Paul Ryan's Family Is Rich Because of the Federal Government (Updated):
The Rude Pundit was going to write a snarky, expletive-filled little rant about Rep. Paul Ryan today until he was listening to NPR talk about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's selection for his running mate. The report mentioned how Ryan's family has deep roots in southern Wisconsin, and that his family made its fortune with a construction business, Ryan Incorporated, which was once "Ryan Brothers." And that it "built roads."
"Huh," the Rude Pundit thought. "Roads aren't generally built by private funding." So he did a little bit of googling, and what do you know?
The Ryan Incorporated Central webpage on the company's history says, "By the 1940's the Company had become a full-service grading contractor serving both private industrial and public transportation customers, including some of the original work at what would become O'Hare Airport."
But on the website for Ryan Incorporated Southern, headquartered in Florida (there are various divisions of Ryan and, yes, still from the company founded by his great-grandfather that's run by Ryan's cousins), it's a bit more explicit: "The Ryan workload from 1910 until the rural interstate Highway System was completed 60 years later, was mostly Highway construction."
And whose money built the interstate highway system? That'd be ours.
In other words, you know how Barack Obama talked about how your business didn't build the roads that allow you to do business? Well, if you are in the Midwest, chances are that Paul Ryan's family did build some of the roads. And they got to be amazingly successful because the federal government gave them six decades of contracts and millions upon millions of dollars to build them.
Are we clear here? We're talking about Paul Ryan, who, with his wife, is worth as much as $7.7 million and "much of the Ryans’ wealth is in the form of trusts and inheritances." For Rep. Ryan, those trusts and inheritances are a result of money that the federal government spent on infrastructure.
You wanna go further? Here's a list of defense contracts from the 1990s that went to Ryan Incorporated in its various forms. One of them, from 1996, is worth $5.6 million and went to Ryan Incorporated Central.
So, just to get this right, Paul Ryan and his family are beneficiaries of expanded government spending to improve infrastructure. They continue to benefit from government contracts, including state and local ones. That's Paul Ryan, whose budget would inevitably gut most infrastructure spending and who, with Mitt Romney, wants to shrink federal spending to the point where, if the federal government had felt that way throughout a good chunk of the 20th century, his family would not have made a dime and, well, then we would have never heard about Paul Ryan.
That's the depth of hypocrisy in play here.
Of course, now, Ryan Incorporated builds a lot of golf courses. So who needs improved roads when you've got that?
Update: As others have pointed out, like many conservatives who got where they are thanks to government programs, Ryan is all about biting the hands that fed him.
And sharp-eyed rude reader David C. points out that, if his family was involved in building O'Hare airport, wouldn't the Ryans have been involved in evil Chicago politics?