Bad Deeds for 8-30-2012 (Republican Convention Edition)

The Lies in Paul Ryan’s Speech – 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 falsely puffing up the record of his running mate, Mitt Romney, on taxes and unemployment.

Lying Scott Walker Blames Obama Policies for GM Plant Closing That Occurred a Full Month Before Obama Took Office – At the Republican Convention, Governor Scott Walker blamed Obama policies for the closure of the GM plant in Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. However, the plant was closed in December 2008, a full month before Obama took office:

In June 2008, Ryan sent a letter along with his Wisconsin colleagues Senators Russ Feingold (D) and Herb Kohl (D) protesting the closure of General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. “We ask that you reconsider the decision to close the Janesville GM plant and request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss OM’s plans for the Janesville plant, including the possibility of retooling the plant for different production lines,” said the letter from the three lawmakers to GM CEO Rick Wagoner. As Talking Points Memo’s Benjy Sarlin notes, Ryan actually voted for a Bush-era effort to expand government loans to GM, a plan that failed to save the Janesville plant.

Christie’s Fact-Free Keynote – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie largely avoided factual claims in a Republican convention keynote address that was heavy on generalities, opinion and platitudes. The pugnacious former prosecutor exaggerated a bit, though, when he bragged about his accomplishments as governor, and he repeated the common but false claim that the president’s health care law interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.

Christie said he delivered “three balanced budgets with lower taxes.” Actually, he cut the state Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income residents and the popular property-tax rebate program for renters and homeowners. It’s a matter of interpretation whether those are tax hikes or spending reductions. A proposed 10 percent income tax cut hasn’t been enacted.

He said he took on public-sector unions to reform a pension system “headed to bankruptcy” and “saved retirees their pension.” But the state is not fully funding the revamped system, and the pension liabilities gap will begin to grow again.

Christie also repeated a false claim about the health care law interfering with doctor-patient relationships.

Christie: “Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world’s greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.”

As we just said in our first item on the convention, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t create a government-run system, like that of Britain or Canada, nor does it regulate the work of doctors. Republicans often call the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which would recommend ways to slow the growth of Medicare spending, “bureaucrats” that would ration care. But the IPAB, made up of health care professionals, economists and others, wouldn’t have the power to do that, according to the law.

More Republican Lies on Just the First Day of Their Convention – On the first day of the Republican convention — marked by a delegate vote making former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the party’s official nominee for president — we’re already hearing a lot of exaggerated, misleading or downright false claims that we’ve heard before.

The theme of the day centered on repeated misrepresentations of a quote from President Obama. From the various speakers we also heard:

  • A misleading statistic about women’s job losses that has grown so stale it is now wholly false.
  • More bogus claims about “raiding” Medicare and the doctor-patient relationship under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
  • A completely false claim that more than half of the younger generation is unemployed. (Actually, 86 percent who want work have it.)
  • More false claims that Obama blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline. Construction has already begun on the southern leg of the project, and the company says it expects approval for the Canada-to-U.S. leg early next year.

Republican Convention Attendee Threw Nuts At Black CNN Camerawoman, Said ‘This Is How We Feed Animals’ – Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention Tuesday after they threw nuts at an African-American CNN camera operator and said, “This is how we feed animals.” Multiple witnesses observed the exchange and RNC security and police immediately removed the two people from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Paul Ryan’s Plan for America is Not Credible, Says Financial Times Magazine – This is what David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan and a true conservative, wrote in The New York Times on August 13: “Mr Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices.” This is right, with one exception: Medicare. On that, Mr Ryan does offer a hard choice. But the maths are incredible.

The Ryan plan is the latest example of a consistent line of Republican fiscal policy since movement conservatism displaced traditional balanced-budget Republicanism some three decades ago. The priorities have been clear: first, tax cuts benefiting rich “wealth-creators”; second, cuts in spending, predominantly on the poor; and, last and least, reducing deficits.

Indeed, the “starve the beast” theory explicitly aims at cutting taxes, in order to increase deficits and so justify cuts in spending. From this point of view, the financial crisis has been a boon. The crisis, which occurred on George W. Bush’s watch, is far and away the most important explanation for today’s huge deficits. But it came after unfunded tax cuts, unfunded wars and the unfunded prescription drug benefit (Medicare D). The fiscal mess the Republicans bequeathed made it difficult – indeed, given Republican opposition, impossible – for the Obama administration to implement a stimulus plan on the scale needed, as Bruce Bartlett, a former official in the Reagan administration, notes in a blog post for Economix. Not that Republicans have anything against stimulus, provided it takes the form of unfunded tax cuts.

In all, the idea that Republicans care about the deficit does not pass the laugh test.

As Heidi Przybyla notes in a report for Bloomberg, Mr Ryan was pivotal in killing the Bowles-Simpson agreement, which, for all its faults, was (and is) the only politically realistic long-term fiscal solution. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office’s meticulous analysis of the initial Ryan plan demonstrated that it is smoke and mirrors.

Romney Wants Tax Cuts For the Rich Paid By Higher Middle-Class Taxes – Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor showed he had no aversion to raising taxes or fees, according to a report by John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign—including raising the state fee assessed to families before cremating the dead, which the state’s media called creepy. So it is not surprising that independent analyses find Romney’s 2012 tax proposals would hit other vulnerable people.

The proposals, in an analysis cited by the Washington Post and others, would cut taxes for the wealthiest 5 percent but raise taxes on everyone else. Extreme Liberal’s blog posted a graphic that shows exactly how it would work, saying, “You may notice that everyone pays more in taxes right up until you get to the top 5 percent of the population. According to the analysis, those who make $3 million dollars a year would get a TAX CUT of $250,000.”





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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