"I'm so far to the right, my head is tilted that way."
Ryan’s Lie #1, Medicare:
Ryan said, “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 Truth: Barack Obama's budget plan calls for $716 billion in cuts to Medicare spending over the next 10 years, but in reimbursements to insurers and hospitals, not in payments to beneficiaries, which would be preserved. Ryan knows this because he has written these same cuts in to successive drafts of his famed budget.
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.
Politifact has weighed in on Ryan's Medicare claim and found it to be "mostly false."
Ryan’s Lie #2, Ryan's Hometown GM Plant:
Ryan said, “A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, 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 Truth: Obama wasn't even in office when the GM plant closed, and Obama never made a promise to save it. Obama visited the plant as a presidential candidate in February 2008. Four months later, GM announced the plant would drastically scale back production. The plant laid off most of its workforce in December 2008, before Obama took office. The "government support" Obama spoke of – his auto bailout plan, which took effect in early 2009 – did not arrive early enough to save the Janesville plant, but it is credited with saving the American auto industry.
The full audacity of this attack cannot be appreciated without noting that Ryan's would-be boss, Mitt Romney, published an op-ed in the New York Times in November 2008 under the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
Ryan’s Lie #3, Government Debt:
Ryan said, “[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 Truth: In early 2010, Obama created a bipartisan committee known as Bowles-Simpson to figure out how to balance the budget and hand its recommendations to the president. The final draft of the committee's report failed to win the necessary support of its members, however, falling three votes short. Paul Ryan was on the committee, a fact that he neglected to mention in his speech. In the straw poll on the final draft, he voted "no" – against the plan that he now accuses the president of ignoring.
Ryan’s Lie #4, Aid to the Poor:
Ryan said, “We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves … We can make the safety net safe again.”
The Truth: If Paul Ryan's budget is notable for anything, it's for cuts to Medicaid and other programs on which low-income households depend. As the Washington Post economics blogger Ezra Klein points out: "The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ran the numbers and said two-thirds of Ryan's cuts will end up falling on programs for the poor."
Ryan would cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. It would cut home mortgage deductions, veteran's benefits, farm subsidies, and other aid programs. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.
“Our problem with Representative Ryan is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching,” said Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, of Georgetown. “This is nonsense. As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor.”
The Catholic bishops noted that “the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria.” Ryan dismissed the bishops’ critique, erroneously claiming the letters didn’t represent “all the bishops,” a point the bishops’ media office denied. “I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father Reese. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”
Ryan’s Lie #5, Credit Rating Downgrade:
Ryan said the president was responsible for Standard and Poor's downgrading US credit from AAA to AA+ in August 2011. He said of Obama's first term: “It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.”
The Truth: The downgrade was the result of refusal of Republicans in Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling, despite pressure from the White House and most outside analysts. Ultimately the Republicans capitulated, but the damage was done; days after the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed, the rating was cut.
In its statement on the rationale behind the downgrade, Standard and Poor's blamed the political circus: "The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed."
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 & Poor's 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.