The debate about how best to restore America's fiscal house began anew today on The Laura Ingraham Show, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded to the President's Inaugural Address. Obama employed a “convenient twist of terms," according to Ryan, that consisted of his "shadowbox(ing) a straw man” on the subject of entitlement programs. What Ryan was hoping to hear instead was the President eager to tackle the debt crisis “before it takes our economy off the rails." The former Mitt Romney running-mate noted that many Democrats agree on this issue.
During his speech, Obama argued that entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great." Many saw the remark as an indirect jab at Ryan, who during the 2012 election often spoke about the gap between “makers and takers” in America.
Ryan countered the perceived slight, telling guest host Raymond Arroyo that the President was twisting his words: “[N]o one is suggesting our earned entitlements are putting you in a taker category.”
Instead, Ryan said, he only used the term to refer to unearned entitlements, where recipients do not pay into the programs. “We do not want to encourage a dependency culture… ”
Ryan accused the President of using “a switcheroo… a convenient twist of terms to shadowbox a straw man…”
“I understand the President will continue to use straw man arguments, affix[ing] views to your political adversaries they do not have in order to try and win an argument by default.”
Ryan cited as an example Obama’s recent remarks that his Republicans have “suspicions” about programs for the poor and elderly. “We don’t have suspicions,” Ryan countered, “we actually have plans to save these programs so they actually work!”
On the contrary, Ryan argued that “when [President Obama] says he won’t save these programs, he’s…directly complicit in their bankruptcy.”
Listen to it here.