It is a reasonable question to ask: where does VP pick, Paul Ryan stand on mining? All I could find is that he appears to have made money from mining. This is part of the report:
Ryan’s latest financial disclosure report, filed in May, shows that he and his wife, Janna, have an ownership interest in four businesses run by his father-in-law, Daniel Little. The businesses are AVA O Limited Co. (mining and mineral rights), Blondie & Brownie LLC (gravel rights), Red River Pine Co. (timber rights) and Little Land Co. (oil and gas). Based on reported ranges, these holdings and Ryan’s investment in “Mineral Rights, Oklahoma” were worth between $352,000 and $830,000 at the end of 2011. They generated between $45,000 and $145,000 in income that year, the report shows. A review of these reports over the five years going back to 2007 shows that Ryan and his wife have made between $201,000 and $587,000 from the investments.
Ryan’s voting record indicates that he might make things easier for mining to proceed. Here is a summary of his record on some issues relevant to an enquiry about his possible mining stance:
- Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.
- Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
- Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.
- Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.
Here is more that indicates that he might support massive tax breaks for mining, if the industry gets around to lobbying him to do so:
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, voted in 2011 against measures to enhance public health and environmental protection 97 percent of the time, according to the League of Conservation Voters, a Washington-based environmental group. He supports a 10-year, $40 billion tax break for oil and natural gas producers and has criticized government subsidies for renewable energy championed by President Barack Obama.
The Mining Journal reports only this:
Romney declared that in the campaign to come, Republicans will present economic solutions “that are bold, specific and achievable. … We offer our commitment to help create 12 million new jobs and to bring better take-home pay to middle class families.” The party establishment, rank-and-file conservatives and tea party groups all cheered the pick made by Romney, whose own record as a moderate during his term as Massachusetts governor less than a decade ago made his march to the presidential nomination an uneven one. Obama’s campaign didn’t wait long to respond. It criticized the budget blueprints Ryan has authored, particularly his recommendations to fundamentally remake Medicare and cut $5.3 trillion in government spending over the coming decade.
Opening every proposed mine would hardly generate 12 million new jobs. But a few more mines might help, particularly if they get massive tax breaks like the oil and gas folk that Ryan supports so generously.
A quote from Ryan in a recent New Yorker article indicates that he might even support spending federal money to fix the roads and ports of America—as good a way as any for the government to make jobs and invest in the future. This is what he said:
When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.”
Seems like most of his wife inheritance came from a construction company that built the highway system. So maybe we can mine for those things need to repair roads, sewers, airports, and fast trains.
Of course, Ryan is a devotee of Ayn Rand. Man, I was impresses as a teenager when I read her stuff. She helped me confirm my religious views. But come on folk we all grow up and should accordingly outgrow Ayn who never drove a car amongst other strange personal deviations from the ideas her novels espouse.
I browsing the internet for this posting, I came across this insight into Ryan:
Perhaps Ryan’s most unconventional opinion on monetary policy came in the summer of 2010, when he told Ezra Klein that the Federal Reserve should actually raise interest rates even as the U.S. economy was still struggling: “[T]here’s a lot of capital parked out there, and we need to coax it out into the markets,” he said. “I think literally that if we raised the federal funds rate by a point, it would help push money into the economy, as right now, the safest play is to stay with the federal money and federal paper.”
In this regard, Ryan is strangely in line with the views of Paul Krugman in his new book End This Depression Now. A lot is written in the book that is critical of all politicians, including Obama. Here is the briefest summary from Krugman in an interview with ABC:
We’ve just had really an epic collapse of private spending. We’ve just seen that because of various things – mostly overreach, excessive private indebtedness – the private sector has just cut back drastically on spending, both sides of the Atlantic. This is a North Atlantic crisis.
What we should be doing right now is we should have government policies that are designed to sustain spending because somebody has to spend. You’re spending is my income, my spending is your income. And if you don’t do that then you have a persistently depressed economy.
But what we’ve had instead over the past couple of years is a policy mix that focuses on trying to slash government spending, treats the government deficit as if it were the proximate, the main problem, as opposed to the lack of jobs, which is actually the main problem.
And then in Europe you have the overlay of the problem of a single currency without a single government which adds a whole additional level of difficulties. So we have a great disaster. We’re basically five years into this crisis and in many respects things are still getting worse.
If we could get Krugman and Ryan and Rand to agree, why we might mine more and create more jobs. To be continued.
PS. After posting the above, I read the following from another blogger on Ryan’s attitude & actions re mining:
Impacts on the safety and health of workers
Black lung is a horrible disease that miners contract from exposure to coal dust and silica during the mining process. Black lung rates in Appalachian coalfields had been declining since the passage of the Mine Safety Act in 1969, but over the past decade have risen dramatically. The Republican Party, including Morgan Griffith and Mitt Romney, regularly proclaims itself to be “pro-coal.” Apparently, that doesn’t include the health and safety of coal miners. The Ryan-Griffith budget, along with other recent legislative efforts they’ve endorsed, will:
- Reduce the number of mine inspectors due to cuts to the Mine Safety and Health Administration budget, weakening enforcement of black lung and other critical mine safety rules. Workers in other industries will also be more vulnerable due to likely cuts for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Stop efforts by the Department of Labor to lower the allowable dust limit in mines, a long overdue step that would directly reduce the number of black lung illnesses and deaths.
- Overturn the recently passed “fifteen-year rule” which states that people who have worked in mines at least 15 years and have advanced lung disease are presumed to have black lung. This rule will put the burden on the companies to prove miners don’t have black lung, rather than forcing the miners – who have far less resources than the companies – to prove that they do.
- Overturn another recent pro-miner rule, which allows widows of miners to continue receiving black lung benefits after their spouses die. Without this rule, a widow must start over and re-prove that her husband had black lung in order to keep receiving benefits. The Ryan-Griffith budget eliminates both the widow’s rule and the 15-year rule, at the expense of thousands of miners and their spouses.
A “path to prosperity” that reduces jobs, slashes education for young people and training for workers, provides incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas, and makes mines and factories less safe and less healthy sounds like a cruel joke. Unless you’re Paul Ryan, Morgan Griffith or part of the 1 percent, that’s exactly what it is.