August 23, 2012 Leave a Comment
The Big Lies continue from the Republican Party.
In a Wall Street Journal commentary ironically titled “The Truth about Ryan and His Critics,” Rep. Tom Coburn lays out what should be a stunning series of lies and half-truths. They would be stunning, if such lies from GOP officials weren’t so routine these days.
“First, Paul Ryan didn’t force President Obama to abandon the budget recommendations of his own 2010 deficit commission, known as Bowles-Simpson,” Coburn wrote.
Well, no. But Ryan himself rejected the recommendations of the deficit commission, of which he was a member.
“Second, even though I served on the president’s debt commission and supported its recommendations, I recognize that we already have a debt commission. It’s called Congress. No one in Congress has done more to offer specific solutions to our fiscal challenges than Paul Ryan. He also has demonstrated the rarest and most important trait in politics—moral courage.”
Ryan’s budget wouldn’t achieve balance until 2040. He would add trillions upon trillions to the debt. Yes, he would cut spending, drastically, but not a penny of that would go to debt reduction. It all goes to pay for even more tax cuts for the wealthy, even while middle class taxpayers get hit with a tax increase. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’d believe Fox News:
A June study from the Joint Economic Committee — which is chaired by a Democrat — claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan’s plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.
According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney’s tax plan would also include cuts that “predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers.”
It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.
Coburn goes on to write, “At any point in the past four years, President Obama could have called Republicans John Boehner, now House speaker, and Rep. Ryan, now House Budget Committee chairman, over to the White House and cut a budget deal.”
Ahem. Obama offered Boehner a budget deal, one so conservative that New York Times columnist David Brooks called it “the deal of the century.” More than two thirds of the debt reduction the deal achieved would have come from spending cuts, almost a mirror image of the three debt-reduction agreements signed by President Reagan. Boehner wanted to accept the deal, but radicals in his caucus – like Paul Ryan – rejected it. They would accept nothing that contained any tax increase whatsoever.
Coburn’s defense of Ryan’s Medicare plan is no less dishonest. To excuse Ryan’s radical plan, which would do nothing to lower health care costs but shift the burden more fully onto the shoulders of seniors, Coburn wrote: “Medicare Part A—the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund—could run out of money within five years. The massive amount of borrowing necessary to keep the safety net intact will trigger a debt crisis (higher interest rates, inflation, lower standards of living and higher unemployment) sooner rather than later.”
Actually, no. Thanks to changes in the Affordable Health Care Act, which Coburn derides as “fiscally flawed,” the Medicare Trust Fund is solvent through 2024. Only if Romney/Ryan get their way and undo the savings of Obamacare will Medicare be at risk of insolvency as soon as Cockburn warns.
That aside, if the problem is so urgent, then why does Ryan insist that the system won’t change for current retirees or anyone over 55. That means that any changes Ryan proposes won’t have any impact for at least a decade, which according to Coburn himself is too late – yet he complains about “the left’s election-year war on math.”
Paul Ryan’s budget isn’t a serious document. Anyone who claims it is, or claims that no one has “has done more to offer specific solutions to our fiscal challenges than Paul Ryan” is either misinformed or lying.