Paul Ryan’s Family Business: Wealth Attained Because Of Government Money

Sally Kohn at Salon writes of how Ryan’s great grandfather started the family company, Ryan Incorporated Central, that grew because of government contracts.

Paul Ryan is a living, breathing GOP example of how public infrastructure and private entrepreneurship work hand-in-hand…

Paul Ryan’s great-grandfather started a construction company to build railroads and, eventually, highways. According to the Web site of Ryan Incorporated Central, the company was “founded in 1884 with a single team of mules building railroad embankments in Southern Wisconsin.” And in the 1800s, railroad construction was subsidized by the federal government…

A subsidiary family corporation, Ryan Incorporated Southern, states on its Web site, “The Ryan workload from 1910 until the rural interstate Highway System was completed 60 years later [and] was mostly Highway construction.” The $119 billion spent by the federal government on the Interstate Highway System was, by one account, “the largest public works program since the Pyramids.”

A current search of Defense Department contracts suggests that “Ryan Incorporated Central” has had at least 22 defense contracts with the federal government since 1996 , including one from 1996 worth $5.6 million…

And Ryan has brought lots of goodies home.

What’s funny is that Mr. Anti-Spending secured millions in earmarks for his home state of Wisconsin, including, among other things, $3.3 million for highway projects. And Ryan voted to preserve $40 billion in special subsidies for big oil, an industry in which, it so happens, Ryan and his wife hold ownership stakes. Yet Ryan wants to gut financial aid for college students, food stamps for hungry families, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security — the very things that have, historically, helped poor families climb the ladder of opportunity in America.

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Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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