those truths, and that’s not going to be an anomaly.  On the positive side, it’s not stopping Paul Ryan from attempting to make clear the cliff we’re about to reach.   We’ll need politicians with this kind of courage to find their voices and stand their ground over the next few months to turn this corner, but it’s not going to be easy — or pretty.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Unfortunately, the hippies of 1960-70 are the seniors of 2011. Pardon the generalization, but many of these folks no nothing of a world without entitlements and grew up expecting them. Our old folks are trained moochers.

This is going to be a tough battle, though it’s a hill we have to take.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 3:22 PM

No! I will not pardon the generalization. I am 60 and know a heck of a lot of people my age and older that are not moochers.

You don’t have a problem with seniors. There are liberals of all ages and conservatives of all ages. You have a problem with getiing the message out. Ryan is working on that problem.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I’ve got news for you, Vince. I ran for city council in 2009 and participated in several “townhalls” during the campaign. During these events, seniors were the majority demo attending, by a large margin, and most of them either wanted something or swooned over trinkets the incumbent offered them, like a new senior center, free shade trees, public transportation passes, a new restaurant (even if it took eminent domain to make it happen), whatever. All of which is paid for by the working folks of the community. If you think this attitude doesn’t translate to state and national politics, well, you aren’t paying attention.

Are all seniors like this, thankfully no, but I pointed out my generalization to show that I know it to be one.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Ah a snowflaking boomer … surprise … surprise.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Who served in Vietnam owns his own business and could probably wipe up the sidewalk with your sorry as*.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Are all seniors like this, thankfully no, but I pointed out my generalization to show that I know it to be one.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

They are liberals! What does age have to do with it?

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:28 PM

That’s probably why Granpa’s Medicare isn’t going to change under the Ryan plan. He’s asking younger people to reform the program, not people already on it.

cpaulus on April 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM
Sorry. Nope. I’m not sacrificing so granpas and granmas I don’t know can have medical care financed by me and my children. Sorry gramps.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Sorry…..you’re wrong again. Read it and understand…I don’t see ANYWHERE that you or your children would have to finance anything for anyone else.

Under Ryan’s proposal which he unveiled last week:

-Eligibility for the existing Medicare program would not change for people who are age 55 or older by the end of 2011.
-People who turn 65 in 2022 or later years would get payments from the government to help them purchase private insurance.
-The payments would be higher for low-income people and lower for high-income people: people in the top 2 percent of the income distribution of the Medicare-eligible population would receive less than one-third of the subsidy which middle- and lower-income people would get.
-The payments for insurance would grow over time in pace with overall consumer prices, but not necessarily in pace with the increase in the cost of medical care.
-Starting in 2022, the age of eligibility for Medicare would gradually increase until it reached 67 in 2033.
-The federal government would change the Medicaid program for poor people into block grants to each state. Those grants would grow over time in pace with overall consumer prices and population growth.
-There would be no tax increases.

Ryan’s plan would be the most far-reaching change in Medicare since the program was created in 1965.

sicoit on April 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Soooooooo, 45% of the country DON’T HAVE A JOB. Those of us that do work for a living, 47% or more pay NO federal income taxes.

Is there any wonder in liberal Wisconsin, they would boo Paul Ryan and plaster it all over the news?

dthorny on April 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM

This may be the land of milk & honey, but there is a limit to those products.

Badger40 on April 21, 2011 at 4:23 PM

And Obama’s doing his best to kill the cows and bees.
What is he and his ilk thinking?

justltl on April 21, 2011 at 4:31 PM

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I think our disagreement is because of where we live maybe?
We had a huge problem with eminent domain in my growing little town and the seniors at the council meetings weren’t looking for handouts.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Since there’s so many poor people in America (according to the democrats), let’s start taxes them! Eliminate income taxes and have a flat national sales tax of, oh, 10%. Live within those means or we’ll find leaders who can.

