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At The Vice Presidential Debate: Ryan Told 24 Myths In 40 Minutes

By Igor Volsky

Paul Ryan spoke for 40 of the 90 minutes during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate and managed to tell at least 24 myths during that time:

1) “It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that [the Libya attack] was a terrorist attack.” Obama used the word “terrorism” to describe the killing of Americans the very next day at the Rose Garden. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said in a Rose Garden statement on September 12.

2) “The administration was blocking us every step of the way. Only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough [Iran] sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration.” Even the Israeli President has effusively praised President Obama’s leadership on getting American and international sanctions on Iran, which have significantly slowed Iran’s progress.

3) “Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” [T]he possibility of Medicare going bankrupt is — and historically has been — greatly exaggerated. In fact, if no changes are made, Medicare would still be able to meet 88 percent of its obligations in 2085. Social Security is fully funded for another two decades and could pay 75 percent of its benefits thereafter. There is also an easy way to ensure the program’s long-term solvency without large changes or cuts to benefits.

4) “The vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups.” Multiple reviews, including an independent review of all Department Of Energy loan programs by Herb Allison –- finance chair for McCain for President 2008 –- have found no “pork” in the stimulus’ funding of green projects, concluding that the loans were not steered to friends or family, as Ryan claims.

5) “Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?” As PolitiFact has pointed out, the money for electric cars in Finland did not come from the stimulus. Rather, it originated with the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which predated the Obama administration. The claim about “windmills in China” is also inaccurate.

6) “When they see us putting – when they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement.” The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, told CNN, “President Obama is doing … more than anything that I can remember in the past [in regard to our security].”

7) “You see, if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don’t change for people in or near retirement.” Here is how the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan will affect current seniors: 1) by repealing Obamacare, the 16 million seniors receiving preventive benefits without deductibles or co-pays and are saving $3.9 billion on prescription drugs will see a cost increase, 2) “premium support” will increase premiums for existing beneficiaries as private insurers lure healthier seniors out of the traditional Medicare program, 3) Romney/Ryan would also lower Medicaid spending significantly beginning next year, shifting federal spending to states and beneficiaries, and increasing costs for the 9 million Medicare recipients who are dependent on Medicaid.

8) “Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare.” Ryan is claiming that Obamacare siphons off $716 billion from Medicare, to the detriment of Medicare beneficiaries. In actuality, that money is saved primarily through reducing over-payments to insurance companies under Medicare Advantage, cutting waste fraud and abuse, and eliminating inefficiencies in the system. Ryan’s budget plan keeps those same cuts, but directs them toward tax cuts for the rich and deficit reduction.

9) “And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors.” The Board, or IPAB is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending, should Medicare costs exceed a target growth rate. Congress can accept the savings proposal or implement its own ideas through a super majority. The panel’s plan will modify payments to providers but it cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria” (Section 3403 of the ACA). Relying on health care experts rather than politicians to control health care costs has previously attracted bipartisan support and even Ryan himself proposed two IPAB-like structures in a 2009 health plan.

10) “7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That’s a $3,200 benefit cut.” Enrollment is actually projected to increase by 11 percent in Medicare Advantage (MA) in 2013. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, Medicare Advantage premiums have decreased an average of 10 percent and enrollment in these plans has increased 28 percent.

The President's Weekly Address

Romney the Myth Maker

From: Think Progress

At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes

By Igor Volsky

Pundits from both sides of the aisle have lauded Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance, praising his preparedness and ability to challenge President Obama’s policies and accomplishments. But Romney only accomplished this goal by repeatedly misleading viewers. He spoke for 38 minutes of the 90 minute debate and told at least 27 myths:

1) “[G]et us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs”. Romney’s plan for “energy independence” actually relies heavily on a study that assumes the U.S. continues with fuel efficiency standards set by the Obama administration. For instance, he uses Citigroup research based off the assumption that “‘the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that will lower its oil demand.” Since he promises to undo the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standards, he would cut oil consumption savings of 2 million barrels per day by 2025.

2) “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.” A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amounts to $5 trillion over the decade.

3) “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” If Romney hopes to provide tax relief to the middle class, then his $5 trillion tax cut would add to the deficit. There are not enough deductions in the tax code that primarily benefit rich people to make his math work.

4) “My — my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” As the Tax Policy Center concluded, Romney’s plan can’t both exempt middle class families from tax cuts and remain revenue neutral. “He’s promised all these things and he can’t do them all. In order for him to cover the cost of his tax cut without adding to the deficit, he’d have to find a way to raise taxes on middle income people or people making less than $200,000 a year,” the Center found.

5) “I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” The studies Romney cites actually further prove that Romney would, in fact, have to raise taxes on the middle class if he were to keep his promise not to lose revenue with his tax rate reduction.

“facts are stupid things.”

From: Common Dreams

Romney World’s: Freedom from Fact

Perhaps it was inevitable when you combine the Republican “do-anything-to-win” strategies, honed from the days of Richard Nixon, with the Right’s vast media machine, built over the past several decades, that America would have a campaign like the one waged by Mitt Romney and a GOP convention like the one just completed in Tampa.

