Paul Ryan’s Family Business Built On Government Contracts

Despite the repeated mantra from the Romney-Ryan campaign that “hard-working Americans are what create jobs, not government,” Paul Ryan’s family business — for whom he briefly worked as a “marketing consultant” — was built in large part on government contracts. Salon reports Ryan Incorporated Central began in 1884 doing government-subsidized railroad construction, then moved into building federal interstate highways, and helped build O’Hare Airport.

The story notes:

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. … 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 in his first speech as Romney’s running-mate, Ryan joined in on the attacks on President Obama for believing that those whose businesses are successful, in part succeed because “somebody invested in roads and bridges.” Ryan proclaimed that he was “proud to stand with a man who understands what it takes to foster job creation in our economy, someone who knows from experience, that if you have a small business — you did build that.”


Last month, ThinkProgress noted the irony that a Romney campaign ad hitting President Obama for his argument that government investment plays a part in business success starred a small businessman who benefited from millions of dollars of government loans and contracts to get his business on its feet. It is more ironic still that his campaign now stars a running mate demonstrating the same kind of hypocrisy.