Friday, August 31, 2012

Romney Won't Reveal Secret Bundlers

Meanwhile, Obama says being a dad cuts into schmoozing. He's also calling for an amendment to overturn Citizens United, which allows donors to be secret and spend unlimited amounts of cash.
All of these people are going to want a payback. These people are what's wrong with our politics:

David Brooks: Romney Camp Has Serious Managerial Issues

Good RNC wrap up - Romney's got lots of obstacles. So does the GOP. Some of the highlights: Romney may be generous to people he can see, but policy affects everyone. How will Romney policy affect people that aren't Mormon or friends of Mitt's? We already know that Mitt thinks that rich people trickle down wealth.
Mark Shields and David Brooks point out that not everyone is a small business person or wants to be a small business owner and yet, that's all the republicans talk about.
Brooks also points out that even if GDP goes up, not everyone will benefit. As we've seen, only the wealthy have benefited. Brooks says republicans haven't addressed that problem.
Brooks also cites the Eastwood debacle as a managerial issue in the Romney camp. Mitt always seems to screw up when it matters most. Not a good sign.

Obama and Clint Eastwood at the White House




Romney's Plan to Strengthen the Middle Class

Obama Speaks to Troops at Fort Bliss Aug. 31

In full:

Ann Romney Says Women are on Their Side

Dear Ann, the debt of the nation is a rich person's worry. We've just been through the worst recession ever and now we're recovering. Most of us are trying to get our own selves on solid financial footing. The nation's debt, much of which was acquired under republican leadership, can be addressed when the economy is healed. The economy is recovering, no thanks to republicans, with 12 months of expanding GDP, 27 months of job growth, an improving housing market, a thriving auto industry, a recovered stock market...


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Democratic National Convention Schedule Sept. 4-6

See the official schedule here.  Obama speaks on Thursday, Sept. 6.

I don't see anyone who might talk to a chair on this list. Whew. Tracking the DNC here.

Speakers:

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin

Congressman Xaiver Becerra of California

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina

Former President Jimmy Carter (via video)

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who will be the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee

Congresswoman Judy Chu of California

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri

Former President Bill Clinton

Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina

Former Republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist

Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina Walter Dalton

The Honorable Arne Duncan

Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado

Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois

Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Georgetown Law School Graduate Sandra Fluke

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx

Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez of Texas

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland

Former Governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt

DCCC Chairman Congressman Steve Israel of New York

Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau

Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine

Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (ret.)

Congressman John Larson of Connecticut

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California

Congressman John Lewis of Georgia

CarMax co-founder and former CEO Austin Ligon

President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan

Caroline Kennedy

U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts

Women’s rights activist Lilly Ledbetter

Obama Campaign Co-Chair Eva Longoria

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy

Delaware Governor Jack Markell

Boston Mayor Tom Menino

The Honorable Karen Mills

U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will also lead a presentation of the women of the House:
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York
Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania
Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland
Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Joyce Beatty of Ohio
Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

California Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez

Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado

Congressman David Price of North Carolina

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada
President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

The Honorable Ken Salazar

Journalist Cristina Saralegui

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

Congressman Chris Van Hollen

Los Angeles Mayor, Democratic Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa

The Honorable Tom Vilsack

Senate candidate from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren

DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida

Congressman Mel Watt of North Carolina

Schmoozing the RNC

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Romney and Ryan's Lies Push Limits

Their lies have been so blatant and so frequent. Some republicans know they're lying and they don't care. Other Americans, who don't follow politics, may not realize that Romney's "build" campaign is based on something Obama never said. Romney's entire campaign is a lie. See a Romney lie list here.

Ryan's RNC speech was perhaps the most lyingest speech ever. Not only is Romney using lies to try and win, but he's using secret superpac money to try and buy the White House. He's the first candidate who won't reveal his top bundlers. How can anyone call Romney "honorable?"

When you have to deceive and cheat to win, you're probably not worthy. But the GOP's hatred of Obama is so intense, and Romney is so weak, Romney's probably been given his marching orders -- win at whatever cost.

The growing number of misrepresentations appear to reflect a calculation in both parties that shame is overrated, and that no independent arbiters command the stature or the platform to hold the campaigns to account in the increasingly polarized and balkanized media firmament. Any unmasking of the lies or distortions, the thinking goes, rarely seeps into the public consciousness.

