GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is garnering criticism for saying, nearly a year ago, that 30 percent of Americans want the country to be a “welfare state.”
“70 percent of Americans want the American dream,” Ryan said in the YouTube video posted by The American Spectator. “They believe the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state.”
The criticism of this remark, however, focuses on the negative of Ryan’s statement, and arrives at a particularly opportune time for the Left. The video of Ryan’s comment, which was recorded during his keynote speech at The American Spectator’s 2011 Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner on Nov. 1, coincidentally resurfaced on The Huffington Post the day before the first presidential debate, after going largely unnoticed for nearly 11 months.
Reporting that a reader alerted them to video, The Huffington Post compared this incident to Romney’s 47 percent remark, which came six months after Ryan’s address. “[Romney and Ryan] believe that many of their fellow citizens are dependent on government and have no motivation to improve their lives — but they disagree over the precise number,” The Huffington Post wrote.
Yet the context of Ryan’s statement provides some clarity:
“Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes,” he explained. “So you could argue that we’re already past that [moral] tipping point. The good new is, survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-Right, 70/30 country. 70 percent of Americans want the American Dream. They believe the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state. What that tells us is that at least half of those people that are currently in that category are not there of their wish or their will.”
These people, Ryan said, are out of work and “down on their luck,” and do not want to be dependent on government. As POLITICO’s Mike Allen notes, Ryan “acknowledges those who don’t WANT or CHOOSE to be on government assistance.” Even The Huffington Post admits Ryan qualified his statement.
Much of Ryan’s talk focused on the “moral tipping point,” when America would be defined by “takers, not makers,” thus becoming a country it was never intended to be. A GOP vice-presidential candidate arguing for the values of limited government is no surprise, but it is astounding how the liberal media continue to skew coverage of the 2012 campaigns.
And 100 percent of Americans are tired of it.
(h/t The Huffington Post)