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Paul Ryan’s $350 Wine v. John Edwards’ $400 Haircut

So, apparently, Paul Ryan has expensive tastes in wine.

Susan Crabtree for TPM (“Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath“):

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.

[...]

Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.

Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.

“We were just stunned,” said Feinberg, who e-mailed TPM about her encounter later the same evening. “I was an economist so I started doing the envelope calculations and quickly figured out that those two bottles of wine was more than two-income working family making minimum wage earned in a week.”

She was outraged that Ryan was consuming hundreds of dollars in wine while Congress was in the midst of intense debates over whether to cut seniors’ safety net, and she didn’t know whether Ryan or his companions was going to pay for the wine and whether the two men were lobbyists. She snapped a few shots with her cell phone to record the wine purchase.

[...]

The clash became especially heated when Feinberg asked the men if they were lobbyists.

“F—- her,” one of them replied and stood up in a menacing way, according to Feinberg’s account. Feinberg said her husband then “puffed out his chest” in response before the manager and a waiter came over and Feinberg decided she had said her piece and it was time to leave.

Ryan does not dispute most of the details of Feinberg’s account, although he told TPM the two men are economists, not lobbyists, and characterized Feinberg as “crazy” and possibly drunk. For her part, Feinberg said she believes the economist at the table who got out his seat to challenge her was the one intoxicated.

So . . . this woman interrupts a private dinner to snap pictures of their wine bottle and then berate them over who they were? “Crazy” is certainly one word for it.

TPM caught up with Ryan after a vote outside of the Speaker’s lobby. In further explaining his side of the story, Ryan said he only had one glass of wine out of the two bottles but decided when it came time to pay the bill that he should pay for one of the bottles of wine out of an abundance of caution. He even produced the receipt for the meal, which you can view here. The receipt shows a charge to Ryan’s credit card for $472 — $392 for his meal and the bottle of wine and a generous $80 tip.

“I didn’t order – they ordered,” Ryan told TPM. “I had one glass, uh, with my water, and when [Feinberg] was talking about how expensive it was, I didn’t even know [the price].”

Ryan’s version of events strikes me as quite plausible. He’s having dinner with some people on expense account, they order the most expensive bottle of wine in the house, and then a second. Certainly, two bottles of wine isn’t out of the question when multiple people are having dinner. Because of Congressional lobbying rules, he chips in to avoid exceeding the gift limit and is shocked to see how much the wine was.

Ryan: “I think it’s stupid to pick up that much for a bottle of wine under any circumstance.”

TPM: But you had to pay for it…

Ryan: “Yeah, I was like this is ridiculous. Who buys wine that expensive? It surprised me, and I think it’s stupid under any circumstance to pay anything close to 100 dollars for a bottle of wine.

The Atlantic’s Josh Green, though, sides with Feinberg here and brings up a familiar parallel.

Remember John Edwards’s $400 haircut? That turned out to be quite a problem for him. It looks like Paul Ryan is about have a similar problem on his hands.

[...]

If there’s any justice in the world, Ryan ought to get at least as much grief for this as Edwards got. And if I were President Obama’s adviser, I’d suggest that he add $350 wine to that line about Republicans defending corporate jets and hedge-fund fat cats.

Aside from outrageous price tags, the two incidents have next to nothing in common.

First, Edwards’ haircuts were being paid for (as it turns out, along with a lot of other things) out of campaign funds. Ryan’s wine was paid for by Ryan out of personal funds. (Indeed, if he only had one glass, he also paid for three glasses of his companions’ wine.)

Second, Edwards’ $400 haircut story had so much traction because it reinforced the image that he was less than the manliest of men and spent far too much time caring for his pretty hair. What’s the parallel here? Republicans like wine?

Third, the “looks bad” factor is somewhat different. Edwards’ whole campaign was based on how he’d come up from poverty as the son of a mill worker and had spent his life fighting for the little man. A $400 haircut rather undercuts the everyman image. Yes, Ryan is proposing draconian cuts in federal programs for the less fortunate. So there’s a natural “well, that’s easy for you to say, Mr. I Can Spend $472 For One Meal” factor. But there’s nothing hypocritical about it unless his expensive wine is on the taxpayer’s dime.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. steve says:

    You miss something James. Ryan’s plan which was supposedly a debt cutting bill, turned out to be a cut taxes for the rich bill. Now you have Ryan living the lifestyle of the rich and famous drinking expensive wine in fancy digs. This makes it look like he has been bought and paid for by the wealthy class. (Of course he paid for some once caught on camera. What would he have done if pictures were not being taken? Who knows.)

    Steve

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @steve: The “tax cuts for the rich” thing is hardly something that has to be bought; it’s been GOP policy for decades. And fair enough on his ponying up for the wine after getting caught. My guess is that it’s rather routine, in that the gift ban is pretty strict.

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  3. Hey Norm says:

    Both items show how stupid our politicians are. $350 for a bottle of wine? That’s just dumb. Same with a $400 haircut. Outside that…who cares?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 12

  4. Andyman says:

    The overarching parallel is that both of these events are complete non-stories and the fact that either were publicized is a comment on how vacuous the media can be.

    But here’s the “looks bad” problem for Ryan: the modern GOP is a mouthpiece for big businesses that want to get away with murder, the super-rich who think they’re martyrs because they pay taxes, and elderly people who are just fine with gutting government programs to the bone as long as anyone over 55 (read: them) skates by fine. In other words, the “I Got Mine” crowd. And if Ryan is serious about telling the majority of Americans to go die in a ditch he should avoid making it quite so obvious that making a living on the taxpayers’ dime has been very, very good to him.

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  5. KeithCu says:

    Dinner with Obama can cost $35K

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  6. EddieInCA says:

    It’s Okay If You’re A Republican…

    or put another way…

    James Joyner will defend Republican bad behavior over and over again.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 42

  7. steve says:

    Why dont we know who the economists were?

    Steve

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  8. Screw Ryan! What kind of tuition are we paying that sends a frigging Associate Professor to that swanky dive?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 19

  9. superdestroyer says:

    President Obama spends about $70K a year for the education of his children at a school at is abut 80% white when the public schools in DC are about 5% white. Yet, no liberal will ever questions the spending of the left.

    If $350 dollar a bottle wine is too much, then what would be an appropriate level. I wonder if all of the Obama donors who have mansions in the Hamptons along with condos in Aspen, townhouses in Manhattan, and a beach house in the Caribbean would ever stoop to drinking a $350 dollar bottle of wine. I wonder if all of the athletes and actors who endorsed Obama and who get to expense virtually every meal, every trip, and their clothes will ever be criticized.

    Once again, one Republican does is attributed to all Republicans, yet what Democarts do is never mentioned.

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  10. Tano says:

    What’s the parallel here? Republicans like wine?

    No – its that Republicans are faux populists – pretending to identify with average Americans but in fact hanging out with, and doing the bidding of the type of people who can drop $700 for wine without a second thought.
    John Edwards never went out of his way to portray himself as some macho man – so he didn’t have nearly the hypocrisy quotient at play.

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  11. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA: I generally defend Republicans and Democrats in spending their own money. Indeed, if you check our Outrage of the Day archives, you’ll find we defend Democrats from silly charges pretty often.

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  12. Ryan Paul says:

    Why can’t Paul Ryan spend his money however he wants? His choice. Not my business.

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  13. Stan says:

    “The “tax cuts for the rich” thing is hardly something that has to be bought; it’s been GOP policy for decades.”

    James Joyner and other conservatives, I assume you support this policy. Is there any level of inequality in the US that would cause you to oppose it?

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  14. Laurie says:

    Excuse me, but does anyone else notice the hag that barged in on the dinner?

    “…Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag. …”

    For petes sake, who does she think she is? And why isn’t she researching Pelosi’s Winery if she has an eye for fine wine? I find this story very funny since I accidently ordered a $16 glass of wine once. Even though I was shocked, cause I had 2 glasses, it was 1) the best pinot noir I ever tasted and 2) don’t accept waiter recommendations without checking the price! BTW it was Kenneth Volk.

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  15. James Joyner says:

    @Stan: I don’t care about inequality per se and don’t think it’s the business of government to redistribute income per se.

    Two caveats: I care about poverty and its consequences and support some programs to provide a safety net for those unable to fend for themselves and, especially, their children. And, while I support a smaller government than we have now, I support paying for the government we spend for. For both practical (high earners have more money) and moral (i.e., marginal dollars matter less to high earners) reasons, that means the rich will have to pay more than a proportional share of their income.

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  16. Herb says:

    The John Edwards comparison may not stick, but the campaign ad writes itself. “Paul Ryan’s version of belt-tightening….cuts for seniors….tax cuts for the rich….$400 bottle of wine.”

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  17. WR says:

    @Laurie: I assume she thinks she’s someone who doesn’t want to see this nation’s safety net shredded to give massive tax breaks to billionaires and was outraged by the priveleged behavior of this faux-populist.

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  18. Fausta says:

    Let me get this straight: Susan Feinberg goes to an expensive restaurant, and is outraged that another restaurant patron consumes what the restaurant has on the menu/wine list, while invading that other patron’s privacy, even taking photos of them and their fare? And we’re supposed to feel her outrage too?

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  19. John Peabody says:

    I like the fact that she says “I’m an economist, so I started doing the envelope calculations…” What, you need to be an economist to work with such difficult numbers like 350, multiply times two, and (gasp!) divide by the federal minimum wage! Good Lord, how did she manage that without her pocket ENIAC?

