Paul Ryan, Vice President of Truthiness

12 Oct

Every time I see a person writing about how last night’s vice presidential debate was a draw — or that, somehow, Paul Ryan won — I get angry.

Why? Part of it is that Paul Ryan looked like a little boy in a debate with a man. Part of it is that he couldn’t defend his points all that well. Part of it is that sometimes, he sounded utterly incoherent.

The big thing that bothers me, though, is that the fundamental exchange in our debates has changed. Even back in 2008, Obama and McCain each tried to explain why his policy was better than the other’s. While they had very different views of what America needed to do, they accepted (pretty much) the same set of facts. Both of them looked at what was actually happening, and came to their own conclusions about how to fix it. Sure, there was spin. Obama blamed the entire financial crisis on Bush. While that’s almost true, the ball really started rolling under Clinton’s watch when Glass-Steagal was repealed. McCain tried to (ridiculously, in my opinion, considering the obstructionism of the Republicans) shift blame to the Democrats, who had majorities in both houses of Congress from 2006-2008, saying that they should’ve done more. What we saw was mostly spin; outright falsehoods were rare.

That wasn’t the case this time around. The Romney tax plan is NOT economically feasible, and Joe Biden repeatedly pointed this out. Either it adds $4.8 trillion to our debt, OR Romney balances it by drastically cutting expenditures — and you know they won’t cut defense. The costs of a tax cut for the wealthy would have to be on the back of the poor and the middle class. Romney says that the tax cuts will spur so much growth that it will make up the cost of the cut. Even the most optimistic studies have shown this to be false; the degree of growth to which Romney and Ryan are banking on has never happened. It does not make economic sense, and as a self-proclaimed “numbers guy,” Ryan have more a more solid understanding of such basic economics. Biden repeatedly pointed out that it is NOT mathematically possible for the Romney-Ryan tax cut to NOT increase our debt without hurting the poor and the middle class; if the Romney-Ryan tax cut passes, at least one of these scenarios will happen. Ryan just kept saying that it was, indeed, possible. THAT IS BLATANTLY NOT TRUE.

This is just one example. Another example would be that Ryan and Romney repeatedly misrepresented their own healthcare plans. Romney spoke of keeping coverage for people with pre-existing conditions — but this is only true if they have insurance in the first place. If an uninsured person with a pre-existing condition tries to obtain insurance under the Romney-Ryan plan, insurance companies will still be able to legally deny him coverage.  Romney and Ryan have repeatedly said that the Affordable Care Act adds to our debt, even though the Congressional Budget Office determined that the Affordable Care Act actually will reduce our debt by $210 billion over the next ten years.

Ryan also tried to take advantage of America’s poor math scores, implying that the 7.8% unemployment rate was inaccurate because one city, Scranton, had a 10% unemployment rate. The 7.8% is an AVERAGE. This means some cities will have a higher rate; some will have a lower rate.  The average American woman is 5’4.”  The fact that I am 5’11” does not imply that the average is incorrect; rather, my height is statistically improbable, but not impossible.  We can have an average unemployment rate of 7.8%, and have 10% in Scranton.  There are places like Arlington, VA, for example, that make up for all of America’s Scrantons by having a 3.7% unemployment rate (as of June 2012).

In 2008, I was frustrated with McCain’s POSITIONS — not his FACTS. In 2012, I’m pissed off at BOTH from team Romney-Ryan. They are willing to choose their own facts, and then state that they’re true over and over again, hoping that the American public will believe them. It’s like they’re running for president and vice president of the Colbert Nation.

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