The Romney campaign is pushing a carefully manufactured image of Paul Ryan as an alleged blue collar guy who sprang from humble beginnings and overcame great adversity to achieve great success. The true story of Paul Ryan’s life reads much differently.
Paul Ryan’s father was a very successful lawyer. When his father died, yes, Paul took a couple of menial part time summer jobs but he was also receiving Social Security survivor benefits. Which he was able to save and use to pay for his college education. But the root of the Ryan family fortune came from his grandfather’s construction company which made millions on government funded infrastructure projects. The company is still in existence today, being run by Ryan’s cousins and still received millions of dollars in defense departments contracts as late as the 1990s.
And sure, Paul Ryan is an outdoorsman, who bow hunts and wrassles catfish with his bare hands, but not because he needs to hunt to feed his family. He entered Congress at the age of 27 with a net worth of just under $500,000 which was mainly his share of the family trust fund. He’s had no other job except professional politician since then. So what is Paul Ryan’s net worth now?
Well Congressional disclosure requirement being a bit murky we don’t have an exact amount but we know he’s managed to somehow amass between three and $7.7 million in wealth while only a Congressman. And then there’s this:
Mr. Ryan reported two tax-deferred college savings plans, with a combined value of between $150,000 and $300,000. He also reported two investment partnerships worth, in total, between $350,000 and $750,000, mostly containing shares of stock in well-known companies, including Apple, Goodrich, Kraft Foods, Visa and Whole Foods. Both partnerships were formed by Mr. Ryan and other family members to manage assets left by his grandparents and an aunt. Mrs. Ryan has reported receiving a trust after her mother died in 2010 that is valued between $1 million and $5 million, according to a letter Mr. Ryan filed with his latest financial disclosure. Mrs. Ryan also has longstanding interests in several mining and oil exploration investments in Oklahoma and Texas managed by her father, Dan Little, a lawyer in Oklahoma whose clients include oil and gas companies. Those investments generated as much as $150,000 in income last year.
Paul Ryan voted against ending oil industry subsidies in this last session of Congress.
Lots of rich Republicans like to kill animals for fun and Ryan is playing up his hunting fetish on the campaign trail, but that doesn’t make any of them ordinary middle class Americans. Paul Ryan’s votes in Congress are what matter in measuring his true priorities. They are clearly cast to protect the wealth of the already wealthy at the expense of actual ordinary middle class Americans.