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  20. Laurie says:

    @WR: Hum. I assume she is a busybody and would have reacted differently if it was Barney Frank.

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  21. Sandra says:

    @Laurie:
    @WR: Hum. I assume she is a busybody and would have reacted differently if it was Barney Frank.

    EXACTLY, Democrat = No Story.

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  22. Stan says:

    @James Joyner:
    Fair enough. We disagree, but not to the point where I think you should be drawn and quartered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  23. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    What, you need to be an economist to work with such difficult numbers like 350

    Heh. Stumbled over that too, at first. It’s probably more a question of having the federal minimum wage readily at hand without a reference source. Few non-economists would.

    And we’re supposed to feel her outrage too?

    She doesn’t come over as an overly relaxed and friendly person. Nevertheless. whether we feel the outrage should have more to do with the message than with the messenger, shouldn’t it?

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  24. Laurie says:

    LOL via twitter… sums up all the other stuff I was thinking!!

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  25. WR says:

    @Laurie: Well, those are two completely different things. Of course she would have reacted differently if it was Barney Frank — Barney Frank isn’t trying to shift the rest of the nation’s wealth into the hands of the superrich while claiming to be a populist.

    But if she was a busybody, then she would have reacted the same way if it had been Barney Frank.

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  26. lunaticllama says:

    @superdestroyer: If Obama or Pelosi got caught in a situation like this, I’m fairly sure that the media would push an out-of-touch elitist storyline. These situations almost always turn on WHO saw a politician doing something. Or maybe I’m wrong and the type of Republican that goes to these restaurants doesn’t care about this sort of thing, although I find that fairly implausible.

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  27. superdestroyer says:

    @lunaticllama:

    Pelosi sent five children to private school and private universities. Her husband is a multimillionaire. She lives in the second bluest city in the U.S. Yet, Pelosi is never protrayed as being out of touch even though she is anti-voucher, pro-teacher union, pro-busing, and wants universities to have different standards for whites and blacks.

    I wonder is a liberal professor from Rutgers would go up to Al Gore and say something is she saw him riding in the back of a black suburban. The professor probably would have been asking for an autograph instead of pointing out the hypocracy.

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  28. Tano says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Yet, Pelosi is never protrayed as being out of touch

    Are you out of your fricken mind? There is an entire industry that tries to pound home this message every day of the year. Partisans do what partisans do. Why do you try to pretend that one side is hypocritical for focusing only on their enemies, while the other side does exactly the same thing?

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  29. SJ Reidhead says:

    I am still trying to figure out what the poor man did wrong. Yes, I have been known to buy an expensive bottle of wine.

    Now they are after him because he tipped 20%.

    This nation has lost its mind.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

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  30. WR says:

    @superdestroyer: Nancy Pelosi is extremely wealth, and yet she pushes for higher taxes on the rich — which would certainly hit her — in order to help the poor and middle class. She is pro-teacher union — in fact, she’s both pro-teacher and pro-union, as opposed to the Republicans who want teachers and union members working for minimum wage, apparently.

    The reason Pelois isn’t portrayed as being out of touch is simple: She’s not. Yes, she’s wealthy, but unlike the entire Republican party (and most of the press and pundits) she has not come to the conclusion that only members of her class deserve a break.

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  31. WR says:

    @SJ Reidhead: Let me know when you start buying expensive bottles of wine after leading a legislative charge to eliminate Medicare so you can slash taxes for people who can afford to spend $700 on wine for one dinner.

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  32. anjin-san says:

    The reason Pelois isn’t portrayed as being out of touch is simple: She’s not.

    Agreed. Pelosi’s district is next door, and while I am not really a fan, It is clear that she has not forgotten that she represents people who are struggling to pay bills, maintain adequate medical coverage, and build better lives in general. A sharp contrast to Sen. Feinstein, who has sold her soul lock, stock & barrel to corporate interests.

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  33. michael reynolds says:

    I am never bothered by these stories.

    First off, yes, there are occasions when one might spend $350 for a bottle of wine. Wine is art, and for those able to appreciate it, why not? Of course restaurants don’t make their monthly nut off actual connoisseurs but rather from ambitious poseurs. (There was a time when I probably had the palette to justify risking $350, but that, and the passion for it, have faded over time.)

    If you’ve got it, why not spend it? It’s silly to require politicians to pass themselves off as “everyman.” We have a government by and for the rich and since that’s evidently how we like things in this country it’s just ridiculous to add a layer of theater to the already ghastly proceedings.

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  34. Keep in mind that a $350 dollar bottle of wine at a restaurant isn’t necessarily the a $350 bottle of wine. This is especially true in D.C. where, at the higher end restaurants, markup on a bottle can be quite insane.

    Example. When I was last in Napa, I found a winery called Cardinale that made a particularly good reserve Cab Sauv. At the winery, and on their website, and at the stores in Virginia I could find it at it sold for $120-140. Expensive? Perhaps. When I saw it on a wine list at a restaurant in D.C. they were selling for $395 per bottle

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  35. Terrye says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites. I mean come on, Al Gore lives like some rich potentate with houses all over the place and jets and all kinds of big ticket spending..and there he is counseling everyone else to freeze to death in the dark. At least Ryan does not try to pretend that he is Robin Hood.

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  36. Terrye says:

    @WR:

    WR, Nancy Pelosi could care less about the poor. She just wants to keep people dependent on the government so that they will vote for Democrats. The truth is the whole point to not taxing the rich is not even about the rich, it is about their capitol and whether or not it will go back into the economy or to the state.

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  37. Terrye says:

    @anjin-san:

    On come on. Yeah right, Democrats like Pelosi just love the poor..that is why they go to such great lengths to make sure there are lots of them. She is like Lady Bountiful, living in her mansion feeling such compassion for the little people who live in slums and ghettos. sheesh.

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  38. anjin-san says:

    and there he is counseling everyone else to freeze to death in the dark.

    Perhaps you could show us where Gore said anything that even remotely resembles this. If not, we can simply conclude “Terrye is an idiot” and call it a day…

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  39. Terrye says:

    @anjin-san:

    Driving up the costs of energy when people are having a difficult time taking care of their families does in fact make it more difficult for them to pay the light the bill and the heating bill. In spite of that Al Gore,{ the man who has a carbon footprint larger than the average British village} is fine with putting more stress on working families. After all, he planted some trees or something so it is okay fine for him to ask other people to make sacrifices he himself would never make.

    You can call me an idiot all you want, but Al Gore is the perfect example of the self righteous liberal.

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  40. anjin-san says:

    Keep in mind that a $350 dollar bottle of wine at a restaurant isn’t necessarily the a $350 bottle of wine.

    Umm, WTF are you talking about? If you pay $350 for a bottle, it is a $350 bottle. What it’s wholesale cost is, what it costs in Calif, or what it is actually worth are different things. Sure restaurants have crazy markups on wine – capitalism at work. What you pay is what you pay, there is no loophole there.

    BTW, the next time you are in the bay area you should give me a shout. We have a few things cooking up in Napa/Sonoma.

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  41. superdestroyer says:

    @Terrye:

    Not only does Nancy Pelosi not care about the poor but she would rather keep incompetent teachers employed (at union scale) rather than educated blue collar and poor children. Nancy Pelosi is out of touch because her children (and grand children) all attend(ed) private school that have liittle in common with public schools. She children could major in whatever they wanted in college with no concern with student loans or getting a job upon graduation while the middle class worries about paying for college, finding a job, and having a career that will not be regulated out of existence in a few years.

    A few people tried to make Nancy Pelosi look out of touch because of the air force jets and avoiding TSA at National Airport but the effot just did not work. No one in the MSM could have cared less that Nancy Pelosi lives like Royalty while demanding that others live like peasants.

    Nancy Pelosi does not care that SF is full of homeless people because she had enough wealth and security to avoid them.

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  42. WR says:

    @anjin-san: I’m old enough to remember when Di-Fi was mayor of San Francisco (I grew up across the Bay). I don’t think she ever had a soul to sell.

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  43. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Joyner:There’s significant empirical evidence that inequality damages economic growth. Do you really think it’s a coincidence the economy faltered once inequality hit Great Depression levels? It certainly isn’t coincidence that explosive growth inn the fortunes of the wealthiest occurs during three decades of economic stagnation for everyone els.

    But thanks for confiming the “take all you can, give nothing back” attitude we’ve long suspected of you.

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  44. anjin-san says:

    Terrye,

    Again, please show me where Gore said anything like this:

    and there he is counseling everyone else to freeze to death in the dark.

    Were you as concerned about working folks energy bills when Enron was engage in market manipulation to drive energy costs in California through the roof? When Bush’s regulatory apparatus gave them a pass? When Bush was palling around with Kenny Lay, who became very wealthy screwing working folks on their energy costs?

    Or is your outrage limited to Gore, who you already dislike?

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  45. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: One hundred percent is a tiny markup on wine for a restaurant, especially for high end wines. Two or two-fifty is normal, 300 isn’t out of the question. (And that’s based on retail prices!)

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  46. Like I’ve said before, so much of progressivism is motivated by nothing more than envy. How dare someone have something everyone can’t have, unless of course we are talking about progressive Democrats whose hearts are pure because they care enough to take other people’s money to spend on those they favor, whether because they are poor, well connected, have the right ideology, or whatever. Why should you give a damn how anybody chooses to spend their own money, or have you completely lost the ability to distinguish between the public and the private? Good god, some of you are certifiably insane.

