Paul Ryan, "Mr. Austerity," Drops $700 On Fancy Wine With Super-Rich Economist Friends

The monetary hypocrisy of austerity-touting Republicans is not that surprising — most of them are rich, and so can fathom a full and sustaining life without government-assisted programs like Medicare. But sometimes, a story breaks that might seem petty to parrot, but in fact highlights the disgusting gap between the reality of America's citizens, and the budget massacring politicians who hold our future in their hands.

Like this one: Paul Ryan—chairman of the House Budget Committee, widely referred to as a "czar" and man who proposed a budget plan that would decimate Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security income, military retirement funds, food stamps and veterans programs—was seen dropping $700 on two bottles of wine at an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant Wednesday night. He was in the company of Cliff Asness, a hedge fund manager (and former Goldman Sachs employee), and John Cochrane, an economist at the University of Chicago (which, you may recall, is accused of producing the rampant free-market philosophy that caused the economic crisis in the first place). So certainly he was getting great advice about the debt ceiling, no? Even worse, though, their pricey wine spree ended in an expletive directed at a business professor at Rutgers. TPM:

The three men were spotted ordering the $700 worth of wine at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill by an associate professor of business at Rutgers University named Susan Feinberg. After dining in the same restaurant with her husband, Feinberg confronted Ryan and his pals about the high-end wine. The exchange became contentious. Ryan professed not to know the price of the wine, and one of his buddies responded to Feinberg's chastisement by loudly saying, "Fuck her," Feinberg told TPM.

Even better: for a man whose job it is to deal with numbers, Ryan apparently has a problem with carrying the one. The Awl has a picture of the bill, and a $392.70 tab plus an $80 tip [yowzah] equaled $372.70 at first. So it goes. Meanwhile, $472.70 would go a long way in a lot of households

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at July 11, 2011, 6:20am

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