Rep. Paul Ryan is Marie Antoinette (Video)

Marie Antoinette may or may not have said “Let them eat cake,” but this is definitely the dismissive attitude towards the poor evidenced by Rep. Paul Ryan in his budget and its surrounding rhetoric, which is supported by all the Republican Presidential candidates.

His budget proposal cuts $1.9 trillion from programs like food stamps, welfare, federal employees pensions and support for farmers. It cuts another $770 billion from Medicaid healthcare for the poor. Plus swinging cuts of $205 billion from Medicare for older people.

His budget is full of tax cuts and programs to make the rich richer. How much does he think the aristocracy needs? Marie Antoinette Ryan gives his buddies a whopping $4.3 TRILLION in tax cuts. Why? Writes Dana Milbank in a column for The Washington Post:

Ryan’s justification was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.

After recalling his family’s immigration from Ireland generations ago, and his belief in the virtue of people who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Ryan warned that a generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”

How very kind: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut.

Ryan is a Catholic, and one of his constituents, Thomas Kelly, a priest, has blasted Ryan and his plan on religious grounds, as an “immoral disaster.”

“Ryan is Catholic, and he knows that justice for the poor and economic fairness are core elements of our church’s social teaching. It’s shameful that he disregarded these principles in his budget,” said Kelly.

But Ryan is also an admirer of Ayn Rand, atheist philosopher and “patron saint of selfishness,” according to the American Values Network. They say:

In an attempt to hold together the disparate constituencies of social conservative Christians and libertarian Tea Partiers, Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders have attempted to create an unholy trinity of Ayn Rand, Jesus Christ, and the GOP. But, as the classic children’s song goes, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things does not belong.” Nothing about the philosophy of Ayn Rand and the teaching of Jesus Christ is like the other. So the GOP must decide – who doesn’t belong? They can’t have both.

There are plenty of other Republican figures, no doubt mostly ‘Christians,’ who simply deny that poverty actually exists in America.

Last month the BBC ran a 30 minute investigation of the reality of poverty in America (watch it below).

They spoke with a poor kid in Las Vegas forced to eat rat and school workers noticing other kids living off ketchup soup made from quietly stolen small packets.

Reporter Hilary Andersson interviewed a group of children at Whitney Elementary School who were all going to bed hungry and worrying about their families. The report pivots to the school after she speaks with a conservative lobbyist in Washington, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, who tells her that poverty does not exist in America and there are no hungry children.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, she found working people so low paid that they were living in tents in the woods. Local homeless shelters are so full that they refer people there, and they get referrals from local police and a hospital too.

In Kentucky, she attends a free medical event run by Remote Area Medical where poor people queue up overnight for some treatment. There she meets a man who may die of an infection and needs urgent surgery:

“But if I go to the emergency room, they’re going to send me a bill…”

His wife in tears: “I mean what are they gonna do to us if we can’t pay the bill, you know? They can’t come eat us. They can’t kill us and eat us. They can’t come take our home away because we owe a hospital bill…right?”

The man goes home after being told by the hospital billing department that saving his leg from gangrene would cost $20,000.

47 million Americans now live below the poverty line — the most in half a century — yet Romney is ‘not worried about them’ and Ryan says they have “lives of complacency and dependency.”

For shame. Watch the BBC report which proves that hunger does indeed stalk America (30 minutes):

Related stories:

Alaskan Activist’s Hunger Strike to Aid Hungry Children (Video)