    FWIW, some wine is very expensive due to quality and, wait for it, supply and demand. There are some wines worth that much and more. Your inability to appreciate them or to afford them doesn’t change that fact. Stupid freedom, so overrated when there is someone in the world who doesn’t have what you think they deserve! Or perhaps like Energy Secretary Chu you feel it is the government’s job to take away choices from us because you think we are wasting our money. Gosh, is it even our money any more?

    Time to start punching back against the progressive puritans. Twice as hard.

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  47. Mrs Castro says:

    The Obama’s serve expensive wines at the White House .

    http://alturl.com/psxgo

    Perhaps the professor should be drunk snapping those pictures instead.

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  48. anjin-san says:

    She is like Lady Bountiful, living in her mansion feeling such compassion for the little people who live in slums and ghettos. sheesh.

    Terrye do you actually know anyone who is wealthy? Some of them care a great deal about folks who are less fortunate, and they often work pretty hard at using their resources to help others. Some rich folks could care less about the poor. Like any other large group of people, they are not monolithic.

    It is not reasonable to assume that because a wealthy person lives well, as they tend to do, that they have no compassion for the poor. One need not enter a monastery to be a compassionate person.

    As I said earlier, I have lived in the bay area my entire life and am pretty well acquainted with Pelosi’s career. While I think she is pretty much a political hack, and a fine example of the Peter Principal, I have seen zero evidence that she is a fake liberal who’s only concern for the poor extends to getting their votes.

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  49. WR says:

    @Terrye: Yes, and she really wants to kill and eat your chiildren.

    I wonder if you really believe this kind of Limbaugh-inspired garbage, or you just repeat it reflexively. It’s the dumbest kind of argumentation — decide that your opponents are evil, and therefore that everything she does can only be for the vilest of reasons. I’ve seen you post comments here that are, while counter to everything I believe in, well-argued and logical. This is nursery school stuff. You should be embarassed to spout it in public.

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  50. WR says:

    @superdestroyer: Maybe if you read your comments before you hit post, you wouldn’t contradict yourself. On the one hand you’ve got Pelosi fighting to make sure that teachers get paid decent (union) wages. Then you claim she’s trying to make people live like peasants. Which one is it?

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  51. anjin-san says:

    Charles, the “wealth envy” argument is the prattle of the dead. Can you really do no better?

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  52. Ben Wolf says:

    @charles austin: @charles austin: You know Charles, you’ve commented 2,134 times on how government employees are overpaid, lazy scum who need to be ground under. Yet when you hear that a government employee is being paid enough to buy $350 bottles of wine, you reverse course and scream about public/private/not-our-business/socialism so shut up about Paul Ryan.

    You’re a fraud.

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  53. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    Most of the Enron scandal occurred during the Clinton Administraiton and backuprted early in the Bush Administration. The Republicans, in a bipartisan moved, passed Sarbanes-Oxley that was supposed to keep corporate abused from happening.

    To put all of the blame for Enron on Republicans is laughable.

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  54. Ben Wolf says:

    @Mrs Castro: That story is about the wine served at Buckinham Palace, not the White House.

    You only read headlines, don’t you?

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  55. superdestroyer says:

    @WR:

    The Teachers union is a maximum employment union, not a max wage union. That is why public schools teacher starting pay is so low. However, Nancy Pelosi sent her own children to schools where the teachers were not unionized and where the potential students are given entrance exams. Nancy Pelosi believes that public schools are a jobs program and could not care less if anyone actually learns anything. Nancy Pelosi believes that government workers should make more money and have better job security than health care workers (See the Affordable Care Act), and Nancy Pelosi believes that nothing should be manufactured in the U.S. but that everyone should have high wages. Of course such beliefs leads to places like San Francisco which has overpriced housing as a massive disparity of living standards and wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  56. ponce says:

    You can tell the usual apologists for swinish Republican behavior are very worried about this story judging by the amount of squid ink they’re squirting this morning.

    I bet Paul Ryan’s social life gets quite a bit of scrutiny from now on.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

  57. Anjin-san says:

    Super… So enron is not responsible for their actions, and somehow Clinton is? Always nice to chat with a conservative so I can observe how their commitment to “personal responsibility” works in the real world.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 16

  58. @Stan:

    James Joyner and other conservatives, I assume you support this policy. Is there any level of inequality in the US that would cause you to oppose it?

    I actually don’t like the current level of inequality. Where we differ is to what we think the causes and solutions to the problem is. Constant government interference in the market, creating barrier to entry, oppurtunities for logrolling and rent seeking, using the legal system to help favored companies and punish unfavored ones, etc. has create a system that favors large politically connected companies over smaller market efficient ones.

    As a result we end up with a small number of massive corporations capable of charging monopoly prices and where business setbacks at a single company can cause profound damage to the national economy.

    The problem is that the government has created a market where winners are choosen by the rules of politics instead of economics. The solution is not to make the problem worse.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  59. superdestroyer says:

    @Anjin-san:

    I think most of the regulatory failures occurred during the Clinton Administration and not during the Bush Administration. Of course, the Clinton Administration benefitted from a massive speculative bubble and was not going to do much to put the brakes on during the bubble.

    In addition, the problem with the California energy regulation is that it was designed to put the Nuclear Power plants out of business by forbidding long term contracts and forcing everyone to purchase using short term prices. It was believed that such a regulatory scheme would benefit gas fired plants and harm nuclear power plants. But gas prices went up and the scheme did not work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  60. Stan says:

    @charles austin: And much of conservatism is motivated by nothing more than greed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  61. WR says:

    @superdestroyer: Nice of you to explain what Nancy Pelosi thinks. Now tell me what number I’m thinking of.

    What? You mean you can’t read minds? You’re just making crap up because you hate liberals as much as you hate anyone who isn’t white? Oh, never mind, then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  62. Lynne says:

    Does anyone really care that Paul Ryan purchased at $350 bottle of wine in an expensive DC restaurant. A purchase that was made with his own money and that he left a generous tip on. In the meantime, the Obamas fly to NYC on the government dime for a “date night”. That’s us paying for it, not them. They serve kobe wagyu beef in the White House, which is very expensive per pound and which almost no one had ever heard of before the Obamas served it at one of their shindigs. Once again, paid for by us, the taxpayers.

    Those of you castigating Rep. Ryan, please direct me to your outrage over the recent Obama fundraiser held at Daniel, one of New York City’s most expensive restaurants. The cost of admission? $35K per plate. Now, that was paid for by donors, not the taxpayers, but $35K per plate? Yeah, Obama’s a real “man of the people” there.

    People need to grow up and get a life. And the drunk Associate Professor from Rutgers needs to apologize to Paul Ryan and his companions for her very rude behavior. Oh, and show us the receipt for her dinner. I want to know how much that “nice” bottle of wine that she drank cost. And how much of a tip they left. Something tells me it was less than the 20% that Ryan left.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 6

  63. Don L says:

    Next weeks “gotcha” news event will be that Ryan can’t spell potato. Like the gangs in LA , if Ryan, or any Republican looks at them, the scum will pounce on him and destroy him like greased pig.

    What else is new? By the way, what was the value of that professors’ accumulated pension plan, and can someone on minimum wage ever hope to afford paying for her pension?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  64. Stan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I can’t follow your reasoning. It seems to me that the high level of inequality in the US is caused by innovations in information technology and shipping, by changes in cultural norms, and by the decline of the labor movement. I don’t see what government has to do with it. By your reasoning the social democracies of western Europe should be rife with inequality, but of course they’re not.

    As far as why inequality is bad, I dislike it because it depresses consumer spending and gives too much power to the rich. And of course there is the moral angle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 10

  65. Ben Wolf says:

    @Anjin-san: I’m convinced Clinton personally planted the tapes of Enron executives telling California utilities to throttle back on electrical generation to increase prices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  66. twolaneflash says:

    Politics of Envy left: same old play from the same old Democrat playbook. It employs Zero-Sum Thinking, i.e., someone with whom you disagree having a nice dinner and a rare bottle of wine, or two, means someone with whom you agree, let’s call them “victims”, will be denied their daily bread. People who think and believe like Susan Feinberg are practitioners of evil: covetous, envious, and bilious, not to mention judgmental and anal. Ridicule and shame shall be her dessert.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

  67. JR says:

    I’m shocked to see that Ms. Feinberg feeds at the public trough as a public leech, I mean employee.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

  68. Crusader says:

    Horrible optics for Ryan. He goes around preaching austerity to middle class folks while he’s dining high on the hog.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 15

  69. LizardLips says:

    They caterwauled like stuck pigs when Bill Bennett spent his own money gambling. Progressive are the arbiters and gatekeepers of what everyone else should be doing, just not them. To them I say, “Piss Off and mind your own f*cking business!”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

  70. WR says:

    @twolaneflash: Except, of course, that Paul Ryan is attempting to destroy Medicare and then give the proceeds to rich people like himself via enormous tax cuts. So yes, if he gets his way, poor people will be paying for his rare bottle of wine.

    Oh, but pointing this out makes you “evil.”

    Funny, I really thought this story would go away. But it is pretty clear by the huge number of new posters who have shown up to comment for the first time on this thread that the Right is truly terrified about what this says of them.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 13

  71. Donna V. says:

    Remember, Ryan doesn’t own or rent a place in DC. He sleeps on a cot in his office. His family lives in Wisconsin. When I lived in DC, I could have easily afforded dropping $350 on a bottle of wine if only I hadn’t had to write a monster rent check every month.