SouthernGent on April 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Who served in Vietnam owns his own business and could probably wipe up the sidewalk with your sorry as*.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Are you sure you’re not a liberal? Because liberals usually respond with emotion and aggression.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Wait until the members of the dependent class realize that they’re going to have to work pretty hard in the workers’ paradise. Or die.

justltl on April 21, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Town halls like this need to connect to people on a basic level. Bring in some small business owners and let them explain in their own words what will happen if taxes are raised. Goobers like the audience members may understand better that if Joe Shmoe business owner who employs 15 people each earning $50K a year has his taxed raised by $50K it will mean 1 of those 15 people will be laid off.

angryed on April 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

The reality is worse than that. Businesses of all types survive or die on CASH FLOW. One of the subtle unseen poisons of taxes on a business are that the tax man gets his money first – 4 times a year, through estimated tax payments. That takes away immediately from cash for payroll. Unless a business can run with about a 15% profit margin, it gets horribly squeezed by taxes and the delays in Accounts Receivable. taking loans out makes situation even worse.

So, net effect is $50K in increased taxes probably means 2 $50K employees go out the door, not just one.

Jimmy Doolittle on April 21, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Are all seniors like this, thankfully no, but I pointed out my generalization to show that I know it to be one.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

They are liberals! What does age have to do with it?

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Sorry if I’m not being clear. These baby-boomers, a generation to which I belong, are a massive portion of the electorate. There is a sizable fraction of them who probably call themselves conservatives yet are white-knuckling their entitlement goodies.

Age is relevant because seniors are the voters who must be convinced that cuts are for the 55 and under demo. They are also the largest voting block.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:37 PM

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I think our disagreement is because of where we live maybe?
We had a huge problem with eminent domain in my growing little town and the seniors at the council meetings weren’t looking for handouts.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Could be, I live in Southern California.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:38 PM

There is a sizable fraction of them who probably call themselves conservatives yet are white-knuckling their entitlement goodies.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:37 PM

And, your age group is the wealthiest age group in the USA, btw.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Since there’s so many poor people in America (according to the democrats), let’s start taxes them! Eliminate income taxes and have a flat national sales tax of, oh, 10%. Live within those means or we’ll find leaders who can.

SouthernGent on April 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

A national sales tax instead of Income tax has a problem I hadn’t realized before (I love the idea generally). If we stop the drill of adding up W-2′s and all other income sources as a means to tax, how does the decision get made of who is truly needy, and deserving of what little social program charity is left?

Jimmy Doolittle on April 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Ironic also that the ones who have been living off the golden goose are the very ones clamoring for it’s death.

justltl on April 21, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Town halls like this need to connect to people on a basic level. Bring in some small business owners and let them explain in their own words what will happen if taxes are raised. Goobers like the audience members may understand better that if Joe Shmoe business owner who employs 15 people each earning $50K a year has his taxed raised by $50K it will mean 1 of those 15 people will be laid off.
angryed on April 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Exactly

gwelf on April 21, 2011 at 4:44 PM

how does the decision get made of who is truly needy, and deserving of what little social program charity is left?

Jimmy Doolittle on April 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

How, do you suppose, the human race has survived without the fracking United States Government? I mean, really, thousands of years went by with the Federal Government, and people weren’t wiped off the earth by starvation.

Once citizens stops stealing money from their neighbors via the government, then people will have more to help their family and neighbors. It’s simple really.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Jimmy Doolittle on April 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

This is why we have charities, churches, and other non-profits.*

*There’s a lot of profit in non-profits.

SouthernGent on April 21, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Akzed on April 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Thank you! Thought I was going to have to commit sepuku.

Yellowdog12 on April 21, 2011 at 4:52 PM

This is why we have charities, churches, and other non-profits.*

*There’s a lot of profit in non-profits.

SouthernGent on April 21, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Once citizens stops stealing money from their neighbors via the government, then people will have more to help their family and neighbors. It’s simple really.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

I agree with both 100%. My point is that a national Sales tax instead of Income tax brings another entire redo of the role of Federal Government.

Why a Federal Government has decided that it is the provider of funds to an individual in the Nation is absurd on its face. Face it, any one of us coudl disappear tomorrow, and the Country should be able to continue on without missing a beat. The Federal Government’s role is to keep the Nation intact and prosperous, not each of its citizens.

Jimmy Doolittle on April 21, 2011 at 4:55 PM

This may be the land of milk & honey, but there is a limit to those products.

Badger40 on April 21, 2011 at 4:23 PM

so that makes two for the death panels in this thread. you guys should watch a movie called Logan’s Run sometime.