1 in 3 Americans Can’t Keep Up With Their Medical Bills

Local Politician Spends Month on Welfare

Photo from marimoon via flickr


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V6 years ago


Warren B.
Warren Biggs6 years ago

Wow. An ad hominem attack- how puerile. Why don't you come back when you have something with real substance to say? And before you get on a high horse about my political beliefs, I am an Independent- I have voted Republican, Green, and other, as well as Democrat.
While I am quite conservative in many of my views, there are several reasons why I would not vote nationally for any of the recent Rebublican candidates. The bigegst reason is that I hate fascism more than I dislike socialism. Reps try to tell you what to do, when to do it, with whom you can do it, and where you can do it, if they are not outright telling you NOT to do it. I believe in the upholding of so-called "negative rights". Reps want to control your life.
Second, current Reps aren't true conservatives. They don't believe in a smaller governement. The governement GREW under Bush II. They bloat it with state police programs and hold the boogeyman over your head to try to get you to agree to their heavy-handed tactics.
Third, while I don't care for social welfare, I dislike corporate welfare even more. There is something wrong when the average tax rate for corporations is 9%. That is the AVERAGE!!! My wife and I are stuck at the 35-38% tax rate.
In conclusion, I always say that the Dems try to tell you WHERE to spend your money while Reps try to tell you WHAT to do. I would rather be poor and free than rich and a slave.

Elaine A.
Past Member 6 years ago

Mutiny on the bounty, When are you going to get it through your thick turban that Adam and Eve DID NOT EAT AN APPLE! And that was their sin! Oy vey.... You show me where it says apple in the Bible...HINT:...YOU CAN'T! It's NOT there!!!

ay m.
g d c6 years ago


BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

Past Member? with that beautiful tapestry pic:
Thank you for setting the record straight on Marie Antoinette.
Yes, she was much maligned as a person; and blamed for what she couldn't possibly help.
And, it has been known for a LONG time, that Marie Antoinette really did NOT say "Let them eat cake".
Unfortunately, she has become a SYMBOL in Pop culture; and that is the way she is being used here, by this posting.

I believe, as you do, that many of Marie Antoinette's problems and suffering and low ratings in most Histories up to now, was simply because she was a WOMAN; and therefore a better TARGET to blame, and to DEMONIZE. You know, Eve and the Apple and Original Sin and all that BUNK. I believe that FEMINIST HISTORY will give her a better break than prejudiced Male Historians have. THANK YOU FOR COMING TO THE DEFENSE OF TRAGIC MARIE ANTOINETTE.

Don H.
Don H6 years ago

This is a great article.

Ryan and his Ayn Rand Republican allies would take society back to the days of Charles Dickens. If you want to return to those days when the poor had higher moral fiber (but nothing to eat) just vote Republican. Unfortunately that higher moral fiber is a myth.

Sarah L.
Past Member 6 years ago

So their it is evidence of this historical facts of the marie if you don't believe me, it is fine i was happy to get my point across. Here is the link to it's original site, if you all think i am lying.

And J .D B I am not here to fight with you, just to share an opinion, just like you and everyone else. Popular or not it is facts people need to look, and consider too. Either if it's so called popular or not, and insulting me if you like, fine but i am happy share this to everyone. Marie had more going on in her life, then people tend to believe (Or popular) I have read and studied for hours about her, ans she is not to blame. I make my leave and i am not pushing or making anyone believe anything, they do not want too believe. Just here to make a point and J.D B Popular or not it is another fact that is their even if it's not so called popular.

Thank you all for reading these, and god bless you all.

Sarah L.
Past Member 6 years ago

So basically, she was Austrian, a woman, and one of the top members of the French aristocracy at a time when being any of these three wasn’t looked upon highly by the general public; so she became target #1 for all their rage against their negligent rulers.

The expression itself, “let them eat cake”, was relatively well known amongst many of the revolutionists, and they used it to personify the disconnect between the aristocracy and the general public at this time. Post-revolution French historians also liked to use the phrase as it summed up the extreme selfishness and complete obliviousness of the French aristocracy during this period. So it’s not surprising that they assigned the phrase as being spoken by her, who was their favorite target for such things before her death as well.

Her life was actually quite a sad story from beginning to end and reputable historical accounts of herself and her actions are quite contrary to the general perception of her, not just then, but today as well. If you’re interested in reading more about this, I highly recommend this book, which is a very interesting read, assuming you like biographies and are at all interested in French history: Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Bonus Factoids:

Sarah L.
Past Member 6 years ago

Now please read the last few paragraphs that is all i am doing, i a not here to argue i am here, to make an opinion like everyone else.

Sarah L.
Past Member 6 years ago

L D B It is hard to paste these many paragraphs just read them, and please be kind not to insult me.