It is not surprising that House Speaker Paul Ryan is unimpressed with President Obama's economic record. What is surprising is who Ryan thinks does deserve credit for helping the recovery: the Federal Reserve.
"I think the Federal Reserve has done more," the speaker told reporters on Tuesday, after being asked if Obama "deserves any credit at all" for the recovery. "What's happening is people at the high end are doing pretty darn well because of loose money from the Fed," he said. This will be news to followers of Ryan's career. He's long railed against loose money from the Fed, claiming it will debase the dollar and lead to inflation. (It hasn't.)
It's not crazy to claim, as Ryan did, that the Fed's policies amounts to "trickle down economics." But there is nothing in Paul Ryan's history to suggest he thinks monetary policy can help the economy at all, even if it's just at the top. Plus, if that's his critique, there are some progressive money-printing enthusiasts — and even some conservative ones — who would probably like to schedule a chat with the speaker.
To recap: Paul Ryan thinks loose money helped the economy. But Paul Ryan opposes loose money. He also thinks loose money favors the rich too much. But shows no indication of wanting to make loose money favor the poor. Jeff Spross
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in an interview airing Sunday on Face the Nation that he plans to lead by consensus.
"I was not elected dictator of the House," he told host John Dickerson. "I was elected speaker of the House. And that means we do it in a bottom-up approach. We reach consensus."
He was elected to the leadership role Thursday, after weeks of scrambling from the hard-to-control House GOP caucus over who should replace John Boehner. Ryan pulled a "full Ginsburg" on Sunday, appearing on all five major morning talk shows.
"As Republicans, we have common principles. We need to take those common principles and apply them to the problems of the day through consensus to show the country a better way forward," Ryan said. "And it's my job to lead to that consensus, but not to dictate that consensus." Julie Kliegman
Moments after the gavel was handed over Thursday morning, new House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered his first address to Congress and called for the restoration of order. "Let's be frank," Ryan said, after bidding a final goodbye to retiring House Speaker John Boehner. "We're not solving problems. We're adding to them."
Rather than "settling scores" and "laying blame" to solve those problems, Ryan said that, under his speakership, the House will instead be "wiping the slate clean." "A lot is on our shoulders," Ryan said, admitting that he never thought he'd be speaker. "Let's all pray for each other — Republicans for Democrats and Democrats for Republicans. And I don't mean pray for a conversion. Pray for a deeper understanding. Because when you're up here you see it so clearly. Wherever you come from, whatever you believe, we are all in the same boat."
Ryan was elected speaker in a full House vote with 236 Republicans supporting him. Becca Stanek