In a speech to the 1988 Republican National Convention, President Ronald Reagan blundered in quoting John Adams’s famous remark that “facts are stubborn things,” except that it came out of Reagan’s mouth as “facts are stupid things.” Reagan’s mangled quote would have fit nicely at the GOP convention 24 years later.

Today’s Republicans appear to have decided that facts are also irrelevant things. While it’s true that all campaigns spin the truth somewhat and pounce on clumsy remarks from rivals, the Romney campaign has not only ventured outside the traditional boundaries but has set up a permanent settlement there.

The GOP convention had the feel of a cult meeting in which everyone agrees on the same false premises. Speaker after speaker reprised President Barack Obama’s out-of-context quote – “you didn’t build that” – accompanied by endless Republican signage and t-shirts. Everyone with a brain knew that Obama’s “that” wasn’t a reference to a person’s business but to the roads, bridges and infrastructure – indeed, the American system of public-private cooperation dating back to the Founding – that help businesses succeed.

But the speakers and the delegates had to act as if they believed the lie that has become a centerpiece of Mitt Romney’s campaign, that Obama meant that no businessman actually built a business. Similarly, everyone had to believe that Obama had eliminated the work requirements in welfare reform though they also had to know that his administration had simply responded to a bipartisan appeal from state governors to give them greater flexibility in implementing the work-requirement law.

Indeed, looking in at the Republican convention was like peering into a bizarre alternate reality where all the people accept lies as truth. Indeed, acceptance of the fabrications seemed something of a prerequisite to be in the cult. Indeed, anyone who would dare to point out the “you-didn’t-build-that” distortion or expose the lie about gutting welfare reform would have been identified as a heretic.

So, speaker after speaker repeated the lies and delegate upon delegate cheered the lies. There was almost a pride and defiance in the lying and the cheering, as if the Republicans were in a full-throated rebellion against what one of George W. Bush’s aide’s once derided as the “reality-based community.”

Zombie Eyed Granny Starvers

From: Common Dreams

Romney-Ryan: The Medicare Killers

Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan’s brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan — who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts — is still posing as a deficit hawk.

But Mr. Ryan’s big lie — and, yes, it deserves that designation — was his claim that “a Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare.” Actually, it would kill the program.

Before I get there, let me just mention that Mr. Ryan has now gone all-in on the party line that the president’s plan to trim Medicare expenses by around $700 billion over the next decade — savings achieved by paying less to insurance companies and hospitals, not by reducing benefits — is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet, just a few days ago, Mr. Ryan was still touting his own budget plan, which included those very same savings.

But back to the big lie. The Republican Party is now firmly committed to replacing Medicare with what we might call Vouchercare. The government would no longer pay your major medical bills; instead, it would give you a voucher that could be applied to the purchase of private insurance. And, if the voucher proved insufficient to buy decent coverage, hey, that would be your problem.

Moreover, the vouchers almost certainly would be inadequate; their value would be set by a formula taking no account of likely increases in health care costs.

Why would anyone think that this was a good idea? The G.O.P. platform says that it “will empower millions of seniors to control their personal health care decisions.” Indeed. Because those of us too young for Medicare just feel so personally empowered, you know, when dealing with insurance companies.

Still, wouldn’t private insurers reduce costs through the magic of the marketplace? No. All, and I mean all, the evidence says that public systems like Medicare and Medicaid, which have less bureaucracy than private insurers (if you can’t believe this, you’ve never had to deal with an insurance company) and greater bargaining power, are better than the private sector at controlling costs.

I know this flies in the face of free-market dogma, but it’s just a fact. You can see this fact in the history of Medicare Advantage, which is run through private insurers and has consistently had higher costs than traditional Medicare. You can see it from comparisons between Medicaid and private insurance: Medicaid costs much less. And you can see it in international comparisons: The United States has the most privatized health system in the advanced world and, by far, the highest health costs.

So Vouchercare would mean higher costs and lower benefits for seniors. Over time, the Republican plan wouldn’t just end Medicare as we know it, it would kill the thing Medicare is supposed to provide: universal access to essential care. Seniors who couldn’t afford to top up their vouchers with a lot of additional money would just be out of luck.

Still, the G.O.P. promises to maintain Medicare as we know it for those currently over 55. Should everyone born before 1957 feel safe? Again, no.

For one thing, repeal of Obamacare would cause older Americans to lose a number of significant benefits that the law provides, including the way it closes the “doughnut hole” in drug coverage and the way it protects early retirees.

Beyond that, the promise of unchanged benefits for Americans of a certain age just isn’t credible. Think about the political dynamics that would arise once someone born in 1956 still received full Medicare while someone born in 1959 couldn’t afford decent coverage. Do you really think that would be a stable situation? For sure, it would unleash political warfare between the cohorts — and the odds are high that older cohorts would soon find their alleged guarantees snatched away.

The question now is whether voters will understand what’s really going on (which depends to a large extent on whether the news media do their jobs). Mr. Ryan and his party are betting that they can bluster their way through this, pretending that they are the real defenders of Medicare even as they work to kill it. Will they get away with it?

Romney's White Board Lies

Straw Man

From the Washington Post

"A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent."

Go over to the Washington Post and read the whole article

"We're all in this together"

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