But an interesting question unfolding is whether there is a tipping point at which a candidate becomes so associated with falsehoods that it becomes part of his public persona — which hampered Vice President Al Gore during his run for president in 2000, when his misstatements on the campaign trail were used to stoke the perception that he could not be trusted in general. NYT
Fact check on Romney's speech:
Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.” Romney appears to be referring to mandates in the health care law, but overall Obama has cut taxes broadly for the middle class. He has extended Bush tax cuts, included a “Making Work Pay” credit in the stimulus bill and reduced payroll taxes by two percentage points in the past two years. Obama has called for raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. More at WaPo
By now, everyone is probably confused about Medicare. The nonpartisan foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, has answers to questions about Ryan's plan for Medicare It makes no judgements. It just lays out the facts and leaves the rest up to you.

In the video below, the Obama campaign honed in on that phony closed-mouth smile. I never see sincerity or authenticity in Mitt. I still haven't figured the guy out. Mostly, I wonder what his real motivation is. Does he have a daddy complex? His dad was clearly someone special. Has he been encouraged by the Mormon church to run for office? Does he feel an obligation? Why? Mormonism is an active religion. In their youth, they are expected to serve as missionaries, doing good deeds and recruiting people to their religion. Romney has been a central figure within the church (here is the only video I've seen where Mitt extensively discusses his role in the church). All Mormons are expected to be missionaries for a period of time. Does he feel a strong calling by god? Does he feel guilty for something? His religion plays a major role in his life, but I wonder why that doesn't keep him honest? Maybe deceit is okay if there is a perceived higher purpose? Some actual facts:



Obama camp response -- not a lot of specifics from Mitt:

Obama's Schedule Aug. 31

Times are eastern.
Live stream of Obama's speech.

9:30 AM
The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
South Lawn
Open Press
9:45 AM
The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route El Paso, Texas
Press Information
1:30 PM
The President arrives in El Paso, Texas
Local Event Time: 
11:30 AM MDT
Biggs Army Airfield
Open Press
2:15 PM
The President participates in a roundtable discussion with service-members and military families
Local Event Time: 
12:15 PM MDT
Fort Bliss
Closed Press
3:00 PM
The President delivers remarks to troops
Local Event Time: 
1:00 PM MDT
Fort Bliss
Open to pre-credentialed media
4:10 PM
The President departs El Paso, Texas en route Joint Base Andrews
Local Event Time: 
2:10 PM MDT
Biggs Army Airfield
Open Press
7:45 PM
The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
Press Information
8:00 PM
The President arrives the White House

Thursday, August 30, 2012

West Wing Week Aug. 31

Clint Eastwood Talks to Invisible Obama on Chair

It's too bad for Mitt he's not in control of his party, because Eastwooding is now a thing and Romney was upstaged by a clown act on his biggest night. The Obama campaign response via buzzfeed:



Two speakers before Mitt. Who knew Clint was such a jerk. The optics are not good, but the audience ate it up. The bizarre transcript.



This part wasn't seen on a lot of networks:

If Obama Failed the Nation Why Are RomneyRyan Lying So Much?

If Obama failed, as RomneyRyan/GOP say, why can't they just point to facts? Why are they lying so much? Rhetorical question.

Watch Romney speak tonight at 10 pm ET. I've seen excerpts and he seems to say "America" a lot, but it didn't look particularly riveting. Mitt isn't very inspiring anyway.

Uh-oh. That's what happens when you lie so much:

White House Press Briefing Aug. 30

Ryan Voted Against Bowles-Simpson

Republicans are desperate. Their only hope is to lie their arses off. Paul Ryan said Obama walked away from Simpson-Bowles. Ryan neglected to mention he was on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted against its findings. Another FAT lie: Ryan blamed Obama for closure of Wisconsin plant, which closed before Obama took office. The fact that republicans have to lie so much means that Obama must be doing something right.

Representative Paul Ryan was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now holds out as a model for putting America’s fiscal house in order.

The 18-member panel needed 14 votes to send a 10-year plan to trim the debt to Congress for a vote. As his party’s then- ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Ryan led a bloc of three House Republicans who denied the additional votes needed. BusinessWeek

How Romney Soaked Government to Save Bain

The trouble began in 1984, when Bain & Company spun off Bain Capital to engage in leveraged buyouts and put Romney in charge of the new operation. To free up money to invest in the new business, founder Bill Bain and his partners cashed out much of their stock in the consulting firm – leaving it saddled with about $200 million in debt. (Romney, though not a founder, reportedly profited from the deal.) "People will tell you that Bill raped the place clean, was greedy, didn't know when to stop," a former Bain consultant later conceded. "Did they take too much out of the firm? You bet."

....