Bradky on April 21, 2011 at 4:56 PM

I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords.

The Ugly American on April 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Interesting.

When Paul Ryan is confronted by an unreceptive crowd he laughs and responds politely with facts and figures that buttress his argument. When President Obama is confronted by a reporter asking pointed questions he loses his temper, chastises him like a child, and has his minions threaten his access to the President.

Mike Honcho on April 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords.

The Ugly American on April 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Knee how ma!

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Are you sure you’re not a liberal? Because liberals usually respond with emotion and aggression.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Conservatives also respond aggressively to insults. Or, more of them should.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Conservatives also respond aggressively to insults. Or, more of them should.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I think it’s great that you threaten to kick my a$$ via a blog. That’s good stuff.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Sorry, typo. You think you could kick my a$$ because you were in Nam and own a business.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

And, your age group is the wealthiest age group in the USA, btw.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Got it – after paying significant taxes and fees into the system and working a lifetime to save j_galt just wants to “wet his beak” a little.
From now on I will call you Don Fanunci…

Bradky on April 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Sorry if I’m not being clear. These baby-boomers, a generation to which I belong, are a massive portion of the electorate. There is a sizable fraction of them who probably call themselves conservatives yet are white-knuckling their entitlement goodies.

Age is relevant because seniors are the voters who must be convinced that cuts are for the 55 and under demo. They are also the largest voting block.

pugwriter on April 21, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Ok. I agree that they are a huge part of the voters but I also think that a lot of their concern comes because they can’t get anyone to tell them what the heck the politicians are planning. For the most part they read newspapers and not blogs.

These town hall need to be done and the Republicans better know how to answer questions even if they are brought up by plants. If an older individual sees competence most of them are open minded. The hippies were not a majority.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM

I think it’s great that you threaten to kick my a$$ via a blog. That’s good stuff.

j_galt on April 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Oh jeez. If you saw a threat there your a bigger pu**y than I thought.

Vince on April 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

For the most part they read newspapers and not blogs.
Vince on April 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM

if you use blogs as authoritative sources it only underscores the wisdom of your elders in basing opinions on factual information rather than conjecture.

Bradky on April 21, 2011 at 5:21 PM

This audience is obviously not ready to hear those truths

Not until the economy collapses around their dumb asses.

GarandFan on April 21, 2011 at 5:22 PM

RE: Vince, Pugwrite et al

I love these Boomer Hippy selfish Pr!ck$ debates. Let me stir the pot a little. Boomers are just beginning to retire. Those selfish old geezers at your townhall were not in the majority boomers. The prime supporters of the welfare state entitlements lo these many years haven’t been boomers. The current crop of politicians, and for the last 45 years, supporting entitlements are/were NOT boomers. Check out the dates Pelosi, Reid, Kerry and the majority of pols were born. They are ancient, ancient. We’re talking before or during WWII DOB’s here. As for Ryan’s plan and not wanting to pay for the boomer’s entitlements, people can either support a plan like Ryan’s or the whole system will collapse for everybody. That’s the only ‘solution’. I’m a boomer, not yet retired, and I’m fine with them cutting off the entitlements for everyone NOW. I don’t have enough to retire on, but it’s entitlment armegeddon time. There’s no convenient way out. Either younger people support the selfish old ba$t@rd$ and accept a reformed system of some type or everyone ends up with nothing. I’m ok with nothing, I’ve been expecting to work ’til the day I die. The non boomers blame the boomers because we are your parents so it looks like it’s all our fault because we are the oldies you know, but it was “The Greatest Generation” and the generation between the ‘GG’s and Boomers that in reality effed over you youngsters because they have been in charge and voted for LBJ and all his entitlements and retired fat, dumb and happy and did nothing to reform the system before now.

JimP on April 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I don’t think people understand how much the “rich” really pay in taxes! Ed’s got it above. But if the wealthy make 10% of the income, how come they’re getting taxed at 38% of the income taxes?

The question needs to be asked this way: “If it’s true that the top 1% earns 10% of the income, what is the proper share of taxes they should shoulder?” They will always guess 20%ish. Always FAR LOWER than what the actual rate is.

Extend that: “If it’s true that the top 10% earn X % of the national income, what is the proper share of taxes they should shoulder?”

