Thursday, August 30, 2012

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.
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 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]
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.
USA Today
Associated Press
Business Insider
New York mag
Think Progress
From, 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.