Bloomberg recently reported that Paul Ryan is “one of the top political fundraisers in Congress”; but where do the bulk of his campaign contributions come from, and what if any influence might they have had in his budget process?
For all of the talk about “crony capitalism”, the GOP receives the most campaign finance money from big business and big banks, and some of the disparities are considerable:
- Finance/Insur/RealEst 30.6% Dem 50.6% Rep
- Health 39.0% Dem 46.9% Rep
- Energy/Nat Resource 19.3% Dem 65.0% Rep
- Agribusiness 27.5% Dem 68.0% Rep
- Defense 40.3% Dem 59.3% Rep
The business industry makes up 93% of Ryan’s PAC donations; and a large share of those are courtesy of the Koch brothers, which according to Politico, “rank as the Wisconsin Republican’s sixth-largest source of campaign money throughout his career…”
For those who may not know who the Koch brothers are, they’re involved in the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, among numerous other businesses. Politico reports the Koch’s are:
“…Ryan’s biggest energy-related donor, based on the Center For Responsive Politics’ tally. It says energy- and natural resources-related contributors have given Ryan a total of $432,181 during his career, including $244,250 from the oil and gas industries.”
And as the Center for American Progress put it:
“Koch Industries has a lot to gain from gutting government oversight and electing candidates who oppose government regulation, especially in the oil-and-gas industry.”
De-regulation, a Republican mantra, is part of Ryan’s budget proposal as is continuing oil subsidies; in addition, Paul Ryan’s budget:
“…would slash funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs.”
Taxpayers continue subsidizing big oil to the tune of $4 Billion a year, when according to Seattle PI:
“The country’s three largest oil companies raked in $80 billion in profits last year, and Big Oil currently has an estimated $58 billion in cash reserves.”
At the same time these jokers laugh all the way to the bank, fledgling alternative energy companies stand to lose access to government funding under Ryan’s budget; but according to a DBL Investors article, Ryan and his party have their priorities backwards:
“Every great expansion of the U.S. economy can be linked with the discovery of a new energy source. In every single case, the government, often at both the federal and state levels, heavily subsidized that new energy source…
All new energy industries – timber, coal, oil and gas, nuclear – have received substantial government support at a pivotal time in their early growth, creating millions of jobs and significant economic growth…Subsidies for these ‘traditional’ energy sources were many, many times what we are spending today on renewables.”
Paul Ryan’s inflated reputation as a “numbers man” is not due to innovative thinking on his part, but rather his willingness to take party ideology to the extreme, and kiss the rings of his benefactors. Were he serious about creating a “path to prosperity”, he would be screaming for America to invest in alternative energy and start-ups.
A Kauffman Foundation study found, “…net job growth occurs in the U.S. economy only through startup firms.” That study, based “on the Business Dynamics Statistics, a U.S. government dataset compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau” revealed:
“…both on average and for all but seven years between 1977 and 2005, existing firms are net job destroyers, losing 1 million jobs net combined per year. By contrast, in their first year, new firms add an average of 3 million jobs.
…Most notably, during recessionary years, job creation at startups remains stable, while net job losses at existing firms are highly sensitive to the business cycle.”
Obviously, Paul Ryan hasn’t read that study. The Kauffman study’s author, Tim Kane states:
“… it’s not just net job creation that startups dominate… On average, one-year-old firms create nearly one million jobs, while ten-year-old firms generate 300,000. The notion that firms bulk up as they age is, in the aggregate, not supported by data.”
What this study and those like it point to is the GOP’s flawed thinking on job creation, willful sellout to big business and its lobbyists, and in Ryan’s case, maybe the opportunity for personal gain. The Daily Beast reported in 2011,
“he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan.
Ryan’s office says the congressman wasn’t thinking about himself or the oil companies that lease his land when he drafted the budget blueprint that extended the energy tax breaks.”
Oh, well that convinces me, how about you? The facts are, Paul Ryan:
- Wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act/ has received $1,328,860 from the Healthcare Industry
- Continues oil subsidies in his budget/ has received $432,181 from the Energy and Natural Resources Industry
- Voted against banking regulation/ has received $2,860,072 from Finance, Insurance & Real Estate industries
- In addition, Lawyers & Lobbyists have given Paul Ryan $528,445
Ryan’s budget is made up of the same proposals the Republicans have been making for decades, paid for by the same industries that have supported them for decades. The only thing different about Paul Ryan is, he gets a bigger slice of the pie.