These numbers are skewed even further in reality as in addition to the amount of income the wealthy earn, they also receive dividends (which are taxed twice), and cap gains. So, the share of taxes the “rich” pay is even higher!

This is only moderately balanced by the payroll taxes that hit more moderate income earners disproportionately.

Pablo Snooze on April 21, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Allah is the C-3PO of bloggers.

leftnomore on April 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

POST SCRIPT RE: Vince, Pugwriter et al

Also it wasn’t boomers that put Obama over the top in ’08. It was young people, and Black people, and women, AND it is Obama who immediately brought us to the edge of the entitlement cliff. There was still a skosh of time after Bush & The Stupid Party screwed things up acting like Dems to take effective and less painful action. But, Obama wiped out that wiggle room by quadrupling down on the irresponsible policies that Bush and the GOP followed during ‘W’s term. Welcome to ‘Work til you drop world’. Hey, we’re all dead in the end anyway. Don’t worry. Be happy!

JimP on April 21, 2011 at 5:50 PM

The genuinely bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analyzed Obama’s plan, refutes its claims and predicts it relies on much higher taxes. It also found that Ryan’s plan cuts 40% more debt than Obama’s. Let’s see how Ali Obama and his 3,000 press secretaries try to frame this rebuke.

Terrie on April 21, 2011 at 5:57 PM

if you use blogs as authoritative sources it only underscores the wisdom of your elders in basing opinions on factual information rather than conjecture.

Bradky on April 21, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Yes because blogs never link to newspapers , TV station sites, or educational sites./

CWforFreedom on April 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I’m with you, JimP. My husband and I are both in our mid-forties and we have never expected to see a dime of SS. Nor do we anticipate the kind of retirement our parents have enjoyed. We do not, nor did we when my husband’s father died, expect to inherit a cent that our parents worked long and hard to save. I bear them no ill will, we were both given a great start in our independent life – no college debt, assistance with deposit for a house and starting a business. They have all been extremely generous.

That said, I would jump in a minute to offer my parents a roof and any financial assistance we can afford to offer, but I do feel that it is time to think about what the children will be inheriting in terms of our national debt. I do not want to see my children’s options limited, nor what I can offer them on their path to independence limited because people are unwilling to see reality.

piglet on April 21, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Still, the video here is instructive on a couple of points. As Allahpundit has repeatedly noted, we’re only going to have a serious conversation about government entitlements if the public is ready to hear some painful truths about the phony capital Washington is moving to float those programs. This audience is obviously not ready to hear those truths, and that’s not going to be an anomaly. On the positive side, it’s not stopping Paul Ryan from attempting to make clear the cliff we’re about to reach. We’ll need politicians with this kind of courage to find their voices and stand their ground over the next few months to turn this corner, but it’s not going to be easy — or pretty.

Absolutely – well said!

Gosh, I love Paul Ryan. He has quickly made it to the top of my presidential hopeful list. But he’s not running and, frankly, we need him where he is, because there are so few of him in Congress.

Elisa on April 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Interesting.

When Paul Ryan is confronted by an unreceptive crowd he laughs and responds politely with facts and figures that buttress his argument. When President Obama is confronted by a reporter asking pointed questions he loses his temper, chastises him like a child, and has his minions threaten his access to the President.

Mike Honcho on April 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

So true.

Because Ryan has truth, fact and class.

and Obama has none of those things. He is a cold, small, petty and arrogant person.

Elisa on April 21, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Ok, how do I turn off the ads so I can hear the video?

JellyToast on April 21, 2011 at 6:29 PM

piglet on April 21, 2011 at 6:17 PM

I’m with you piglet, and thanks for the backup. It distresses me what our children are facing. I’m doing all I can to do for my kids exactly what your parents did for you. I started late having kids, btw. I’ve been voting for conservatives my whole life and except for Reagan (who wasn’t perfect and we all know it so don’t bother making comments leftwing trolls) none have come close to living up to their promises or what needed doing. So now, we are where we are. I do believe that a plan like Ryan’s combined with supplyside policies and serious real (not baseline BS)spending cuts, things can be turned around in a relatively short time and our kids will have bright futures. When I see people like the jerks in Wisconsin about the teachers ‘rights’ I have serious doubts about a turnaround happening.

