Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that former Speaker Pelosi had "extravagant use of Air Force One on the taxpayer's dime." While Pelosi did charter military aircraft for cross-country flights at taxpayer expense, Air Force One is the call sign exclusively reserved for the president of the United States.
At a time when the government is facing billions of dollars in cuts to programs that many Republicans deem as wasteful, it seems that the only spending Democrats want to address is Rep. Paul Ryan's expensive taste in wine, even though they have past ignored a number of instances of wasteful Democratic spending on the taxpayer's dime.
Last Friday, Talking Points Memo published a piece criticizing Ryan for sipping a glass of wine from a $350 bottle of Pinot Noir. Onlooker Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, took pictures of Ryan and his two economist friends sipping the wine before approaching Ryan and asking how he could live with himself for dropping hundreds of dollars on wine while arguing for cuts to programs benefitting the poor and elderly.
As it turns out, the two bottles of $350 wine were ordered by Ryan's friends, and Ryan only indulged in one glass. When approached by TPM about the choice of wine, Ryan responded "A.) I didn't order it. B.) I had no idea what it would cost, and C.) ...I bought one of these bottles even though I drank a glass, and I always pull my own weight for my meals," noting he would never have chosen a bottle of wine "anything close to 100 dollars."
With a net worth pegged at somewhere between $590,092 to $2,425,000, placing him as the 147th richest congressman, Ryan's supposedly lavish lifestyle pales in comparison to a number of high-ranking Democrats. Fourteen members of congress have net worths exceeding $100 million, ten of whom are Democrats.
Ryan's expensive wine brings to mind a number of Democrats spending wastefully in their personal lives. You might remember President Barack Obama's tens of thousands of dollars date weekend to New York City paid for largely by taxpayers, first lady Michelle Obama's luxurious trip to Spain by military jet paid for with taxpayer money, or as Jonathan H. Adler points out, Rep. Nancy Pelosi's extravagant use of military aircraft on the taxpayer's dime to the tune of $2,100,744.59 over two years plus including $101,429.14 for "in-flight expenses."
Perhaps most ironically, as explained by Jim Hoft at the Gateway Pundit, is that the same liberal complainers were silent when a taxpayer-funded state dinner in January served $399 bottles of wine to accompany an already expensive meal.
Of course, the difference between these instances and Ryan's is that unlike the Democrats, Ryan paid for the wine that he didn't even order with his own money that he worked to earn, not passing along the cost to taxpayers.
Some might say Ryan's actions are still hypocritical given the cuts he is proposing, but he lives within his own means in his personal life, just as he is pushing for the government to function within its own means.