Paul Ryan spoke for 40 of the 90 minutes during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate and managed to tell at least 24 myths during that time:
1) “It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that [the Libya attack] was a terrorist attack.” Obama used the word “terrorism” to describe the killing of Americans the very next day at the Rose Garden. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said in a Rose Garden statement on September 12.
2) “The administration was blocking us every step of the way. Only because we had strong bipartisan support for these tough [Iran] sanctions were we able to overrule their objections and put them in spite of the administration.” Even the Israeli President has effusively praisedPresident Obama’s leadership on getting American and international sanctions on Iran, which have significantly slowed Iran’s progress.
3) “Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” [T]he possibility of Medicare going bankrupt is — and historically has been — greatly exaggerated. In fact, if no changes are made, Medicare would still be able to meet 88 percent of its obligations in 2085. Social Security is fully funded for another two decades and could pay 75 percent of its benefits thereafter. There is also an easy way to ensure the program’s long-term solvency without large changes or cuts to benefits.
4) “The vice president was in charge of overseeing this. $90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups.” Multiple reviews, including an independent review of all Department Of Energy loan programs by Herb Allison –- finance chair for McCain for President 2008 –- have found no “pork” in the stimulus’ funding of green projects, concluding that the loans were not steered to friends or family, as Ryan claims.
5) “Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China?” As PolitiFact has pointed out, the money for electric cars in Finland did not come from the stimulus. Rather, it originated with the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which predated the Obama administration. The claim about “windmills in China” is also inaccurate.
6) “When they see us putting – when they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement.” The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, told CNN, “President Obama is doing … more than anything that I can remember in the past [in regard to our security].”
7) “You see, if you reform these programs for my generation, people 54 and below, you can guarantee they don’t change for people in or near retirement.” Here is how the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan will affect current seniors: 1) by repealing Obamacare, the 16 million seniors receiving preventive benefits without deductibles or co-pays and are saving $3.9 billion on prescription drugs will see a cost increase, 2) “premium support” will increase premiums for existing beneficiaries as private insurers lure healthier seniors out of the traditional Medicare program, 3) Romney/Ryan would also lower Medicaid spending significantly beginning next year, shifting federal spending to states and beneficiaries, and increasing costs for the 9 million Medicare recipients who are dependent on Medicaid.
8) “Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to spend on Obamacare.” Ryan is claiming that Obamacare siphons off $716 billion from Medicare, to the detriment of Medicare beneficiaries. In actuality, that money is saved primarily through reducing over-payments to insurance companies under Medicare Advantage, cutting waste fraud and abuse, and eliminatinginefficiencies in the system. Ryan’s budget plan keeps those same cuts, but directs them toward tax cuts for the rich and deficit reduction.
9) “And then they put this new Obamacare board in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors.” The Board, or IPAB is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending, should Medicare costs exceed a target growth rate. Congress can accept the savings proposal or implement its own ideas through a super majority. The panel’s plan will modify payments to providers but it cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria” (Section 3403 of the ACA). Relying on health care experts rather than politicians to control health care costs has previously attracted bipartisan support and even Ryan himselfproposed two IPAB-like structures in a 2009 health plan.
10) “7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That’s a $3,200 benefit cut.” Enrollment is actually projected to increase by 11 percent in Medicare Advantage (MA) in 2013. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, Medicare Advantage premiums have decreased an average of 10 percent and enrollment in these plans has increased 28 percent.