Best of luck to you and your family.

JimP on April 21, 2011 at 6:36 PM

I admire him for they way he handled the hostile, liberal crowd. Unlike the leftists who got heat at their town halls over ObamaCare, he didn’t tell them to all sit down and shut the h-11 up while he patronized them. He respectfully stated his case in this clip. Good for Ryan!

MJBrutus on April 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Brownshirts.

logis on April 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM

I’ve already told my much younger friends that when the generational war comes, I’ll be taking up arms with them. So many wars, so many sides to choose.

I admire him for they way he handled the hostile, liberal crowd.

MJBrutus on April 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Do we know for certain this is a liberal crowd?

SukieTawdry on April 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Ryan should also have emphasized and maybe he did later ” AND then what?”

That is the hike in taxes would gain 70 billion MAYBE (probably less now in a recession and probably less if a hike causes a Go Galt reaction) but in any case a 1.6 trillion deficit caused by overspending and an entitlement crisis wont be solved by a nod to redistribution.

No, you solve your own budget problem at home especially looking for the long term — by trying to live within your means, not hope Uncle Joe will remember you in his
will or just hope that you can get more income just by asking.

robertb on April 21, 2011 at 7:50 PM

JimP, we’re all in this together and it’s important to not allow ourselves to be divided by those who seek to conquer us. I find that to be true of so many of my liberal friends, who live very conservative and traditional lives. What exactly divides us? I think it’s wishful thinking vs. reality.

I wish the very best for you and yours. See you in the trenches!

piglet on April 21, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Town halls like this need to connect to people on a basic level. Bring in some small business owners and let them explain in their own words what will happen if taxes are raised. Goobers like the audience members may understand better that if Joe Shmoe business owner who employs 15 people each earning $50K a year has his taxed raised by $50K it will mean 1 of those 15 people will be laid off.
angryed on April 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

That’s a very good idea.

Django on April 21, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I still wish someone would explain to me why it’s okay for the govt to even take 20% of your income by force to pay for failed program after failed program?

Let alone 40% today or the 70+% before Reagan. It’s madness. The successful among us get to allow the govt to take nearly half of their income to give to everybody else.

I can’t see how that’s even fair, let alone a solution to the problem.

TheBlueSite on April 21, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Doesn’t everyone get booed in Wisconsin?

I thought they trucked in an army to that State, just to heckle.

If Ryan didn’t get booed, I would worry

entagor on April 21, 2011 at 9:20 PM

It’s simple: Either we make changes to how we run entitlement programs, or NO ONE will get them EVER.

Why is this so hard for people to understand?

englishqueen01 on April 21, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Or, better yet, here’s a suggestion:

Let’s poll people. All the people who say that entitlements like Medicare and Social Security shouldn’t be changed should then be taxed 100%; those who agree to changes should get tax break.

You want it, you pay for it.

englishqueen01 on April 21, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Go ahead and despair. These are the ignorant masses that are going to ensure that we have to crash and utterly burn before we’ll ever have a chance to push things in the right direction. The inertia towards destruction is too great at this point.

Midas on April 21, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Does that guy asking the question sound like a democrat plant or is it just me?

NeverLiberal on April 21, 2011 at 9:39 PM

I’m 59, my Mom is 81. She recently said that if it was a choice between helping a grandson go to college, or paying more for her final medical expenses, the $ should go to the grandson. If it was a choice between a fancy assisted living place for her, or helping a younger relative buy their first house, we should help the younger relative.

People can see it when it’s their own families, if the govt. is left out of the equation. Maybe it just takes time for people to accept that the govt. is an empty balloon, the money is gone, like accepting your house was robbed. People my age and older are accustomed to thinking of our country as strong, dependable, trustworthy. Kind of hard to let go of that idea, even knowing it’s not true.

jodetoad on April 21, 2011 at 11:41 PM

In the video, a constituent says “history shows that concentrating more wealth at the top has been the worst thing for our economy.”

Perhaps, if it’s happening by force, alas’ dictators, kings, etc. But no one is forcing you to remain in the middle class or lower while the evil rich guys steal your money, leaving you with only a few breadcrumbs to get by on. Your lot in life is up to you. Kobe Bryant paying a 35% tax rate isn’t keeping you from increasing your wealth.