    But the point is: who cares? He spent his own money.

    That liberals actually think this story means something besides that leftists have become intolerable busybodies and scolds shows how intellectually bankrupt the laughably named “progressives” have become. They can’t debate Ryan’s ideas, so they invade his personal life and raise a stink about wine, just as a group of Madison cretins are planning to disrupt a garden party hosted by Scott Walker’s wife.

    Faced with a job-awful jobs reports and sinking poll numbers, the leftist response is essentially the same as a toddler denied candy at the grocery store.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 9

  72. Ben Wolf says:

    @Stan: Western European countries achieve greater equality because they tax the wealthy at a high rate and have very strong unions. The idea that simply restraining government interference will allow markets to level inequality out has no basis in empirical fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

  73. Ilpalazzo says:

    Fienberg is upset over $350 wine – citing that’s someone’s paycheck! But has no qualms about a dumb movie with giant robots or poorly-written teen wizards costing hundreds of millions of dollars?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  74. Huntingmoose says:

    Many points for Ryan

    this Susan Crabtree is just to stupid to see the fact that Ryan showed character

    (1)
    picking up more then his share of the tab paying out of his own pocket (take that Edwards and libs)

    (2)
    admits he got snookered in this spending binge of someone else but is not a sleeze ball trying to wiggle himself out of it by not paying

    (3)
    shows he is fully aware of the ridiculous expensive wine with his common sense answer

    (4)
    what do we think about Obama’s $100 kobi beef and Michelle’s zillion million dollar vacation trips on OUR dime?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  75. ponce says:

    They can’t debate Ryan’s ideas

    Donna,

    Ryan has exactly two ideas:

    1. Cut government aid to the poor
    2. Give the rich more tax cuts

    I would love to debate these “ideas.”

    Shall we start with the teachings of Jesus?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 14

  76. BillC says:

    Okay democrat parasites, you are authorized to criticize Ryan for the wine if you criticized Edwards for the haircut. Fair enough?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

  77. Ben Wolf says:

    @BillC: Wow, maybe next you can refer to undesireables as bloodsuckers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  78. Crusader says:

    @ponce:

    Oh please cite Jesus chapter and verse. I thought we were a secular republic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  79. Rickey says:

    @Andyman: “mouth piece for big business”?Have you seen who’s filling the demoncraps coffers?That would be unions(again) and big business(again)!Both of whom this skunk in the white house continues to screw over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  80. texas goat says:

    I heard that feinburg gives bjs for $350…so what!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  81. James Joyner says:

    @Crusader: But Ryan isn’t “preaching austerity,” he’s arguing that we can’t continue to spend more taxpayer money than we’re taking in indefinitely. He’s never, so far as i’m aware, argued that people ought to start living more frugally with their own money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  82. WR says:

    @Donna V.: He spent his own money when he was caught. Until then, he was quite happy to let these two unnamed “economists” — they couldn’t possibly have been lobbyists, could they? — pick up the bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 10

  83. WR says:

    @James Joyner: Except that his budget does nothing to stop the government from spending more taxpayer money than it takes in. It specifically redirects tax money from the poor and old — from Medicare — to the rich, in the form of tax cuts. It doesn’t even pretend to balance the budget until 75 years out. It is purely and simply a transfer of wealth from middle class and poor to extremely rich.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

  84. Ben Wolf says:

    Seriously folks, does this really matter? Ryan is a courtier of the American oligarchy enriching himself at the peoples’ expense, one of legions in the Beltway. After what we’ve seen in the last three years (or more accurately the last thirty) is this anything more than another ho-hum example of really bad aesthetics and lack of self-awareness? I just can’t get outraged about this kind of petty shit when people who have embezzled trillions continue to run the show.

    But George Carlin said it better than I can. Enjoy:

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q&v=acLW1vFO-2Q&gl=US

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  85. WR says:

    @Huntingmoose: Wow — now we’ve even got Paul Ryan staffers posting here. You guys must be terrified.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  86. One thing I notice is this thread underlines how anti-capitalist the tea party has become. If a college professor or congress person who disagrees with them is wealthy, well that’s an outrage! Apparently the right to personal property only extends to members of The Tribe now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  87. JR says:

    @WR: Demagogue Alert!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  88. @Stan:

    I can’t follow your reasoning. It seems to me that the high level of inequality in the US is caused by innovations in information technology and shipping, by changes in cultural norms, and by the decline of the labor movement. I don’t see what government has to do with it.

    If you have a large corporation, you can afford to skim hundreds of millions off the top every year. With a small corporation, doing that would cause it to go under.

    If you have an economically inefficient industry, you can afford to charge huge profit margins without being undercut by competition.

    So the question is why most of our industries have a handful of massive inefficient corporations instead of a bunch of small lean ones?

    It’s because those large corporations are better able to use the political process to control the market place and prevent competition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  89. PogueMahone says:

    Okay, the hidden comments due to low ratings is very annoying. Who doesn’t open them up anyway?
    Keep the like/dislike thing, that’s always popular. But the “Hide the opinions that we don’t like” smells like sh!t.

    Cheers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  90. Sophie says:

    @Mrs Castro:
    The Obama’s serve expensive wines at the White House .

    http://alturl.com/psxgo

    ….and I bet the taxpayer pays for them. However, Ryan paid for his own wine. Part of the problem is that liberals can’t tell the difference between their and everyone else’s money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  91. mvt says:

    @superdestroyer: @Crusader:

    Yawn. What did you think about Pelosi’s menu choices for her private flights on military jets on the public’s dime while she was Speker ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  92. Vinny The Shark says:

    So this liberal IDIOT ‘quickly” looked up the price of wine that someone ELSE was ordering, like the resident squad leader of the gotcha police? F- HER seems to be the appropriate response. Paul Ryan is not a STUPID LIBERAL who wants to SPEND OTHER PEOPLES MONEY, while buying himself a 400 dollar haircut, he is a Smart Republican who advocates FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY with OTHER PEOPLES MONEY and is therefore FREE to do what the heck he wants with his own.

    It’s like calling someone who is opposed to the lie of “Global Warming” a hypocrite because he bought a big house. It doesn’t wash. The hypocrite is the idiot who while advocating that we all return to the SEVENTH CENTURY just bought himself a SEA SIDE MANSION. Liberals are so stupid they actually forget the points they advocate? Or is it that someone who wants to be a good steward of the nations money is somehow (in the sickness of what liberals call “a mind”) constrained as to how he spends his OWN? I would have threw the wine in her FACE and kicked the shi*t out of her coward husbands “puffed up chest” just for the fun of it all.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9

  93. Vinny The Shark says:

    @Hey Norm: WRONG. Both things are not the same. The 400 dollar haircut is WORSE because it belongs to a LIBERAL who likes to TAKE OTHER PEOPLES MONEY for his stupid liberal godless bullcrap. The POINT of the ridicule that Edwards received was not the PRICE of the haircut but the LACK OF MANHOOD it denoted. That and his infamous ‘hair fixing” pre-interview, sealed his metro-sexual fate. A REAL MAN is FREE to spend 6000 dollars of HIS OWN MONEY on a PAPER CLIP if that is what floats his boat. As he does NOT advocate soaking the rich, poor, or anyone ELSE for his moronic social programs, hypocrisy is not at issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  94. Ben Wolf says:

    Personally I continue to believe that 90% of the whole Left-Right war is a smokescreen to keep us at each others throats so our masters can keep making it to the bank on time. Then someone like Vinny shows up, and it suddenly gets very difficult not to think the Right really is out to kill us all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  95. @Ben Wolf:

    I think Vinny really just wants a president who will finally fix his Caps Lock key.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  96. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Looking at the thread I am quite impressed at the rate the poor persecuted conservatives around these parts are disadvantaged by the ratings system.

    Mrs. Castros “I can’t read a damn”: +8 – Well-liked
    Outrage that an assistant professor is paid well enough to afford an expensive restaurant on her birthday: +25 – well-liked

    The leftist bias around here is surely staggering :D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  97. LizardLips says:

    I’m with Vinny the Shark on this one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  98. LizardLips says:

    I guess it boils down to; “Don’t tell me how to spend MY money.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  99. Ben Wolf says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think Vinny really just wants a president who will finally fix his Caps Lock key.

    +10

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  100. Irene Flick says:

    Now we’re going to demonize the food and wine industry? Someone had to grow those grapes, be a vintner to the wine, sell it to the distributor, truck it to the restaurant, and work it the table.

    Stop feeding into the anti-capitalist meme, folks!

    Let’s see, last week we kill the small jet industry, this week it’s fine wines. Whose jobs are we going to kill off next week? Oh yes, the coal industry.

    When they came for the jews….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  101. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Nothing like a good Godwin to finish off this trainwreck of a thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  102. desertmedic193 says:

    @Laurie:

    I don’t see Barney spending 350 to drink wine. But him paying 350 to drink another man’s biological fluids…now I can DEFINITELY see the fruitcake doing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  103. WR says:

    Anyone else catch the big tell here?

    Not hard to see. All these sock puppets and posters no one’s ever seen before all make sure to drop in the same lie — that Ryan was spending his own money, so it’s no one’s business.

    But he wasn’t. Not until he was caught.