Romney moved decisively, and his early efforts appeared promising. He persuaded the founders to return $25 million of the cash they had raided from Bain & Company and forgive $75 million in debt, in return for protection from most future liabilities. Romney then consolidated Bain's massive debts into a single, binding loan agreement with four banks, which received liens on Bain's assets and agreed to delay repayments on the firm's debts for two years. The federal government also signed off on the deal, since the FDIC had recently taken control of a bank that was owed $30.6 million by Bain. Romney assured creditors that the restructuring would enable Bain to "operate normally, compensate its professionals competitively" and, ultimately, pay off its debts.

Almost as soon as the FDIC agreed to the loan restructuring, however, Romney's rescue plan began to fall apart. "The company realized early on that it would be unable to hit its revenue targets or manage the debt structure," the documents reveal. By the spring of 1992, Bain's decline was perilous: "If Bain goes into default," one analyst warned the FDIC, "the bank group will need to decide whether to force Bain into bankruptcy."

With his rescue plan a bust, Romney was forced to slink back to the banks to negotiate a new round of debt relief. There was only one catch: Even though Bain & Company was deep in debt and sinking fast, the firm was actually flush with cash – most of it from the looted money that Bill Bain and other partners had given back. "Liquidity is strong based on the significant cash balance which Bain is carrying," one federal document reads.

Under normal circumstances, such ample reserves would have made liquidating Bain an attractive option: Creditors could simply divvy up the stockpiled cash and be done with the troubled firm. But Bain had inserted a poison pill in its loan agreement with the banks: Instead of being required to use its cash to pay back the firm's creditors, the money could be pocketed by Bain executives in the form of fat bonuses – starting with VPs making $200,000 and up. "The company can deplete its cash balances by making officer-bonus payments," the FDIC lamented, "and still be in compliance with the loan documents."

What's more, the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn't give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain's debts, Romney would raid the firm's coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain's creditors – including the federal government – but the firm's nearly 1,000 employees worldwide. More at Rolling Stone

Freudian or Too Much Booze: Jan Brewer for Obama

This is just funny. That's all.

Obama's Interview in Time Aug. 30

Read

Fact Check on Ryan's RNC Speech

I didn't watch Paul Ryan's speech because I knew it would be irritatingly full of lies, which is exactly what republicans want. They only want to hear Obama demonized. Having a President and First Lady who are black has made republicans incredibly uncomfortable. It's why they began caring about the deficit and blaming government for every societal ill. The prejudice is unconscious and runs deep. It's why there are no more moderates in the GOP.

Obama has been an awesome president, cleaning up a huge mess that was handed to him -- our entire financial system going under, two messy wars, precipice of a depression, huge job losses, a plunging housing market, people's retirements in ruins. He's been cleaning up almost singlehandedly. The republican-controlled Congress has blocked him at every turn. One only needs to look at the progress that has been made to judge this president -- 27 consecutive months of job growth, an improving housing market, a thriving auto industry, a healthy Wall Street, corporate profits are up, 12 months of expanding GDP... That's extraordinary.

Ryan's speech was a doozy if the number of fact checks today are any indication. Here's a solution to the GOP lie fest. Media should insist on a copy of speeches beforehand, with the condition that the speeches are only for fact checking and not publication or airing. Then, when the speech is being given, media can fact check the speeches in real time. This would serve two purposes 1) it would help people make a more informed decision 2) it would encourage GOP liars to be more honest.






FACT CHECK: Ryan Advised GOP Leaders Not To Work With The President To Reduce Deficit


