Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running on an extreme platform that fundamentally undermines the economic security of the middle class. But rather than telling voters the truth, Romney and Ryan are attempting to cover up their real positions with falsehoods and distortions.
In the first debate, Romney proved that he’d say anything to win—even if it isn’t true. He pretended some of his most radical positions don’t even exist—like his long-standing plan that pays for $5 trillion in tax cuts weighted towards the wealthy by hiking taxes on middle-class families with kids by more than $2,000. Romney even tried to claim that anti-choice legislation was not on his agenda—and got factchecked by his own campaign.
Now, it’s Paul Ryan’s turn—and he’s well-versed in making false claims that are easily debunked by fact-checkers. So will Ryan adopt the same dishonest strategy as his running mate? If the past is any guide, here are the four of Ryan’s favorite falsehoods that he might revive at the vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky:
The false line: No matter what the fact checkers say, Ryan cannot resist any opportunity to falsely claim that Obamacare cut benefits for seniors by $716 billion. That’s “flat out wrong.” Obamacare strengthens Medicare by cutting unnecessary payments to insurance companies and health care providers and uses those savings to expand prescription drug coverage for seniors and extend Medicare’s solvency by eight years. That’s why factcheckers have rated Romney and Ryan’s “repeatedly debunked” $716 billion-line as “highly misleading” and “mostly false.”
The real Romney-Ryan plan: Ryan’s distortion of Obamacare is more than dishonest, it’s deeply hypocritical: Ryan’s own budget included the identical policy. So why is he resorting to false attacks instead of explaining his plan? Because the Romney-Ryan plan would end Medicare’s guaranteed benefits for seniors and turn the program into a voucher system that could raise costs for seniors by more than $6,000 a year.
Reality: The AARP has endorsed Obamacare because it strengthens Medicare in crucial ways—including free preventive services for seniors, coverage for annual wellness visits, extended solvency, and expanded prescription coverage by closing the doughnut hole. By making Medicare more efficient, Obamacare is lowering seniors’ premiums and out of pocket costs by $5,000 by 2022.
$5 trillion tax plan
The false line: Romney and Ryan are trying to insist that their plan to cut taxes weighted towards the wealthy won’t cost $5 trillion. When asked to prove that their plan actually adds up, Ryan said, “It would take me too long to go through all of that.” But it doesn’t take long to explain the math behind the plan because it doesn’t add up. By cutting tax rates by 20% and taking steps like eliminating the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax, Romney is promising $5 trillion in tax cuts. Even if he eliminated every tax benefit for high-income taxpayers as he claims he’ll do, he’d still give high-income taxpayers a tax cut of $1 trillion that they have yet to explain how they’d cover. This is why factcheckers say Romney’s plan is “long on promises and short on details.”
The real Romney-Ryan plan: Romney and Ryan are refusing to offer details because they know the math says they’d have to raise taxes on the middle class if they want to pay for their tax plan. According to the Tax Policy Center, that would require forcing middle-class families with children to pay an average of more than $2,000 a year. So Romney has a choice: He can either increase middle class taxes or explode the deficit.
Reality: While Romney and Ryan would hike middle class taxes, President Obama has cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family over his first term and plans to eliminate tax breaks for companies that send jobs and profits overseas. He’s proposed asking millionaires and billionaires to pay the same tax rate they paid under President Clinton, and has a plan to responsibly reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion. Those are the kind of details that Romney and Ryan refuse to offer.
A plan to reduce the deficit
The false line: Rep. Ryan has accused President Obama of doing “exactly nothing” with the Simpson-Bowles Commission’s budget proposal. That’s false. The President has proposed a deficit reduction plan that reflects Simpson-Bowles’ balanced approach. In fact, what Ryan fails to mention is that he was a member of that bipartisan commission and voted against the proposal he is falsely and hypocritically attacking the President for ignoring. In fact, the plan won five Republican votes and only needed an additional three votes to be sent to Congress—one of those votes could have been Ryan’s. Instead, his opposition helped “seal its fate”. The AEI’s Norman Ornstein called this line of attack “utterly hypocritical.”
The real Romney-Ryan plan: Ryan is falsely pointing a finger at the President when the Romney-Ryan plan doesn’t even resemble what Simpsons-Bowles proposed. It doesn’t include a penny of new revenues, which Simpson-Bowles outlined as a necessary part of a balanced solution. Romney and Ryan also call for $2 trillion more in defense spending that the Pentagon has not asked for.
Reality: As factcheckers and analysts have noted, President Obama’s plan reflects the Simpson-Bowles commission’s balanced framework, with a combination of spending cuts and increased revenues from the wealthiest Americans. The President will enact more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction, including the $1 trillion in savings he’s already signed into law, through specific cuts and the increased revenue derived from asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. This plan protects key investments in the middle class while responsibly reducing the deficit.
The auto rescue
The false line: In his convention speech, Ryan blamed President Obama for letting an auto plant close in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. There’s only one problem: That plant closed in December of 2008, before the President even took office. That’s why factcheckers panned Ryan’s attack as “dishonest,” “wrong,” and “one of the biggest whoppers” he’s told.
The real Romney-Ryan plan: What Ryan doesn’t mention is that Romney would’ve let the entire auto industry “go bankrupt,” leaving Wisconsin’s auto workers out to dry.
Reality: The fact is that President Obama’s decision to rescue the American auto industry saved more than 1 million jobs in an industry that helps support more than 1 in 20 jobs in Wisconsin. Since GM and Chrysler retooled in June 2009, the economy has added more than 245,000 auto jobs.
Ryan has clearly been practicing these fact-free attacks. Make sure your friends and family have all the facts so they know what’s fact and what’s fiction before the first vice presidential debate.