Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Media Is Trying To Use Ryan's Wealth Against Him

August 14, 2012 - by Tom Mannis - Mitt Romney's newly chosen running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) is beloved by many conservatives, but is still a mystery to many who don't follow politics closely.
Paul Ryan: Fearsome
An article in the L.A. Times published today is undoubtedly appreciated by some who mistakenly think it will give them some insight about Paul Ryan. But it gives no such thing. All that the Times did was throw numbers at us, without putting them into context, knowing that their omission of context would paint a picture of Ryan that would be unpalatable to many liberals and even some independents.

Before I go on, let me say that yes, Paul Ryan is "rich." Ryan  is indeed a millionaire, but he is single-digit rich, not triple-digit rich like Nancy Pelosi (see below). But the mainstream media are intentionally twisting numbers and facts to make it sound as if he is "one of the richest lawmakers." He's far from that, as I will show you here, but the Left is so afraid of Paul Ryan that they are reaching up their collective sleeves in search of an ace to play.

Not finding one, they're playing their joker card: Attack the wealthy for being wealthy. 

This is sure-fire way to appeal to the sub-genius intellects out there who can be found holding signs that say "Eat The Rich."

The mainstream media has its marching orders: Counter the nice-guy image that Ryan has. Photos of him hunting, his reputation as a family man, salt of the earth kind of guy have the liberals in a panic. So they are smearing him, but the only thing they have to use against him is his wealth. The intellectual liberal elites love to assassinate their opponents' reputations by calling them fat cats, rich guys, One Percenters, and similar names designed to invoke visions of evil robber barons in the feeble mind of the average liberal voter - who will not only believe it uncritically but also faithfully repeat it to similarly-stupid fellow liberals.

Of course, the L.A. Times is lefty-liberal, so they don't really like Ryan.  Their story today about Ryan's wealth has the craftily worded headline, "Millionaire VP pick: Paul Ryan rich from investments, inheritance."

Uh oh. The dude's got money, lot of money! That's bound to cause some resentment amongst a good portion of the L.A. Times liberal readership. 

That headline is a not-so-subtle attempt to vilify Paul Ryan. It makes it clear that the man is .... rich. He's a ... millionaire. The L.A. Times, of course, knows that won't play well with much of their liberal readers. I mean, a rich millionaire is bad, right? The 99% is, after all, supposed to resent that.

To make it worse, Ryan's wealth comes (oh my!) from investments, so he's most definitely a member of the evil One Percent Club. The biggest sin for a liberal, of course, is that Ryan got much of his wealth from (gasp!) inheritance! Nevermind that public servant Harry Reid has mysteriously gotten rich - verrrrry rich - while in office and nobody can figure out how he did it.

"With business investments and a family inheritance," wrote Michael Finnegan for the LA Times, "Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and his wife have accumulated millions of dollars in assets and generated income last year well above his congressional salary, according to his most recent financial disclosure statement." 

Ryan, the story continues, "reported assets in the range of $2 million to $7.7 million." The largest chunk of that was from a trust left to Ryan's wife Janna by her mother in 2012, which the Ryans reported as being worth somewhere between $1 million and $5 million. The L.A. Times story also noted Ryan's investment income was between $168,000 and $1.2 million.

Sure, it's fair to report Ryan's reported income. But look at that headline again: "Millionaire VP pick: Paul Ryan rich from investments, inheritance." The implications are obvious: Paul Ryan is not like you, Mister and Mizz America. He's a One Percenter! A tycoon!

Note: A congressional salary is a paltry $174,000 - less than what a full professor's salary is at the University of Chicago. If a hypothetical  member of Congress earned, for example, $200,000 from a family-owned business back in his home district, you could accurately say that it's "well above his congressional salary."

The L.A. Times was intentionally making the false implication that Ryan has more money than the average member of Congress. They were clever about it, and did not actually say that, but in well-crafted KGB-style screwing with language by writing that Ryan's total income is "well above his congressional salary."

A lot of people who are not so smart (liberal voters, for example, or other readers with a lack of critical thinking ability), will interpret that as meaning that Ryan makes more than the average congressman in the House of Representatives. That's not true, however. In fact, Ryan is far from that,  despite the misleading propaganda from the liberal media - and the L.A. Times is not the only propagator of falsehoods.

The Huffington Post - as liberal as the L.A. Times - could not resist sliming Ryan for his wealth today, either.  HuffPo's shameless and intentionally misleading headline, "Paul Ryan Worth Millions Thanks To Wife's Wealth," began with this:

"When newly minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan entered Congress in 1999, he wasn't one of the richest lawmakers, with an average net worth of just $382,865. Ryan's limited -- by congressional standards -- wealth came from his involvement in two investment partnerships and his family's construction business. As of 2011, however, the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee was worth an average of $4.9 million."

Notice how the lying liars at HuffPo said that in 1999 Ryan "wasn't one of the richest lawmakers," and then add that "As of 2011, however, the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee was worth an average of $4.9 million."

Pelosi: 20 times richer than Ryan
That was a clever use of the word "however" there, which gives the false impression that today Ryan has become "one of the richest lawmakers." He has not; he's far from that. His 2011 net worth, as HuffPo itself points out, was $4.9 million. Compare that to the estimated 2010 net wealth of Nancy Pelosi, a liberal Democrat: $101,123,032, more that 20 times that of Ryan. Compared to Pelosi, Ryan is a coach-class pauper, but of course HuffPo doesn't bother comparing Ryan's wealth to that of any other lawmaker in Congress.

Many members of Congress are extremely wealthy, both Republican and Democrat, and many are far wealthier than Paul Ryan. According to a post on OpenSecrets.org (Nov. 17, 2010), almost half of the members of Congress, 261 at the time the post was written, were millionaires. "That compares to about 1 percent of Americans who lay claim to the same lofty fiscal status," noted OpenSecrets, "And of these congressional millionaires, 55 [had] an average calculated wealth in 2009 of $10 million or more, with eight in the $100 million-plus range."

Top 10 Wealthiest U.S. Representatives in 2010*
Darrell Issa (R-Calif)$448,125,017
Michael McCaul (R-Texas)$380,411,527
Jane Harman (D-Calif)$326,844,751
Jared Polis (D-Colo)$143,218,562
Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla)$136,152,641
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)$101,123,032
Alan Grayson (D-Fla)$93,896,519
Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)$49,340,275
Gary Miller (R-Calif)$46,008,028
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)$42,900,594
* Based on data for the years 2004 to 2010 from OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics
See an updated list (2011) of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress at rollcall.com

The Math: The L.A. Times said Paul Ryan's assests are "in the range of $2 million to $7.7 million." HuffPo said Ryan is "worth an average of $4.9 million," an odd way of putting it. For those of you who are math challenged, that "4.9 million" number comes from adding "2 million" and "7.7 million" and dividing the sum (9.7 million) by two, to get the average of 4.85 million. HuffPo, of course, just had to round it up to 4.9 million to make it sound as filthy rich as they possibly could.