FACT CHECK: Ryan Advised GOP Leaders Not To Work With The President To Reduce Deficit
Despite Congressman Ryan’s remarks about the debt, he advised Republican leaders not to work with the President to reduce the deficit because it would help his re-election prospects. Ryan led Congressional Republicans in opposing Simpson-Bowles and in rejecting a “grand bargain” with President Obama to bring down the deficit. Instead of explaining how they would reduce the deficit, Romney and Ryan have offered is a $5 trillion tax cut plan geared toward millionaires and billionaires that will either explode the deficit or raise taxes on middle class families.
RYAN OPPOSED DEFICIT REDUCTION DEAL BECAUSE IT WOULD HELP PRESIDENT OBAMA’S RE-ELECTION CHANCES
New York Times: Ryan “Disliked” Deficit Reduction Deal And “Was Concerned That A Deal Would Pave The Way For Mr. Obama’s Easy Re-Election.” “Mr. Ryan’s enormous influence was apparent last summer when Representative Eric Cantor, the second most powerful House Republican, told Mr. Obama during negotiations over an attempted bipartisan ‘grand bargain’ that Mr. Ryan disliked its policy and was concerned that a deal would pave the way for Mr. Obama’s easy re-election, according to a Democrat and a Republican who were briefed on the conversation.” [New York Times, 8/13/12]
RYAN VOTED AGAINST SIMPSON-BOWLES COMMISSION REPORT
Ryan Voted Against Report Of Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission. “Earlier today, Congressman Paul Ryan stated his intention to vote against the plan proposed by the Co-Chairmen of the Fiscal Commission. … Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s vote, the Fiscal Commission has been a success. Due in large part to the leadership of the Co-Chairmen, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the proposal and the commission have successfully launched a critical debate facing this country: how to get the Federal government’s fiscal house in order and ensure a prosperous future for coming generations of Americans. This is the debate I’ve worked hard to advance with my own reform proposals, and it has been a privilege to serve as an active participant in the Fiscal Commission this past year.” [Rep. Paul Ryan press release, 12/2/10]
Ryan Cited Insufficient Attention To Health Care Entitlements As His Reason For Opposing Report. “Tasked with an extraordinarily difficult challenge, the Co-Chairmen put forth a comprehensive and provocative proposal to help tackle the debt threat, advancing a sorely needed debate on these critical issues. Their proposal is a serious and credible plan, but I cannot support it. We must address the explosive growth of our health care entitlement programs at the structural level to meet the fiscal and economic challenges confronting this nation. This plan not only lacks needed structural reforms, but would in fact take us in the wrong direction on health care by accelerating the adverse consequences of the President’s health care law. It also relies too heavily on tax increases, which would stifle the very growth and prosperity that are the essential preconditions of a sustainable fiscal path.” [Rep. Paul Ryan press release, 12/2/10]
Ryan Said Final Report Did Not Address “Elephant In The Room” Of Health Care. “Ryan praised much of the work of debt commission, headed by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., though he voted against its final report. He said he did so “because it didn’t address the elephant in the room: health care. ... If you’re going to fix this fiscal crisis, you’ve got to take on health care.” The Bowles-Simpson commission’s recommended cancellation of the tax exclusion for employer-based health care plans “accelerates the expansion of Obamacare,” which he’s convinced will cause employers to transfer millions of workers into government-subsidized exchanges, exploding costs.” [Mort Kondracke op-ed, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 12/13/10]
Ryan Hit Simpson-Bowles Commission For Not Repealing Health Care Reform. “The fatal flaw of President Obama’s fiscal commission is that it left the president’s partisan health care law virtually untouched. No solution to our fiscal challenge can afford to ignore the core driver of our debt, which is government spending on health care. And the simple truth is that the president’s law accelerates our fiscal day of reckoning by expanding Medicaid, raiding Medicare and creating a brand new health care entitlement program.” [Ryan op-ed, USA Today, 4/4/12]
Ryan Later Said He Had No Regrets About Opposing Simpson-Bowles. “BURNETT: Do you have any regrets about not voting for Simpson-Bowles? RYAN: No. BURNETT: When I look at the one-page summary and your 98-page report, I mean, you’re 80 percent overlap. Venn diagram would be pretty favorable. RYAN: Yes. Alan and Erskine, I really like the guys a lot. I’m friends with them. What I didn’t want to do was to go to the country and suggest that I’m fixing the problem like with Simpson-Bowles when I know it’s not. Because it ignored healthcare.” [Ryan interview with Erin Burnett, “Erin Burnett OutFront,” CNN, 3/20/12]
PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS A BALANCED PLAN TO BRING DOWN OUR DEFICITS AND STABILIZE THE DEBT THAT REFLECTS THE APPROACH OF THE SIMPSON BOWLES FISCAL COMMISSION
The New Jersey Star-Ledger PolitiFact: President Obama Has “Outlined Deficit Reduction Measures Similar To Those Proposed By The Commission.” “PolitiFact New Jersey investigated whether Obama failed to ‘stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson-Bowles Commission,’ and found that Christie is not entirely right. The president did not fully embrace the commission’s recommendations at the outset, but Obama later outlined deficit reduction measures similar to those proposed by the commission. Even the commission’s co-chairs -- former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles under President Bill Clinton, and former Republican U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson -- have said so. ‘We are encouraged that the President has embraced a balanced, comprehensive approach to deficit reduction similar to that outlined in the Fiscal Commission report,’ Bowles and Simpson said in an April 13 press release.” [New Jersey Star-Ledger, PolitiFact, 9/29/2011]
The President’s Budget, Which Incorporates Deficit Reduction Enacted In 2011, Would Cut The Deficit By More Than $4 Trillion Over The Next Decade. “That is why in this Budget, the President again has put forward a plan that will, together with the deficit reduction enacted last year, cut the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade. This would put our Nation on the right course toward a level of deficits of below 3 percent of GDP by the end of the decade.” [FY2013 Budget, White House Office Of Management And Budget, February 2012]
Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: President Obama’s Budget Would Stabilize The Debt Over The Coming Decade Through “A Balanced Combination Of Spending Cuts And Revenue Increases.”  “If Congress enacted the Obama budget in full and its economic assumptions proved correct, the debt would stabilize over the coming decade although, as the White House acknowledges, policymakers would have to subsequently enact significant further deficit reduction to keep the debt stable in future decades. The budget either achieves or approaches this key fiscal target for the coming decade with several trillion dollars in deficit reduction, through a balanced combination of spending cuts and revenue increases.” [Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, 2/16/12]

