At the age of 16, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., suffered the death of his 55-year-old father. Because of his father’s early death, the government made survivor payments for a few years to Paul Ryan’s family – including for Paul Ryan himself. Ryan collected benefits for two years, until he turned 18.
But the Daily Kos blog is now using his father’s early death against Ryan. A Daily Kos diary attacks Ryan in a post entitled, “Entitlement-hating Paul Ryan collected Social Security benefits until he was 18.” Never mind that Ryan’s recent budget proposal doesn’t in fact seek to abolish entitlements, much less get rid of Social Security. It merely seeks to cut the rate of growth of exploding Medicare costs by eventually giving its recipients vouchers they can use to shop around for medical care.
Adult Paul Ryan — never mind teen-age minor Paul Ryan — is under no obligation to forgo government benefits. He is a citizen of the United States and, like any other citizen, subject to the obligations and privileges that go along with that. It is not as though Ryan had the choice to opt out of Social Security; liberals either believe that critics of government programs have an obligation to endure the liabilities attached to them while forgoing the benefits, or (more likely) they just love to scream “hypocrisy,” as half-educated adolescents have been doing since The Catcher in the Rye.
Barack Obama thinks the rich should pay higher taxes. Barack Obama took nearly $400,000 in itemized deductions in his 2010 taxes. Does that make him a hypocrite? No: He believes that the tax code should be other than it is — which is in no way incompatible with availing himself of the benefits of the tax code as it is. I dislike the federal highway system. I think it never should have been built. I want it defunded. Will I drive on I-35? Yes, until they plow it under. Is that hypocrisy? No.