Speaker Paul Ryan Has Once Again Shown His Contempt For The American Worker

Paul Ryan

Speaker Paul Ryan may like to talk about his new found understanding of how the poor in America live but his policies paint a different picture.

Yesterday was a big day for millions of middle-class workers. The Obama administration just took a major step to restore overtime protections to millions of already over-worked Americans.

The new rule will double the threshold for overtime pay, bringing it to $47,476. As a result, more people will qualify for overtime pay for the additional hours they work. The rule also extends overtime protections to 4.2 million Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law and will increase wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years.

Paying people fairly for the work they do should be a no-brainer. Because of this new rule, more people will be compensated for the hours they work, meaning more American families will have the security and peace of mind that comes with a fair paycheck for a hard day’s work.

Speaker of the House and Republican, Paul Ryan has a different view of how people should be treated. In a response to the proposed pay raise and rule change, Ryan called the new rule an “absolute disaster.” He went on to elaborate on who exactly, this new rule would hurt.

This regulation hurts the very people it alleges to help. Who is hurt most? Students, nonprofit employees, and people starting a new career. By mandating overtime pay at a much higher salary threshold, many small businesses and nonprofits will be unable to afford skilled workers and be forced to eliminate salaried positions, complete with benefits, altogether.

These are precisely the same people Ryan and the GOP have argued should not get a minimum wage increase. They’ve argued for years that the minimum wage is only for students and entry level workers; and now, once again, he wants to keep these people in poverty. Not only will the GOP’s policies keep people poor, it also allows for them to be exploited and taken advantage of.

Not long ago, Paul Ryan addressed a group of House interns. In his speech, he talked about what appeared to be a come to Jesus moment for the Speaker. He seemed to back away from the Ayn Rand philosophy that had been his trade mark.

There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong…So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way.

That was in March. In April, he suggested that insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions – despite new rules to the contrary thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ryan now claims that paying people for hours worked will destroy businesses. This is the same Paul Ryan who said school lunches give kids “an empty soul” and who thinks anything written by Ayn Rand is a manual for society and the economy.

Ryan can say all he wants about his moment of clarity when it comes to the poor, but his policies show a man void of compassion and a basic understanding of day to day life for a large number of Americans.

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Richard Zombeck
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Richard Zombeck

Richard Zombeck is a freelance writer, featured blogger at Huffington Post, and co-host of the T&Z Talk Podcast.

He’s much older and angrier than he looks.

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Richard Zombeck
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