As Paul Ryan said last night, the American people “deserve to hear the truth.”
Unfortunately, his speech while filled with fine rabble-rousing oratory, was characterized mainly by its blatant disregard for the truth.
1. G.M. plant closing in Janesville, WI
Rep. Ryan told a poignant story about the G.M. plant in Janesville, Wisconsin which Obama visited during the 2008 campaign and promised to keep the plant open for 100 years. Obama spoke on February 13, 2008 the day after GM announced a $38.7 billion adjusted net loss. In June 2008, GM announced it was closing the plan, and the plant was essentially such down in December 2008. Thus, “Ryan essentially was criticizing Obama for failing to save a plant that closed before Obama took office.”
Moreover, Obama didn’t promise to save this plant. He promised to save plants like that. And that is exactly what he did when he saved the American automobile industry in 2009.
Was this a careless error on Ryan’s part? No, this is a lie Ryan has told before and has been repeated debunked by the fact checkers.
In fact, Ryan should have known better from the beginning for he along with Wisconsin Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl wrote GM in June 2008 to protest GM’s decision to close the plant. The plant was in Ryan’s district and he was intimately involved in the effort to keep the plant open, so Ryan is well aware that this did not happen under Obama’s watch.
Details about four more lies follow the jump.
2nd Lie: President Obama is the “greatest threat” to Medicare.
Truth: Obama didn’t make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, “[Obama’s] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook.”
But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.
3rd Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.
Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission’s own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.
4th Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating.
Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poors said specifically, “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” That’s why our nation’s credit rating was downgraded.
5th Lie: Ryan wants to protect the “weak.”
Truth: Ryan’s biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He’d cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.