    He was accepting wine worth seven hundred dollars from two mysterious “economists” he won’t identify — most likely because “economist” is Republican for “lobbyist.”

    Gift rules and anti-bribery laws are very clear that what Ryan was doing here was in fact illegal. Even if these two were his friends, it was illegal.

    And his story that they ordered the wine and he didn’t know the price? Really?

    Any friend of a congressman dining with him is going to know the gift rules — certainly the congressman will fill him in. If, for instance, the friend orders wine, the congressman would have to say he couldn’t accept anything over (I believe the number is) fifty bucks.

    So this friend orders seven hundred dollars in wine, knowing that Ryan — who would never pay anywhere near that for wine — will have to pay for at least a third of it. Does that make any sense at all? To anyone?

    This is why there’s such a feeding frenzy here. Because Ryan was breaking the law, and he knows he was caught. And even he can’t expect us to believe that the first time he took an illegal gift from an “economist” was the time he happened to get caught.

    He’s a crook, he was caught, and they’re fighing like crazy to change the subject. Not going to work, Vinny and all the rest of the puppets.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 16

  104. An Interested Party says:

    Like I’ve said before, so much of progressivism the conservative message is motivated by nothing more than envy. How dare someone unionized workers have something everyone non-unionized workers can’t have…

    And of course the answer is not to increase union representation so as to help more workers, but to actually stomp out unions, so as to make more workers have less in pay/benefits…

    Meanwhile, I notice that multiple individual comments on this thread have received dozens of “Like or Dislike” votes–far, far more than on most of the comment threads around here…I wonder why that is…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  105. JPMotu says:

    @EddieInCA: It’s Okay if You’re A Republicans”

    That’s your statement? That’s your argument?

    Where were you when Pelosi and Reid were pissing away the economy Trillion by Trillion Dolllar$. Probably in the next table sipping $350 wine.

    Right Eddie?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  106. anjin-san says:

    Personally I continue to believe that 90% of the whole Left-Right war is a smokescreen

    There is something to that. Keep the masses distracted, meanwhile the big boys rake in all the chips…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  107. WR says:

    @An Interested Party: Because there’s an organized effort to cover up the fact that Ryan was breaking congressional gift rules. The question is, who’s behind the cover up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  108. RCL says:

    The only thing Ryan did wrong was not tell the TPM reporter to stick it up his or her ass. It’s none of their damn business how he spends his money.

    Second, none of you people must know a damn thing about good wine. $350 at a restaurant for a Grand Echezeaux is actually pretty darn cheap. Of course, it looks like just the appellation not a domain. This couldn’t be as good a restaurant as they make it out to be if this was the most expensive wine in the cellar. I GUARANTEE if this was Obama and Michelle on a soiree with Immelt or Larry Ellison they’d be drinking Romanee Conti at $1000 a bottle. I prefer Bonnes Mares myself.

    Ryan like all the GOP leaders is a gutless chump when the press shows up but all you leftist whiners are nothing but codependent hypocrites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  109. RCL says:

    @anjin-san:

    Totally agree. Except for the Tea Party folks there’s really only one party in DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  110. Sideline Observer says:

    Good heavens not only is this woman a Nosy Nancy, she is a clueless economist. Shrill harpy upset that her world continually proves her lack of insight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  111. An Interested Party says:

    @desertmedic193: Nothing like a little homophobia to get you through the day, eh?
    Nice to know that what Barney Frank does in his bedroom scares the $hit out of you…hmm…I wonder why…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  112. G.A.Phillips says:

    There is something to that. Keep the masses distracted, meanwhile the big boys rake in all the chips…

    you guys sound allmost word for word like GLENN BECK!!! lol…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  113. Patrick Condon says:

    I’m not getting the issue here. The taxpayers didn’t cover the bill. Ryan did as did his dinner mates. Feinbrg’s choice to get in their business about it was classless. “I was an economist so I started doing the envelope calculations and quickly figured out that those two bottles of wine was more than two-income working family making minimum wage earned in a week.” We did not subsidize Ryan as we do the fictional couple Feinberg fabricated from whole cloth. If your so stunned by the antics of a congressman, doesn’t putting yourself in the same type of establishment mitigate your supposedly elevated rage-level?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  114. ponce says:

    We did not subsidize Ryan…

    Um, Ryan’s been getting subsidized by America’s taxpayers since 1999.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  115. JR says:

    Liberals don’t believe in property rights. They think they are entitled to determine the standards by which others should live. They are at bottom totalitarian fascists in the guise of a meddlesome neighbor. This country is divided between those who want a massive government and those who don’t. They are opposing theories without much more room for compromise. Bad things will come as a result. Thankfully, liberals also don’t believe in gun rights, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  116. JR says:

    @G.A.Phillips: I bet Glenn Beck can spell almost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  117. Stan says:

    @Ben Wolf: That’s exactly the point I tried to make. If inequality were solely due to economic factors, German and Japanese executives would be paid the same ludicrous salaries our American heros of capitalism pay themselves. If inequality were due to the evil effects of socialistic governments, Danish executives would earn 250 times as much as their employees, just as ours do. So our ever increasing inequality isn’t due to economic factors or the evils of socialism, but rather to the very effective struggle of well off people in the US to better themselves. In the meantime, poor minorities in our big cities and equally poor whites in places like rural Arkansas and Missouri keep on sinking. I am an American patriot, and it sickens me to see what we’re doing to ourselves in the name of individualism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  118. Mord Fiddle says:

    @superdestroyer: President Obama isn’t pressing legislation that transfers wealth from the poor to the rich. Paul Ryan is.

    Leona Helmsley famously said of the wealthy and taxes “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” Likewise, congressman Ryan appears to believe that austerity is only for the middle class.

    Ryan’s sipping $350 dollar a bottle French burgundy (apparently American red wines aren’t good enough for his friends) while trying to eliminate grandma’s Medicare has the tang of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  119. BTW, I decided to celebrate Ryan’s $350 bottle of win over dinner with my favorite $20 Bottle of Beer

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  120. WR says:

    @RCL: Except it wasn’t his money — until he was caught. Which you’d know, if the cowardly sock puppets hadn’t hidden my post where I explained it. He was breaking the anti-bribery laws, and now his sock puppets are desperately trying to hide that fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  121. WR says:

    @Patrick Condon: Mysterious, unnamed “economists” were buying Ryan an expensive dinner with hugely expensive wine, which is against the rules. Even if they were his friends, they can give him gifts — including dinner — of no more than $100 in the course of a year. When this woman saw him with the wine, then he realized he had to pay his share or be caught taking a bribe.

    It’s not about his money, no matter how many Republican shills keep trying to persuade us it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  122. UpChuck.Liberals says:

    @Hey Norm: Obviously you missed a few of the finer points of the article you didn’t bother to read. Allow me to recap. 1. He didn’t order the wine. 2. He paid for one bottle even though he had ONE glass along with paying for his meal. 3. He paid for this out of his own pocket, not our money. I know that this won’t make a bit of difference to your liberal lobotomized mind but think about it for a few months, maybe it will sink in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  123. UpChuck.Liberals says:

    @WR: Wanna toss in Barrys pimp mobile that he flys around in making speeches at plants just before they shut down?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  124. UpChuck.Liberals says:

    @ponce: And Barry since when? Just what do we have to show for your stuidity? Oh yeah, I know, a once great country heading for the tank when all you can get is a job at Micky D’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  125. @UpChuck.Liberals:

    Yes, because clearly no president before Obama ever had a presidential limousine. It’s well know that every president from Washington to Bush was content to walk everywhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  126. JR says:

    $286K per job is a great plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  127. Ben Wolf says:

    @WR: Well that’s the rub, isn’t it? Of course Ryan was technically taking a bribe. There isn’t a single politician on the Hill who isn’t taking bribes every day. The idea he wasn’t taking a bribe is ludicrous, and you really have to wonder about the naivete of those fiercely defending his honor.
    Note to rightists: He’s a politician. He doesn’t have any honor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  128. ponce says:

    $286K per job is a great plan.

    Each U.S. soldier deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan costs the American taxpayers $1 million/year.

    An even better plan.

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  129. steve says:

    @UpChuck.Liberals: 2) After he was caught.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  130. ponce says:

    Looks like Ryan had trouble adding up the tab for his ill-fated bacchanal:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2011/07/rep-paul-ryans-receipt-for-350-wine-1.php?page=1

    There’s a good joke there…but I can’t think of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  131. john personna says:

    Pfft. I know a guy who paid $77K for a bottle of wine(*).

    * – at least it was a charity auction

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  132. john personna says:

    (Oh, and my boss once expense accounted a $1700 bottle when we were with clients. He got in trouble for it later, but I enjoyed my glass ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  133. Laurie says:

    @Crusader: Interesting comment. Exactly describes Obama and wifey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  134. Darrel says:

    Contact for Susan Feinberg:
    feinberg @ business . rutgers . edu

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  135. HelloWorld! says:

    This does represent what is wrong with Washington. I solute this woman for doing what I have wanted to do a few times. Lets not forget that Ryan went to college using social security funds he collected – and that he has pretty much always had a government job during his adult life (but is a very rich man now).

    I live in this town and have many lobbiest friends and even more who are chiefs of staff or LD’s. I’ve been on yachts for events of officials of both parties, been to parties that seem more fitting of hollywood stars, and have seen things that make me sick as an american.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  136. G.A.Phillips says:

    @G.A.Phillips: I bet Glenn Beck can spell almost.

