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Monday, February 20, 2017

Dear Speaker Paul Ryan

Please stop advocating for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, affordable health care, Medicaid and other urgently needed social service safety net programs. 

I know you remember how your own family needed these urgent assists when you qualified for the benefits!

On President's Day, I'm reminded how close your important position as Speaker of the US House of Representatives is in succession to President of the United States. 

In this ominous responsibility, I know you take your elected leadership role very seriously. Nevertheless, in leading all of America as House Speaker, I implore you to please remember your obligation to provide compassion for people who, just like you, grew up in a family who relied on Social Security benefits after the untimely death of your father, when you were a teenager. Your mother, Betty Ryan, relied on widow's benefits to help support you and your family.
Related image
Betty Ryan with her son Speaker Paul Ryan

It makes no sense to advocate for the euphemism of "tax reform" when the real intention is to pay for this policy by cutting safety net programs relied on by beneficiaries, just like your own mother.

WASHINGTON (AP) — At age 15, Paul Ryan was already feeling isolated from his father, who had grown distant from his family and leaned heavily on whiskey. Then, one morning the future congressman found his alcoholic father in bed, dead from an apparent heart attack at age 55.

It's a formative story the Republicans' 2012 vice presidential nominee hadn't publicly told before being nominated to run on the Republican ticket with Governor Romney. In an interview with The Associated Press, Ryan said the event shaped him as a politician and as a family man. "Having not had a dad for a long time, it brings you much closer to your kids and your family," Ryan said from New York, when he was interviews before a book tour to promote, "The Way Forward: Renewing the America Idea." (Interesting, Ryan conceptualizes the American Idea rather than the "American Dream". Hmmmm?) In fact, America is not an "idea" but a vision created by intellectually motivated Founding Fathers who were inspired to improve our human condition.  Speaker Ryan, you concept of cutting taxes for the purpose of improving the economic condition of only one percent of Americans, who already pay less than their fair share, simply put, is not a good idea.  It will put millions of people into poverty.  

Rather, your "idea" is harmful and regressive public policy. Whatever gave you this cruel tax cutting obsession? Was it Ann Rand? She died in 1982 and wrote during the Cold War era. Moreover, it's doubtful her political philosophy would support regressing the human condition, harming the poor and middle classes. In fact, her interpretation for the  economic philosophy of capitalism, which she supported, includes an obligation for revenue sharing.

Surely, your life experience taught you better than to rob from the poor and middle classes to pad incomes for the rich.

Please, on President's Day especially, I implore you on behalf of all of us and your family history, to stop the obsession with tax cuts at the expense of social service benefits.  Your proximity to the succession of President of the United States provides you with a rare opportunity to improve the human condition for all Americans regardless of our social or economic status. In taking your political leadership role as seriously as I know you do, please put compassion, rather than austerity, as your human priority.  

Juliana L'Heureux

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