In a speech that will long be infamous for flouting the truth, Paul Ryan uncorked a disturbing honest-to-God fact at the Republican National Convention last night — one that underscores the severity of the jobs crisis in this country.
"Here we were," Ryan said, "faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent."
The image is powerful yet seems preposterous. C'mon. Really? But in a speech filled with countless casual lies, this most depressing of allegations turns out to be on the money.
The Bureau of Labor's statistics show there were 12.8 million jobless Americans in July. Let's make this tough on Ryan and pick an unnecessarily long continental crossing: Bellingham, Wash. to Miami, Fla.. Google Maps puts that at a walking distance of 3,309 miles, or nearly 17.5 million feet.
If anything, Ryan is too conservative in his measurement. His calculus — even at this extended crossing — would give each unemployed person a little over 16 inches of space. That might be enough for a PX90 enthusiast like Ryan, but the Chris Christies of America would eat up considerably more distance.
Ryan paints an awful picture. And it underscores just how dark the Great Recession has been for American workers, and why this election will be anything but a cakewalk for President Obama.
But the question I have for Paul Ryan and the man at the top of his ticket is:
Big tax cuts for the wealthiest fix this how?!