I admit I haven’t watched much of the Republican convention this week, it tends to give me a bad case of heartburn and indigestion. But I gave in to curiosity last night and watched Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan give his acceptance speech. I was curious of he would address head on his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system, to subsidize the health insurance industry. Would he present his budget plan that continues deficits for almost 30 years, because it cuts taxes so much, primarily for the wealthy? Not quite. My jaw muscles are still sore today from my jaw dropping so much, aghast, as he told one big whopped of a lie after another. The media world is ablaze today as they point out they huge lies Ryan tried to foist on what he must think are dumb voters:
- Dave Weigel, Slate.com: “”incredible string of false or misleading statements”
- Jonathan Cohn, the New Republic: “The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?”
- Michael Tomasky, the Daily Beast: “Paul Ryan pushed American politics into new territory with his convention speech, effectively daring Democrats and the media to call him out on his string of blatant falsehoods”
- Dan Amira, NY Magazine: “Paul Ryan Bets on the Ignorance of America”
- Washington Post Editorial Board: “Mr. Ryan’s misleading speech”
What’s that you conservatives say? “Librul rags and Lamestream Media”? Well, how about the non-partisan Factcheck.org?
- Factcheck.org: “Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention contained several false claims and misleading statements”
Or, how about:
- Fox News contributor, Sally Kohn: “Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”
- Matt Drudge, the Drudge Report: “Ryan Lied About Janesville GM Plant”
So, what were some of misleading, if not outright dishonest things Ryan said? Ryan blamed Obama for the closure of auto plant in his district, in Janesville WI:
“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years,’” Ryan recalled. “That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.
Here’s a picture of the auto plant from Ryan’s hometown newspaper, the Gazette:
If you have trouble reading the sign it says “Last Vehicle off the Janesville Assembly Line”, with the date at the bottom: December 23 2008 – when George W Bush was President and Obama’s inauguration a month away. And an auto plant in his district, in his home town – Ryan knows darn well when it closed, but he’d like you to think it was “Obama’s fault”.
And Ryan implied it’s Obama’s fault that the U.S. credit rating was downgraded:
“The Obama presidency, “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”
Yes, that is correct, but it clearly implies that the credit downgrade is all Obama’s fault. No, Standard & Poors downgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating in 2011 because congressional Republicans, of which Ryan is a key leader, threatened not to increase the country’s borrowing authority — risking a default on the debt — unless Democrats agreed to their demands to slash trillions of dollars from domestic social programs. Standard & Poors specifically cited the actions of Congressional Republicans as the reason for their downgrade:
“Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”
Ryan criticized Obama on the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission:
“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.”
Ryan was on that commission. He voted against adopting it’s recommendations. Following his lead, so did the panel’s other House Republicans. Budgetary matters must pass the the House and then the Senate before it makes it to the President’s desk for him to take any action. Ryan and his fellow Republicans killed it.
Ryan claimed the campaign’s top priority is protecting the poor.
“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.”
Just under two thirds of the dramatic spending cuts in Ryan’s budget target programs that benefit low-income people. Those spending cuts are intended to help offset the deep cuts in tax revenue from more tax cuts for the wealthy.
And Ryan’s biggest whopper of them all? Medicare:
“You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”
Yes, repeat the Republican lie that Obama “stole” money from Medicare. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare providers – hospitals, clinics, etc. – agreed to reduced compensation for the care they provide to Medicare patients. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) estimates it will save Medicare $716 Billion dollars over the next 10 years. Why did healthcare providers agree to this? Because with the expanded health insurance the ACA provides, they will have many more patients with insurance to pay for their treatment, and far few indigent patients who have no money to pay for their care, but they must treat anyway, by law (signed by President Reagan). Saves Medicare that money. That money isn’t being taken away, it adds up in the Medicare Trust Fund, strengthening it’s reserves. And Paul Ryan knows that perfectly well – he’s included those savings in his last two budgets. You see, while they would repeal the ACA, they would hold those healthcare providers to their reduced payment, without giving them those more patients with health insurance.
Ryan and the Republicans repeating that lie so often that “Obamacare stole $716 Billion from Medicare” reminds me of the saying attributed to Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”. But I won’t make that comparison. It angers me when people make frivolous comparisons of something or somebody to the Nazis. Because doing that lessens the memory of the incredible suffering endured by millions of Jews and others. Because frivolous comparisons to the Nazis lessons the the memory of the incredible sacrifices made by so many U.S. and Allied servicemen and women in their liberation of Europe from the Nazi oppression. My father was one of them.
So instead I’ll compare Paul Ryan’s lies and attempts to mislead to someone more recent:
“There are no American troops in Baghdad. Obamacare steals $716 Billion from Medicare. My budget plan doesn’t take money from programs to help the poor and the elderly to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, I love my mother, and she’s older than dirt. S&P didn’t really downgrade our credit rating because of me & my fellow Republicans threatening to let the U.S. default if we didn’t get our way. I know the Janesville auto plant shut down under President Bush, but it’s still all Obama’s fault. The drought in the Midwest? All Obama’s fault. Hurricane Issac? A devious plan by Obama to take attention away from our wonderful convention.”