More fact checks.
Salon 
Guardian
USA Today
NPR
Associated Press
Business Insider
Time
New York mag
Think Progress
From FactCheck.org, the preeminent fact checker:


TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention contained several false claims and misleading statements. Delegates cheered as the vice presidential nominee:
  • Accused President Obama’s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.
  • Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.
  • Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.
  • Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.
  • Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.
And when he wasn’t attacking Obama, Ryan was puffing up the record of his running mate, Mitt Romney, on taxes and unemployment.
Note to Readers
Our deputy managing editor, Robert Farley, is on the scene in Tampa at the convention center. This story was written with the help of the entire staff, based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Next week, we will dispatch our managing editor, Lori Robertson, to Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic convention. We intend to vet the major speeches at both conventions for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.
Taking Money from Medicare?
Ryan continued the campaign’s false line of attack that Obama had “funneled” money out of Medicare to pay for the federal health care law “at the expense of the elderly.” But that’s contradicted by Medicare’s chief actuary, in a statement at the end of the most recent report of the system’s trustees (our emphasis added):
Medicare Actuary, April 23, 2012: [Obama's] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook …
Medicare’s money isn’t being taken away. The Affordable Care Act calls for slowing the growth in spending, a move that — if successful — would keep the hospital insurance trust fund solvent for longer than if the reductions didn’t happen.
Ryan himself proposed keeping most of these same spending cuts in his most recent “Path to Prosperity” budget. Yet, Ryan criticized Obama’s cuts as “the biggest, coldest power play of all” and suggested seniors would suffer as a result.
Ryan, Aug. 29And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … [T]hey just took it all away from Medicare, $716 billion funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.
The Affordable Care Act calls for a $716 billion reduction in the future growth of Medicare spending over 10 years, with most of that — about $415 billion — coming from a reduction in the future growth of payments to hospitals through Medicare Part A. And Medicare Part A’s trust fund, as we’ve explained before, is in trouble financially. It’s set to be insolvent in 2024, even with these spending cuts. Without them, the trust fund wouldn’t be able to fully pay projected benefits in 2016, the Medicare trustees estimate.
Deficit Commission
Ryan accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations from a bipartisan presidential commission to reduce the deficit. But Ryan himself was among a minority of commission members whose opposition scuttled the plan and prevented it from being sent automatically to Congress for action.
Ryan: He created a new bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanks them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing — nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s report proposed deep spending cuts in both domestic and military spending, and an overhaul of the tax code that would have lowered rates but raised revenues — all in an attempt to slow the growth of government by $4 trillion over 10 years.
Many Republicans, including Ryan, opposed the military cuts and new tax revenue, while many Democrats opposed changes to Social Security that included raising the full retirement age.
The 18-member commission needed a super majority of 14 votes in order to bring the report to a vote in Congress. But it received the support of just 11 members. Seven members, including Ryan, opposed it, thus blocking congressional action.
In a statement on the final report, Ryan said he “could not support the plan in its entirety,” but said some elements of it were “worthy of further pursuit.”
Ryan opposed the commission’s approach to paying for lower federal income tax rates by taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income (see footnote on page 29). In his own latest budget plan, Ryan proposed to keep the current capital gains tax rate, arguing that to do otherwise “could precipitate a flight of capital away from job-creating businesses.”
Like Ryan, Obama thanked the commission in a Dec. 3, 2010, statement that promised to “study closely” its proposals for possible inclusion in his own budget plans. Nine months later, Obama submitted a deficit reduction plan to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that was designed to reduce the deficit by $3.6 trillion over 10 years through a package of spending cuts and tax hikes.
Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, tried to work out a so-called “Grand Bargain” that would have reduced the deficit through a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts — and even changes to Social Security. The New York Times reported that the Grand Bargain would have raised the retirement age and changed the formula for calculating benefits. But, as the Timesreported, the deal fell through as members of Boehner’s caucus objected to raising taxes.
In short, both Ryan and Obama have proposed deficit-reduction plans — and each opposed the other’s plan. Much, much more.