    He is good with blackboards:) Everyone around here knows I can’t spell. Did you get the point? Dude….and its not my fault some fancy spelling liberal took a freaking L out when their pragmatic visionary thinking ASS put the words all and most together, CRAP!!!!!

    You a lib teacher or something? lol….

    Did your momma name you JR or did you come up with that unpunctuated non spelled crap handle all on your own?

    J.R. lol.. or was you trying to make Jr/junior sound tougher? lol….

    Man, I hope I spelled all that crap right….God forbid….some one might ridicule me for my spelling….

    P.S. Who gives a crap stain what this liberal thinks about what Ryan buys for drinks? lol….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  137. G.A.Phillips says:

    I think we as the tax payers should insist on a drug/alcohol free working environment for our elected leaders, and I know that those people dont get paid per hour!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  138. @G.A.Phillips:

    I think we as the tax payers should insist on a drug/alcohol free working environment for our elected leaders, and I know that those people dont get paid per hour!!!!

    Considering how most teetotalers seem to replace the pleasure of drinking with being insufferable busybodies, I’d actually say the opposite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  139. Bill V says:

    @Ben Wolf: Equality can not be governed, it needs to be earned. Those Western European countries you mentioned are slowly going broke with the exception of Germany. They have all gone on a spending diet which is causing riots by those who want to retire after 25 years and have the governmet picking up the tab. I’m retired military which in no way supports me and will probably never be able tto retire unless we get our financial act together. As for Ryan, if it were me, I would have publically humiliated her in the worst way posible. What gall on her part.

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  140. Lit3Bolt says:

    Second, Edwards’ $400 haircut story had so much traction because it reinforced the image that he was less than the manliest of men and spent far to much time caring for his pretty hair. What’s the parallel here? Republicans like wine?

    James, I’m going to do the opposite of what you did, and maybe, just maybe, you will figure out what’s wrong.

    Second, Ryans’ $350 bottle of wine story is getting traction because it reinforced the image that he is a very wealthy man who cares nothing for the poor and spent far too much time drinking expensive wine because he can’t drink what real men drink. What’s the parallel here? Politicians get expensive haircuts like models?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  141. MaryOK says:

    For a public official, the highest level of morality is the appropriate effective and fair use of taxpayer funds. – even wealthy taxpayers. I continually read about ineffective social programs that have turned the social safety net into a hammock. The outrageous compensation packages of public employees. The abuse is too wide spread. The constant drumbeat of income redistribution out of the administration is franly offensive. I am beginning to think that “wealthy” means anyone with a job in the private sector who is not dependent on the government.

    Sure, the wealthy can probably afford ot pay more. But if the whole goal is to take from one group of people to give to another – well it’s not compellling. (In fact, it is the use of taxpayer money to buy votes. I am becoming concerned that the Democratic Party’s entire constituency consists of the donor class, public employees, people who live in areas characterized by high crime, high school drop outs, high out of wedlock/teen pregnancy birthrates. Academia looking for goverment grants. I’m sorry, I feel that all of these constituencies have gotten plenty of the taxpayers money and have not made the country a better place because of it. More and more former Democrats like myself are waking up to this.

    By the way, Susan Feiberg works for a state univiersity and her ratings from students are not impressive. She’s a leech.

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  142. MaryOK says:

    Ryan doesn’t have to publicly humiliate her. People like myself are going to do it for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  143. MaryOK says:

    Susan Feinberg is a government employee – and she was reported to be drunk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  144. MaryOK says:

    Feinberg works for a goverment funded instituion. She gets poor ratings from her students. Here salary is upwards of $150,000 a year for teaching two courses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  145. WR says:

    @MaryOK: You mean people like you who work for Ryan or the corporations that own him? The transparency of this attack is obvious. All you sock puppets are desperately afraid everyone will see how corrupt Ryan is…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  146. MaryOK says:

    Is Ryan a a very rich man? I understand his net worth is consideraby under a million dollars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  147. WR says:

    @Bill V: Those European governments are going broke because their big banks played games and lost — and now the rulers, who are in bed with the bankers, are demanding that the citizens pay the bankers’ losses while the ones who incurred them walk away with millions. Gosh, that could never happen here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  148. WR says:

    @MaryOK: Former Democrat? Is that Wisconsin for “paid off by the Koch brothers?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  149. MaryOK says:

    @WR: @WR: @WR:

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Anyone can write a letter to Rutgers, state how offensive her behavior is, and point to the very poor reviews on a web site from herr students. They can ask about her salary from the taxpayers, ask about her private sector experience. They can ask where her ourtrage is about Obama’s $30,000 fundraisers, Michelle Obama’s $12,000 earings (the $5,000 earings Obama bought her when he was a Senator were not good enough). Her lavish vacations on the taxpayers money. About Nancy Pelosi’s $300,000 liquor bill on her taxpayer funded airplane, and her florist expenditures.

    Unfortunately for Susan Feinberg, she works for the state of New Jersey and she is well paid for what she does – and she will have a better pension plan than most people in the private sector. Her student reviews are not positive. This could well gain traction in New Jersey. Face it, Susan Feinberg lives off the taxpayer and she has a lot to be lose in smaller goverment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  150. WR says:

    @MaryOK: You have never posted on this site before. You and a dozen others have come here for the first time to post screaming defenses on Paul Ryan, along with hurling attacks on any Democrat you can think of in a desperate attempt to change the subject. You may think this is clever, or maybe you just do what you’re paid to do. Either way, it’s obvious to anyone who has been coming to this site for a long time that this is an organized effort. The fact that you are now trying to slime this university professor and even to threaten her is absolutely typical of the thuggisih behavior we’ve seen from the corporate hacks behind the Tea Party.

    You are a fraud. Odds are, you’re a paid fraud, so at least you’re getting something out of this. But you’re not going to convince anyone here that you are not being sent her to spread your disinformation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  151. MaryOK says:

    WR:

    I did not write one word of defense of Paul Ryan. I happened to come across this story and learned that Susan Feinberg worked for Rutgers and the taxpayers of NJ pay her a hefty salary – and benefits like that pension. I did a little googling and found that that is indeed the case. I read a couple of stories about Califonia Pensions and it was pretty clear that the Democratic Party uses taxpayer money to purchase votes. The taxpayers are pretty fed up with educators on the public payroll. Susan Feinberg did not do herself any favors raising her profile right now. Public school educators continually expose themselves as reliably leftist dimwits. Funny how Obama’s failed economic team has left to go back to academia.

    Susan Feinberg is bought and paid for. There isn’t any way she isn’t going to be splattered by this ruckus she caused.

    As for Paul Ryan, I’ve never heard anyone suggest that he is anything other than a serious policy maker on the budget. Anyone who watches him on C-Span is impressed with the breadth and depth of his knowledge. Unlike Obama, who’s assinine comments on ATMs makes you wonder if we should elect anyone to the job that can’t demonstrate that they can read a balance sheet.

    I think you must be another guy who lives off the taxpayer and is afraid now that the general public is waking up.

    By the way, what disinformation have I spread?

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  152. An Interested Party says:

    I am becoming concerned that the Democratic Party’s entire constituency consists of the donor class, public employees, people who live in areas characterized by high crime, high school drop outs, high out of wedlock/teen pregnancy birthrates. Academia looking for goverment grants.

    Oh my dear, you should be as equally concerned about the Republican Party’s constituency, with its own donor class, wealthy people looking to get out of paying taxes, certain groups of people in red states which have high crime, significant high school drop out rates, and high out of wedlock/teen pregnancy birthrates, and corporations looking for tax breaks while sending jobs to other countries…these various groups have certainly not made the country a better place…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  153. James Joyner says:

    @WR: An alternative explanation in these cases is incoming traffic from a major site. In this case, both Hot Air and a FOX Nation site linked the post, sending considerably new, partisan traffic. Something similar happened when InstaPundit linked something last week, skewing both the comment ratings and the commenting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  154. @James Joyner:

    You’re just upset because you’re the first OTB poster to get a poorly-rated comment on one of his own posts, aren’t you? ;>

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  155. MaryOK says:

    @An Interested Party:

    You know, it is actually possible to be concerned about both parties- and the fact that both are into crony capitalism. However, crony capitalism does not produce the sheer number of votes that using taxpayer money to fund lucrative pensions to public employees and voters via Section 8 subsidies, food stamps, cell phones, hiring preferences, immigration amnesty, earned income credits, free cell phones – etc. or the Community Reinvestment act. Just last week, in his twitter townhall, Obama acknowledged that these social welfare programs have created dependency on government. We have more section 8 in our neighborhood now – and funny how crime has gone up – including on elderly women. Have your read about the flash mobs in the shopping and entertainment districts of major cities like Chicago and Milwaukee? These mobs do not consist of white suburbanites – or rural residents either. You think that they might be getting the message that they are entitled to the wealthy’s money and that law enforcement treats them unfarily? They certainly aren’t afraid of law enforcement.

    Republicans are not into these types of social welfare programs. If they don’t exist, they can’t be abused. You may or may not agree with their view on policy, but you can’t say they are wholesale handing out taxpayer money to the public on programs that are ineffective. Many feel these programs have destroyed a sense of personal responsibility in large segements of the population.

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  156. MaryOK says:

    @An Interested Party:

    People who avoid taxes – illegally- like Tim Geithner, Charlie Rangle? Tax cheating does not have a party affilliation.

