Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2012

FACT CHECK: Ryan takes factual shortcuts in speech

August 30, 2012


— Laying out the first plans for his party's presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama's policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit.

Sen. Rob Portman, a former U.S. trade representative, glossed over his own problems when critiquing Obama's trade dealings with China. A day earlier, the convention's keynote speaker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, bucked reality in promising that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will lay out for the American people the painful budget cuts it will take to wrestle the government's debt and deficit woes under control.

And former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum stretched the truth in taking Obama to task over his administration supposedly waiving work requirements in the nation's landmark welfare-to-work law.

A closer look at some of the words spoken at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.:

RYAN: "And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. ... So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

THE FACTS: Ryan's claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

In addition, Ryan's own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program's spending even more than the changes Obama made, shifting future retirees into a system in which they would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans. Critics charge that would expose the elderly to more out-of-pocket costs.

RYAN: "The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal."

THE FACTS: Ryan himself asked for stimulus funds shortly after Congress approved the $800 billion plan, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Ryan's pleas to federal agencies included letters to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis seeking stimulus grant money for two Wisconsin energy conservation companies.

One of them, the nonprofit Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., received $20.3 million from the Energy Department to help homes and businesses improve energy efficiency, according to federal records. That company, he said in his letter, would build "sustainable demand for green jobs." Another eventual recipient, the Energy Center of Wisconsin, received about $365,000.

RYAN: Said Obama misled people in Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wis., by making them think a General Motors plant there threatened with closure could be saved. "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.' That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year."

THE FACTS: The plant halted production in December 2008, weeks before Obama took office and well before he enacted a more robust auto industry bailout that rescued GM and Chrysler and allowed the majority of their plants — though not the Janesville facility — to stay in operation. Ryan himself voted for an auto bailout under President George W. Bush that was designed to help GM, but he was a vocal critic of the one pushed through by Obama that has been widely credited with revitalizing both GM and Chrysler.

RYAN: Obama "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."

THE FACTS: It's true that Obama hasn't heeded his commission's recommendations, but Ryan's not the best one to complain. He was a member of the commission and voted against its final report.

CHRISTIE: "Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the torrent of debt that is compromising our future and burying our economy. ... Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth. Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth."

THE FACTS: Romney has made a core promise to cut $500 billion per year from the federal budget by 2016 to bring spending below 20 percent of the U.S. economy, and to balance it entirely by 2020.

His campaign manifesto, however, is almost completely devoid of the "hard truths" Christie promises. In fact, Romney is promising to reverse $716 billion in Medicare savings achieved by Obama over the coming decade and promises big increases in military spending as well, along with extending tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthiest.

The few specifics Romney offers include repealing Obama's health care law, cutting federal payrolls, weaning Amtrak from subsidies, cutting foreign aid and curbing the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.

But it'll take a lot more than those steps for Romney to keep his vague promises, which are unrealistic if he's unwilling to touch Medicare and Social Security in the coming decade. Even the controversial budget plan of his vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., largely endorsed by Romney, leaves Medicare virtually untouched over the next 10 years.

What's left for Romney to cut is benefit programs other than Medicare and Social Security, which include food stamps, welfare, farm subsidies and retirement benefits for federal workers. The remaining pot of money includes the day-to-day budgets of domestic agencies, which have already borne cuts under last year's budget deal. There's also widespread congressional aversion to cutting most of what remains on the chopping block, which includes health research, NASA, transportation, air traffic control, homeland security, education, food inspection, housing and heating subsidies for the poor, food aid for pregnant women, the FBI, grants to local governments, national parks and veterans' health care.

PORTMAN: "Take trade with China. China manipulates its currency, giving it an unfair trade advantage. So why doesn't the president do something about it? I'll tell you one reason. President Obama could not run up his record trillion-dollar deficits if the Chinese didn't buy our bonds to finance them. Folks, we are as beholden to China for bonds as we are to the Middle East for oil. This will end under Mitt Romney."

THE FACTS: Portman is an expert on commerce, having served as President George W. Bush's trade representative from May 2005 to May 2006. But he didn't fare particularly well in stemming China's trade advantage, either.

Under Portman's watch, the U.S. trade deficit with China soared by 25 percent in 2005, and the next year it climbed more than 15 percent. By contrast, the deficit rose 10 percent over the first three years of Obama's presidency, according to U.S. government figures.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have launched unfair trade cases against China at the World Trade Organization, but neither has been able to rebalance the relationship.

