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Paul Ryan visits with auto workers at Tesla Fremont Plant

Former House Speaker astounded to learn Reardon Metal not a thing


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) traveled to Tesla Motors’ state of the art Fremont manufacturing plant on Saturday to speak to workers just two days after the United Auto Workers union filed a complaint against the company. Following the successful passage of a budget bill in the house on Thursday, Ryan wished to speak with manufacturing workers to reassure them that—regardless of the tenor of American politics—that electric auto manufacturing would continue receiving generous subsidies from the American government.

“Look everyone, we in Congress are very grateful for the sacrifices that you and your families have made. Now I’m aware that some of your friends and loved ones have lost their jobs during recent layoffs, and I’ve come here to reassure you that next year’s budget allows plenty of funding for ZEV credits and other subsidies, thus ensuring that it’s American manufacturing talent defining the future of clean energy.”

Joined by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the stage, Speaker Ryan’s announcement was received with hearty applause. Following a photo opportunity with Musk alongside the Model 3 assembly line, the House Speaker shook hands with workers and requested a tour of the factory.

“I’m interested in seeing your full line-up of product assembly hardware, but there’s actually something else I’m interested in seeing.”

Elon Musk capitulated. “Of course, where would you like to start?”

“Well, I’d really like to see the operation you guys have to produce Reardon Metal. You guys do smelt your own Reardon Metal, right?” The substance that the House Speaker refers to is a fictional composite metal alloy depicted in Objectivist author Ayn Rand’s influential tome, Atlas Shrugged. The auto workers, Musk, and a lobotomized child recovering from brain cancer— visiting the factory with the Make-A-Wish foundation— all laughed at the Speaker’s rapist wit. But then it dawned on them. “This administration has gone to great lengths to crack down on Chinese dumping in the global steel market. This means that Reardon Metal will soon again become the material comprising automotive framing material.”

As the applause failed to materialize, Elon Musk nudged Speaker Ryan’s foot and whispered, “Reardon Metal is not a real thing.”

“What? You mean that the Administration’s efforts to curb anti-competitive Chinese practices in the steel market haven’t rendered Reardon Metal a viable alternative yet?” As the Speaker adopted an expression of incredulity the child from Make-a-Wish announced that he’d have been better off if his operation was unsuccessful. While he lamented the state of the world, Ryan continued and addressed the room. “There is an incredible account of American industrial productivity and the challenges faced by regulation that have guided my political philosophy to this day.”

A reporter called out: “You mean Robert Gordon’s influential work The Rise and Fall of American Growth?”

Ryan scoffed. “No, who’s that? I mean Atlas Shrugged. You know, by Ayn Rand? The crowd let out a collective sigh, and a row of voice-activated, self-driving cars belted out machine-like curses before driving away. Finally, Elon Musk put the subject to rest.

“Um, Speaker Ryan. Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction. None of that stuff ever happened. It’s all made up. Reardon Metal isn’t a real thing because Atlas Shrugged isn’t a real story.” Ryan was agape. His expression melted as the embarrassed auto workers dispersed. He walked over to the wall, leaned his back against it, and slid down to a sitting position on the floor. Elon Musk tried to console Speaker Ryan, but even that didn’t help.

“Well, I guess it’s not so bad. I did learn something after all. And besides, maybe this will free up my energies to focus on battling reverse racism.”

Musk scratched his head and mumbled. “Um, not a thing, either.” As he looked around the now empty factory floor Ryan’s eyes grew moist and Musk said, “Look, maybe I should leave you here alone. I’m gonna finish leading the tour of the factory. Maybe you’ll want to use this time to reflect.”

Ryan, pursing his lips and looking up, agreed and hoarsely managed, “Yeah, yeah, I guess you’re right.”

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