    Whether you like it or not, managers, by law, have their first obligation to the corporation. Why do you think they owe anything to anyone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  157. WR says:

    @MaryOK: I’m not surprised you think that teachers and professors are parasites. Those who worship ignorance would.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  158. WR says:

    @MaryOK: Oh, goodie. Now we have the Drudge inspired race hatred and fear. You are the whole package.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  159. MaryOK says:

    @WR:

    Get off the personal attacks already.

    Everyday, you can read legitimate news stories from respected new outlets about how taxpayer money is being abusedby public employee compensation and ineffective social programs.

    Why don’t you read these two from realclearpolitics.com just today.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com

    $5,600 to Wash Police Motorcycles? – Brian Calle, Orange County Register
    Why Head Start Doesn’t Work – Joe Klein, Time

    Race baiting-, you say. Well Chicago closed the beaches on memorial day due to flash mobs and greatly downscaled 4th of July. It’s a big story – and unfortunately one race stands out as perpetrators. Social programs which I have supported in the past, just haven’t helped.

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  160. G.A.Phillips says:

    I think we as the tax payers should insist on a drug/alcohol free working environment for our elected leaders, and I know that those people dont get paid per hour!!!!

    Like or Dislike: 0 2

    lol James I think you have a couple the
    critters poster /reading here…

    Considering how most teetotalers seem to replace the pleasure of drinking with being insufferable busybodies, I’d actually say the opposite.

    :) I don’t know. When I am hung over I get pi$$y, crass and start making new rules for everybody involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  161. An Interested Party says:

    However, crony capitalism does not produce the sheer number of votes that using taxpayer money to fund lucrative pensions to public employees and voters via Section 8 subsidies, food stamps, cell phones, hiring preferences, immigration amnesty, earned income credits, free cell phones – etc. or the Community Reinvestment act.

    I had no idea that Section 8 subsidies, food stamps, cell phones(!), hiring preferences, immigration amnesty, earned income subsidies (these last two supported by Republicans like Ronald Reagan!), etc. were just giveaways to get people to vote for Democrats…I guess anyone who uses any of these things and votes for a Republican didn’t get the memo…

    Republicans are not into these types of social welfare programs. If they don’t exist, they can’t be abused. You may or may not agree with their view on policy, but you can’t say they are wholesale handing out taxpayer money to the public on programs that are ineffective. Many feel these programs have destroyed a sense of personal responsibility in large segements of the population.

    No, Republicans favor other giveaways to the wealthy for the ineffective idea that that will somehow make the wealthy spend so much and stimulate the economy and create jobs…

    Tax cheating does not have a party affilliation.

    Neither do the donor class or people who live in areas characterized by high crime, high school drop outs, high out of wedlock/teen pregnancy birthrates, which was my point…both parties are made up of groups that can easily be negatively stereotyped…

    It’s a big story – and unfortunately one race stands out as perpetrators. Social programs which I have supported in the past, just haven’t helped.

    Yes, in your world, gobs and gobs of money have been thrown at the dark people and they still scare you, we get the point…

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  162. MaryOK says:

    @An Interested Party:

    When are you going to understand that being against Democratic policies does not mean that mean that you automatically buy into the other party?

    As for your other points, well, you have not addressed the issue that Social welfare programs continually prove to be ineffective and have largely turned into jobs programs or ways to use taxpayer money to buy support.

    1. Do African Americans vote 90% for Democrats? I would like the statistic on how much public aid that community gets. We certainly know that their urban schools do not have impressive graduation rates or academic success. I know that city schools get a lot more state and federal taxpayer support than suburban, unless they are minority communities. We also know that their out of wedlock birth rate is close to 80%- meaning they likely get significant public assistance.

    2. Don’t we constantly hear that Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats and how important the Dream Act is to continue to attract those voters. Doesn’t that involve taxpayers subsidizing the community? My mother lives in an area that is 95% hispanic. She told me her neighbor wanted to go to college, but her mother said she couldn’t. She needed to have another baby because the goverment would giver he money. That community’s out of wed lock birth rate is over 50%. Bet immigration status is not checked before handing out taxpayer funded benefits.

    3. What giveaways are the wealthy getting? Are you suggesting that allowing a lower tax rate is a “giveaway”? Allowing someone to keep their own money is a “giveaway’? Didn’t the middle class get the majority of the bush tax cuts? Or is anyone who can afford to maintain their property and saves to educate their kid fit into your definition of wealthy.

    4. What statistics you have that people getting public aid vote Republican in any kind of significant numbers? So you think a high school drop with out of wedlock children don’t vote for Democrats if they live in a Red State? I would like to see those statistics, if they exist.

    5. I don’t know whether or not tax cuts at the higher income levels stimulate job creation, but there seems to be the wide spread acceptance that small business is the engine of job creation and the tax increases definetly hurt small business. Small business owners are generally Republican.

    6. Yes, right now, just about everyone has concerns about being in Chicago because there has been daily incidents of 20 to 30 African American youths going through the business and entertainment districts beating up white people. Bicycles have been stolen and the people thrown in the lake, disturbances in a MacDonald’s that caused it to close for three hours. Universities cautioning its students to avoid crowd’s of African American youths due to increases in beatings and robbing. Billy Corgan’s (Smashing Pumkin)’s brother was recently beaten up on the elevated train from a group of black youths that stole his Ipod. No one is afraid of being called a racist anymore. The problem is significant and you are in denial.

    7. Aren’t states like CA, NJ, IL near collapse due to its pension obligations to pubic employee unions? Do you deny that unions contribute most of their money to Democrats. Even Willie Brown said that the compensation packages of public employees are too generous and they got that way because legislators wanted their support? Wasn;t FDR against public employee unions? If you can give taxpayer money away to union public employees, what prevents the same mentalit for social programs? So what if a few Republicans support some of these things from time to time. Generally, they resist social program spending.

    Here’s a couple of articles that helped me see some of these issues from a different perspective. Discredit them if you can.

    http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_1_teen-pregnancy.html
    http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/12/class-war

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  163. WR says:

    @MaryOK: Oh, Mary, if there were world enough and time, it still wouldn’t me worth anyone’s energy to counter your laundry list of ignorant, racist, banal cliches. All I can say is that Rush Limbaugh really doesn’t have your best interests at heart, and perhaps when a man who makes fifty million dollars a year says that the only moral, just thing to do — and the only thing that will benefit people like you — is to cut taxes for the very rich, you might want to consider that he has his own agenda.

    It might be fun to dispute with you for a while, but I’m sad to say I recognize the provenance of every one of the lies, cliches, and misunderstandings you spout. Frankly, I don’t think I’d want to spend an evening chatting with Rush and Drudge, but I know I don’t want to spend it doing so by proxy.

    Pick up a book someday, Mary, one not written by anyone affiliated with Fox News. Better yet, go back to school. You might be surprised to find out that the real reaon your gurus tell you to hate academics is because they want to keep you ignorant.

    Until that time, try not to be too scared of those evil brown people trying to take your lunch money. Maybe one day you’ll actually meet one of them and discover they’re really much like you — much more like you, in fact, than the multi-millionaires who count on you to work in their interest and against your own.

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  164. An Interested Party says:

    When are you going to understand that being against Democratic policies does not mean that mean that you automatically buy into the other party?

    I am well aware of that, but, since we only have a two-party system, if one doesn’t vote for Democrats, who does one vote for? Libertarians? LaRouchites? Martians?

    As for your other points, well, you have not addressed the issue that Social welfare programs continually prove to be ineffective and have largely turned into jobs programs or ways to use taxpayer money to buy support.

    Oh? Like Social Security? A program that has helped to significantly reduce the poverty level among senior citizens…a level that was substantial before it was enacted…

    Do African Americans vote 90% for Democrats?

    Considering the hostility shown towards that group (as illustrated by people like you), whom should those voters support?

    Don’t we constantly hear that Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats and how important the Dream Act is to continue to attract those voters.

    Actually, that group doesn’t always overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, as the support Bush received in 2004 shows, but, as with blacks, when you have many parts of one party seeming to show open hostility towards a particular ethnic group, whom do you expect the voters in that group to support?

    What giveaways are the wealthy getting?

    Tax subsidies for oil companies and examples where people like Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, for starters…

    What statistics you have that people getting public aid vote Republican in any kind of significant numbers?

    What statistics do you have that everyone, or even the vast majority of people, getting public aid vote solely for Democrats? And are only welfare, food stamps, and Section 8 vouchers considered “public aid”? How about farm and oil subsidies? Why aren’t these things also considered “public aid”?

    …but there seems to be the wide spread acceptance that small business is the engine of job creation and the tax increases definetly hurt small business.

    Oh? People making, say, $500K or a million dollars a year are now considered “small business”?

    Small business owners are generally Republican.

    Evidence please…

    No one is afraid of being called a racist anymore.

    Indeed, you’re living proof of that…

    Aren’t states like CA, NJ, IL near collapse due to its pension obligations to pubic employee unions?

    No

    Do you deny that unions contribute most of their money to Democrats.

    Well, as with blacks and Hispanics, when union workers are shown open hostility by one major political party, why wouldn’t they support the other major political party?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  165. matt says:

    Tax subsidies for oil companies and examples where people like Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, for starters…

    Well that’s because smart rich people like Warren Buffett don’t actually pay income taxes they pay for their income via capital gains taxes and such which is why surprise surprise Republicans want to eliminate the capital gains tax…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  166. MaryOk says:

    Interested Party:

    1. You just can’t address legitimate concerns of others. I am a registered Democrat. They lost my support after I read the first couple of paragraphs of the article I posted. Very clear that they purchased the votes of unions with taxpayer money. No doubt about it. Even Willie Brown, the architect of public employee union compensation, that is copied around the country (blue states) said so. Shall I find the quote for you?