SANTORUM: "This summer (Obama) showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare. Now, I helped write the welfare reform bill. We made a lot crystal clear. No president can waive the work requirement, but as with his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, President Obama rules like he is above the law."

THE FACTS: The administration did not waive the work requirement. Instead, it invited governors to apply on behalf of their states for waivers of administrative requirements in the 1996 law. Some states have complained those rules tie up caseworkers who could be helping clients directly.

In a July 18 letter to congressional leaders, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that to be eligible for a waiver, governors must commit that their plans will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work. Moreover, states must show clear progress toward the goal within a year, or lose the waiver.

"We will not accept any changes that undercut employment-focused welfare reforms that were signed into law fifteen years ago," Sebelius wrote.

Ron Haskins, a former senior Republican House aide who helped write the welfare-to-work law, has said "there is merit" to the administration's proposal and "I don't see how you can get to the conclusion that the waiver provision undermines welfare reform and it eliminates the work requirement."

Haskins, now co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families, says the administration was wrong to roll out its proposal without first getting Republicans to sign off on it. But he said the idea itself is one both parties should be able to agree on, were it not for the bitter political divisions that rule Washington.

Associated Press writers Tom Raum, Andrew Taylor, Henry C. Jackson and Bradley Klapper contributed to this report.


tange 1 year, 7 months ago

'Feasibility' dictates that I continue to regard Ryan as the weasel he clearly is.


Carol Bowen 1 year, 7 months ago


Part A -Catastrophic health insurance including hospitalization. -% of Employee and matching employer contributions go into a Medicare trust fund. (Don't laugh.) Stable for now. -Easy fixes include removing the ceiling on taxable income and not paying out over a certain income levels.

Part B (Must have Part A.) -Coverage for doctor visits, labs, diagnostics, etc. -% of contribution goes into Congress' general fund. (Uh oh.) -Same easy fixes as above. Also, create another trust fund. At least there would be an accounting trail.

Part C -Parts A and C combined. Voucher system. Insured chooses own PPO or HMO plan. -Part A is in a trust fund. Part C is in the general fund. Messy accounting. -Same easy fixes.

Part D Prescription drugs. I'm not sure how this one works. I do know that no insurance plan covers all medications, so if you need a seriously expensive med, your stuck with the insurance company that covers it.

Comment: We already have options. Part C is a voucher system, and it is only one of the choices. What's the big deal?

Comment: When Part D was moving through Congress, the price of pharmaceutical stocks dramatically increased three times. The last stock price increase was after the president signed the legislation.


Carol Bowen 1 year, 7 months ago

Both Obama and Ryan have feasible strategies. It's up to us to understand the choice . . . without help from the candidates.

Obama: Medicare savings created by reducing payments for services. Saving are used to pay for other parts of the Affordable Care Act. Note that the reduced payments can be paid on some averaging mechanism so that payments are in lump sums. This would allow hospitals and clinics to budget the money (Mayo Clinic model). This would eliminate fee for every service.

Ryan: Voucher system would shift some of the burden back on Medicare patients. By allowing insurance premiums to be market-based, hospitals would not be shortchanged. Medicare savings would be used to pay down the federal deficit. Savings used this way would unfund other parts of the Affordable Care Act.


tange 1 year, 7 months ago

In a more enlightened age, Ryan would have found himself standing alone amidst his lot of freshly polished used cars.


Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

Did anyone catch CNN having to retract their fact check BS. Ooops. Even the liberal media can't help bail Barry out. S.S. Obama is sinking faster then his ratings


Stuart Sweeney 1 year, 7 months ago

We are fighting for America here, you know-- truth?, justice (every man vote counts), and the American (our) way!!!


beatrice 1 year, 7 months ago

I have to hand it to Clint Eastwood's empty chair. At least it didn't lie.


WristTwister 1 year, 7 months ago

Will the Liberal press fact check the Democrats as well? Past practice suggests that the Democrats will get a pass as usual.


George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

Just for the record, we have been throwing the weak and politically poorly connected under the bus since the country was founded. Anybody remember the NewBurgh Conspiracy?

As to this issue on medicare Ryan did not lie and Obama did not lie. Both are throwing Grandma under the bus by ultimately restricting the provider pool.

We spend $7K per head per year on meical care. Just how much of that is inefficiency and how much is superior service from that available elsewhere? In order to provide service to the 10 to 20% that do not have it and want it, how much should we reduce that available to all others.

