In 2008 Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was unveiled Saturday as Mitt Romney’s running mate on the GOP presidential ticket, told colleagues he was voting against his “principles” and in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that authorized government bailouts of the financial sector.
The bailouts infuriated Americans of many political leanings and helped spawn the tea party movement.
Laying out a doomsday scenario on the House floor, Ryan said, “Are we standing at the edge of this abyss? Nobody knows, but maybe.” With a nervous giggle he added, “it’s very probable.”
“This bill offends my principles, but I’m going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles, in order to preserve this free enterprise system,” explained Ryan.
“Colleagues, we’re in the moment. This bill doesn’t have everything I want in it — its got a lot of good things in it — but we’re here, we’re in this moment and if we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us,” said Ryan.
In a 2010 interview with The Daily Caller, Ryan said that if the financial system had collapsed in 2008, “we would have had a big government agenda sweeping through this country so fast that we wouldn’t have recovered from it.”
“I believe we were on the cusp of a deflationary spiral which would have created a depression,” he said.
In that interview Ryan also explained that he voted in favor of authorizing a bailout of the auto industry — a policy that Romney opposed — because he feared that limitless TARP funds would be doled out to companies if Congress did not approve some of its provisions.
The TARP bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2008. The second half of the $700 billion was released in January 2009 after President Barack Obama took office.
Ryan is most well-known nationally for his proposed budget, which he titled “The Path to Prosperity.” The House Budget Committee chairman’s proposal is frequently derided by Democrats for restructuring the Medicare and Medicaid entitlement programs.