    2. Once you realize that the votes of public employees were bought with taxpayer money, it forces your to look at what is going on with Social Programs. I have posted two articles about failed social programs – which you have not addressed, because you can’t. Please do not lump Social Security in with Head Start, Section 8, Section 42, Title I schools and whatever has replaced Aid for Families with Dependent Children. The people who qualify for Social Security actually pay for it on an after tax basis, and then pay income tax on it when they receive it. I get that the program does not support the next generation adequately and changes will have to be made. Then again, SS security and other goverment pensions do not structure their financial reporting the same way as annuity companies, whose financial reporting is required by law. Most of the social programs that I am referring to are intended to be income redistribution programs. Supposedly some good is supposed to come out of it, but the two articles I posted suggest that the successes do not justify the investment. Social Security already has a hefty redistributive componet. If that component grows, it will lose support.

    3. I don’t really know why specific farm subsidies and oil company subsidies exist. The Oil Depletion Allowance probably was the start of it, probably to create a different rate of amortization for what is the hefty cost of exploration and development. I do not put tax deductions for business in the same class as outright handing money to voters- almost 50% of whom don’t pay any federal taxes at all. The reason for that is that business passes on the cost of taxes to the people who purchase the product. Get rid of the oil subsidies, the price of the product goes up – and just about everyone is affected in one way or another. I am not saying the subsidies shouldn’t go, I am just saying that the purchase price will reflect that taxes are a component of the cost. There shouldn’t be any taxes on business. They are hidden to the consumer who actually pays them, If those taxes did not exist, the goverment would be forced to ask the voters for more money and they would have to explain in a lot more detail what they plan to do with the money. The government likes hidden taxes, for obvious reasons.

    4. I am not sure what the definition of small business is, but certainly it could be considered to be a business that pays income tax on a personal income tax forms, as most do. $500,000 of income for a business is nothing if you want to compare it to oil companies. Why do you begrudge and business for generating $500,000 in income anyway? Do you realize that we pay high school PE teachers in suburban Chicago in excess of $150,000 for 180 days work, job protections that don’t quit, a pension that pays them about 75% of the average of their last 4 years of compensation (included accumulated sick days) with a guaranteed COLA of 3% in my state? A small business takes risks, has to assemble capital, doesn’t generate $500,000 of income every year, is not a monopoly, and can go out of business. A small business owner puts in countless hours, and probably gets a lot of volunteer labor from family in the early stages. Can you imagine how many furniture stores, and restaurants are struggling to stay afloat in this economy or have gone out of business despite what they made five years ago? What risks do educators take, how many people do they employ? Why can’t we fire them if they don’t perform?

    Why do you have a problem with people who work making money and spending it where they like? Obama said yesterday he can’t “allow them” to essentially keep their own money. That comment frightens a lot more people than the rich.

    5, I would like to know the ethnic backgrounds and zip codes of people on public aid. That would tell me if they vote democrat. Yes, I know that about 1/3 of hispanics vote for republicans. I live in a very hispanic area and I make sure the small businesses we patronize are aware of the Democratic Party’s attitude towards small business. I would also like to know how much public aid the people who “flash mob” in Chicago are getting? Are they in Title I schools, were they born out of wedlock, how many years did they have a father in their home? I think all taxpayers should have answers to those questions.

    6. Let’s talk about Warren Buffett and his belief that the rich should pay more taxes, as well as his support of President Obama. The general public probably does not know that he sells life insurance policies to small business owners, who had to pay a “death tax” of 35% when they die. Usually, the small business had to be sold to pay the taxes – bad for the people who work there – good for people like Warren Buffet who buy successful businesses. Waren Buffet undoubtedly favors the reinstatement of the death tax because it means hundreds of millions in proflts to his life insurance subsidiaries, which owners buy to have cash to pay the death tax. Meanwhile, Warren donates his money to where he wants it to go, not to the federal goverment, which he advocates should take more money from everyone else.

    Interested Party, read a broader array of publications and try to improve your critical thinking skills – especially in finance, math and accounting. The left just does not understand that money has to be earned. It does not fall from the sky to people who are “blessed”. I read too much commentary that has defined the “affluent” as anyone with a job that allows them to keep their home in good repair and who moved somewhere where the schools are good and the neighborhood is safe.

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  167. matt says:

    Do you realize that we pay high school PE teachers in suburban Chicago in excess of $150,000 for 180 days work, job protections that don’t quit, a pension that pays them about 75% of the average of their last 4 years of compensation (included accumulated sick days) with a guaranteed COLA of 3% in my state? A small business takes risks, has to assemble capital, doesn’t generate $500,000 of income every year, is not a monopoly, and can go out of business. A small business owner puts in countless hours, and probably gets a lot of volunteer labor from family in the early stages. Can you imagine how many furniture stores, and restaurants are struggling to stay afloat in this economy or have gone out of business despite what they made five years ago? What risks do educators take, how many people do they employ? Why can’t we fire them if they don’t perform?

    As someone that comes from a family of teachers I cannot help but laugh at your ignorance. I am from south of Chicago and I know quite a few professors who don’t even make near that much money. I can make the claim that there are fry cooks at Mcdonalds that make +20 bucks an hour using your methodology…

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  168. matt says:

    Oh and the 180 days a year really cracks me up. I have no idea what school you’re talking about that is only in session for 6 months but I have a feeling it’s the same mythical school where teachers all make +150k.

    My grandfather got a good laugh out of you so thanks for that.

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  169. @matt:

    Oh and the 180 days a year really cracks me up. I have no idea what school you’re talking about that is only in session for 6 months but I have a feeling it’s the same mythical school where teachers all make +150k.

    180 days is approx. 8.5 months. Schools normally only run monday-friday.

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  170. matt says:

    @Stormy Dragon The teachers that are friends or family of mine don’t get saturday and sunday off in the same way that you and I do. They have plenty of paperwork and meetings etc to do during the weekends. Just because they kids aren’t around doesn’t mean the teachers aren’t doing anything..

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  171. The teachers that are friends or family of mine don’t get saturday and sunday off in the same way that you and I do.

    Ah yes, because teaching is the only job where people have to take work home with them or do unpaid overtimer.

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  172. MaryOk says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Not so. Almost every salaried worker in the private sector takes work home, works weekends and does it all year. 60 hour weeks are routine.

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  173. MaryOk says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Schools may be in session 8.5 months a year, but they get a lot of days off during them, and not just summers. I hear that schools are essentially on four day weeks after Presidents Day.

    Salaries are posted on line – they are public information – and I assure you that 150,000 salaries are not mythical for high school teachers in suburban Chicago – probably not NY, CA, or NJ. Look at what Ms Feinberg makes. I hear she teaches one course – maybe two sections per term.

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  174. MaryOk says:

    @matt:

    Do they work in state supported schools or private schools?

    The school district in Harvey (not college) is among the top 10 highest districts in the suburban Chicago area – rivaling Winnetka’s New Trier.

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  175. MaryOk says:

    @matt:

    I was mistaken. It is Dolton that pays extremely high salaries.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php
    Not as high there as I thought, but not bad.

    Here is a link for Naperville junior high,
    http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

    Here is the link for Downers Grove High School:
    http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

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  176. matt says:

    Ah yes, because teaching is the only job where people have to take work home with them or do unpaid overtimer.

    Yeah you beat that strawman hard!!

    On a serious note there’s no doubt that people working a salaried position tend to get screwed like that. I refused a management position in my 20s because I was able to make more money as a delivery driver (after you factored in the +40 hours of work). I cannot speak for the majority of America but I certainly hope that the majority of the American workforce is not being forced to work without pay. As for my family outside of the teachers and a few others they are all paid for their overtime work and they usually have a “weekend” at some point in the week. Frankly though my family is of the “salt of the earth” kind so we’re not generally involved in the stereotypical corporate world..

    MaryOk

    Public schools and frankly private schools have nothing to do with this conversation. If a private institution wants to pay their teachers inordinate amounts of money it’s none of my business.

    Schools may be in session 8.5 months a year, but they get a lot of days off during them, and not just summers. I hear that schools are essentially on four day weeks after Presidents Day.

    Like I said earlier just because the kids are off don’t mean the teachers are…

    Salaries are posted on line – they are public information – and I assure you that 150,000 salaries are not mythical for high school teachers in suburban Chicago – probably not NY, CA, or NJ. Look at what Ms Feinberg makes. I hear she teaches one course – maybe two sections per term.

    It’s mythical till it exists and I haven’t seen you present anything resembling evidence of such a thing. Ms Feinberg is irrelevant as she is a college professor not a high school teacher..

    I was mistaken. It is Dolton that pays extremely high salaries.

    Here is the link:

    Your links provide no data and simply load the same page.

    I’ll help you out some though. You will find teachers who make large salaries but those teachers are usually superintendents who are in charge of a variety of things. You also might find an old teacher who has a large salary but what you’ll neglect to mention is that they teach a variety of classes and also have administrative duties. I’m surprised you haven’t found some data somewhere that you can manipulate or just leave out information to further your case..

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