To add people and reduce costs just can not be free. We must give up service or charge somebody something.

This whole thread is replete with accusations of lying by Republicans while IMHO most of what is posted here is basically a lie. We will have more for less because some boggy man is in the way.



jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

One of the most disturbing bits I heard on the radio is the criticism of Obama for not acting on the debt commission's recommendations.

Apparently, Ryan was on that commission, and voted against it having to go to Congress for an up or down vote - if he had voted for it, it would have gone to Congress and they would have had to vote on it.

Should Obama have done something more about the recommendations? Perhaps, although I'm not sure exactly what he could have done, but if Ryan was so in favor of that commission's recommendations, he absolutely could and should have voted for them to go to Congress for a vote.

It would be really unpleasant if he voted against it, specifically in order to stymie them, and then used that to score political points against Obama, when he had the power to forward them to Congress.


Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

My favorite part of Paul Ryan's speech was when he talked about his upbringing.

Hearing how he was carved out of a piece of pinewood by an old Italian man named Geppetto brought tears to my eyes.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 7 months ago

Complex "Fact Check" will give Flex a 'sweet' victory this November. Flex is 'impervious' to "Fact Check". He can 'fold' his arms with with 'nose' high in the air 'pshawing' "Fact Check".

Ryan is bantam. Bush league. A little lump of a "cheese head" that is curd 'over cooked'.

New America 'never' had it so good with Flex.


beatrice 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps he was trying to be like Republican Senator Jon Kyl, and Paul Ryan's words "were not intended to be a factual statement."

The "factual shortcuts" in this speech means he is either lying or really, really ignorant. He is touted as being so darn intelligent, so he can't possibly be ignorant. That must mean one thing -- Paul Ryan doesn't deal in factual statements.


beatrice 1 year, 7 months ago

Congressman Ryan, it appears that your slacks are ablaze.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. — Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891) ==== This applies to them all. Beware of facts or numbers from either side.


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Factual shortcut = The new euphemism for lies.


autie 1 year, 7 months ago

A lie is a lie no matter what you call it. I just don't understand how somebody stands up on national tv and lies to America like that....all your double talk doesn't change that one bit.

Best line I've heard all day...I'll take Obamacare over Romneydon'tcare anyday.


somedude20 1 year, 7 months ago

"justfornow 3 hours, 27 minutes ago If the black dude in the White house...."

Yep, there it is, the Black dude in the White House, that is the problem. These racists have blocked many of the bills that would have made for an easier recovery and would have helped America get out of the hole we found ourselves in but no, nope, nope,nope, they want to get rid of the "black dude" anyway they can, even by ruining the country. As a chap who still has love for his country (even enlisted to defend her), you cats sicken me with your actions and words.


Shane Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

I got a research call last night. It was intended to find out if my mind could be changed about two particular Kansas candidates by reading off to me certain political statements. What I found interesting is that the person calling prefaced her political statements with the phrase, "If it were true."


CWGOKU 1 year, 7 months ago

Practice what you preach, bozo. "Yes, politicians as a class do this too often, but it's getting worse, and Republicans are leading the charge. So much so that they prefer to lie even when the truth would serve them better." bozo So what is the difference between your comment and Snaps? I know, you vote different pary llines, so that makes him wrong and you right. Hypocrite All politics suck


Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

The AP is standing up for their chosen ruler. What's new about that?


George Lippencott 1 year, 7 months ago

From Above: RYAN: "And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. ... So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama."

THE FACTS: Ryan's claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

COMMENT: So they are not facts because he might do it too?? Where did that logic come from?? How much more of it is here. This article is bogus and never should have been published as if it is an independent “fact check”


oldbaldguy 1 year, 7 months ago

my wife said last night after hearing Ryan, "vote them all out." How do we do that?


Trumbull 1 year, 7 months ago

One of the speakers last night said that Obama was more interested in issuing Food Stamps. Is this really true?

R's really like to rally around those two words Food Stamps almost as much as Freedom and God.

Remember, Food Stamps are the problem.


jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

I love the new euphemisms for "lying" that the press comes up with.

Why can't they just say "They lied"?


jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

FACT CHECK: Politicians play fast and loose with the truth.

Wow, didn't see that one coming.


dncinnanc 1 year, 7 months ago

It's too bad most people will only spew the soundbites they heard on TV, rather than actually read the fact-checks to see what's real and what's baloney.


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