“The middle class is disappearing right now,” he says. “During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income, but yet today we are fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire?”

One, they aren’t “taking” anything. They earn their money just like you. Two, how does taking more of their money so the government can piss it away keep the middle class from disappearing? It doesn’t.

xblade on April 21, 2011 at 11:54 PM

Didn’t seem like booing to me.

Ricohoc on April 22, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Wait until the members of the dependent class realize that they’re going to have to work pretty hard in the workers’ paradise. Or die.

justltl on April 21, 2011 at 4:36 PM

I am firmly convinced that welfare recipients will be the first group gassed if the left gets complete control.

Slowburn on April 22, 2011 at 4:50 AM

Sadly, people belonging to the generations in the 70+ age range grew up hearing about what a hero FDR was. The idea of Social Security was said to be a godsend. No longer did people need to work until the dropped dead. It’s become accepted that one has a right to retire at 65 (at the latest) and live another 15, 20, 25 or more years being non-productive. They paid their dues, after all. And many, probably most, did work very hard. Now they are truly stuck. They can’t really work at any job that will support them (Walmart greeters aren’t millionaires) and they (incorrectly) assumed that big Momma Gov’ment would be there to support them (they paid in! darn well better be). So when a group of seniors like this rolls their eyes and moans at the suggestion that “the rich do pay” they are really expressing the fact that they are not rich and are not in a position to do anything about it. They are powerless, thanks to the (no so) Great Society. They were told that they would be taken care of, and they believed it. The “social contract” is real to them. In fact, it’s personal to them. They are stuck. They don’t have money, but they do have power (to vote). It doesn’t matter that the system itself put them in this position. The reality is, they are in it and can only cope by working that same system. It sucks, to be blunt. I think Ryan’s plan has merit. I think we need to change the system so that people my age (50) do not continue to believe that Government is suppose to take care of them for 1/4 of their lives (or more). I don’t count on it. No one 55 or under should.

The current “senior” generations can’t be said to be selfish. That’s not fair. They are stuck in a system that all the “smart” people who they trusted told them would work. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. But they are stuck with it and exercise the only power they have to provide for themselves. That’s not selfishness. It’s survival.

BillyWilly on April 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Here again we see the stupidity of the American people, and the great job the government education system/propaganda media has done! The dumbing down, and the pusafacation of America marches on!

Confederate on April 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I’m all for barry’s death panels being used on the old leaches from the rust belt who’s selfishness and stupidity turned one of the greatest industrial regions in history into the rust belt. Forget about protecting the border with mexico, I’m for protecting the border of my state so people who have destroyed thier own states and economies don’t come down and destroy ours also.

peacenprosperity on April 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

They are stuck in a system that all the “smart” people who they trusted told them would work.

Then we should trust the demofascists because they mostly went to ivy league schools and must be really smart?

peacenprosperity on April 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

They are stuck in a system that all the “smart” people who they trusted told them would work.

Then we should trust the demofascists because they mostly went to ivy league schools and must be really smart?

Of course not. That’s not the point at all. The “demofascists” as you put it, are decidedly not smart and got us into this mess. But you can’t label seniors selfish for using the only tools they have. I have no doubt that most wish things were different and they didn’t need to rely on the government. But, like I said, working as a Walmart greeter or flipping burgers doesn’t pay for much. It’s expensive to be old. There is a better way for future seniors (all of us who live that long) and it isn’t more government wealth transfer. Ryan’s plan steps in the right direction, but it only starts the process. It will take decades to undo the stupidity. In the meantime, place the blame where it belongs.

BillyWilly on April 22, 2011 at 11:14 AM

During this time of prosperity, the top 1 percent was taking about 10 percent of the total annual income

Us top 10% ‘ers aren’t ‘taking’ anything – we’re earning it.

Vashta.Nerada on April 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Shows you the problem with democracy, the parasites. Many at that townhall.

proconstitution on April 22, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I’m curious what happened and how people responded immediately after Ryan made his point. The clip stops then, suggesting it wasn’t as negative as the rest of the quote.

To be honest, their response was fairly mild.

Hal_10000 on April 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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