Fact Checking Ryan

August 30th, 2012

 

Well, you gotta give it up to Paul Ryan for a great convention speech. Veteran political reporter Howard Fineman said it was the best speech he has seen at any party convention and that’s a lot of conventions. But if Ryan gets an A for delivery, he gets an F for truthfulness.

Johathan Cohn has a good summary of the 5 major misrepresentations in the speech.

1) The plant that he argued Obama was responsible for letting close was shuttered during the last months of the Bush Administration. Not to mention the fact that (whatever you think about the auto bailout) it’s hard to argue that things would have been better for auto workers across the Rust Belt without it.   

2) Ryan attacked Obama on cuts to Medicare in order to fund Obamacare, but neglected to mention that under the two budgets he authored in the House, he maintains Obama’s cuts in Medicare while simultaneously cutting the benefits that were part of the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, if you’re a real budget hawk, keeping Obama’s cuts to Medicare can be seen as the right thing to do, but (contrary to their rhetoric that it’s responsible) Mitt Romney’s fairytale budget restores the cuts while simultaneously giving more tax cuts to the rich and providing no details on the imaginary deductions that he will eliminate in order to pay for all of these budget busters. 

To be sure, Obama and the Congressional Democrats left themselves wide open to this attack by making those cuts, but they were part of a larger deal expanding benefits under Obama:

Obamacare’s cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.

But that paragraph won’t fit on a bumper sticker, so you can see why Romney’s pollster stated that they “won’t let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers

3) Ryan blamed Obama for the downgrade of the US credit rating, but this ignores that there wouldn’t have been a downgrade if the Republican House of Representatives hadn’t politicized the debate about the debt ceiling in an unprecedented way.

4) Ryan blames Obama for the increase in debt, but the short lived stimulus is a paltry addition to our deficit over the next decade while the Bush budgets are a huge part of this problem if they’re allowed to stand. And guess who voted for those budget’s: Paul Ryan.

Still, Ryan should boost his grade with some extra credit for the giant brass balls he displayed last night with his statement that

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Cohen again:

The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that’s assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he’s serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.

Paul Ryan’s a slick guy, and he delivered a good speech. But the Democrats get their rebuttal next week, and they’d be foolish not to point out the many falsehoods in Ryan’s speech and the hypocrisy of this candidacy.

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