Paul Ryan’s Speech and the Facts

Posted: August 30, 2012 by ShortTimer in 2012 Campaign, Economics, Government, Leftists, Media, Politics
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First off, the full RNC speech here:

It’s a good speech, though I’d like to see Fast and Furious mentioned every other word, but that’s me.

While noting that the self-admitted biased NYT ran with an intentionally negative picture of Paul Ryan on their cover, I stumbled across a lot of “fact-check” folks saying Ryan’s speech was full of lies – which would be interesting if it were true.

From “Think Progress“:

1. “A downgraded America.” Ryan blamed the president for the nation’s credit downgrade in August 2011 after Republicans threatened to allow the government to default on its debt for the first time in history. But the ratings agency explicitly blamed “Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.”

Well, that’s interesting.  Let’s go to the source, another quote by Think Progress:

Among the reasons cited will be “Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.”

Hey, now that’s not the source, that’s ABC being reported by ThinkProgress.  Hell, I’m just a little guy in the blogosphere here and I don’t quote my own opinions to prove myself right – though it would be fun and easy.

Standard and Poors had this to say:

We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related 
fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an 
agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal 
consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the 
general government debt burden by the middle of the decade.

Kinda different, huh?  What that says, specifically, is that the issue is containing the growth in public spending or raising revenues.  The controversy over raising the debt ceiling is a symptom, not the problem.  The problem is raising the debt ceiling is spending more money that you don’t have, and using it on entitlements that are out of control.  Standard and Poors can see that the Obama administration has been kicking the can down the road.

Despite this year's wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be 
extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program 
that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on 
discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have 
dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, 
the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.

So the problem, again, is not “the Republicans”.  The problem is spending.  The only reason revenues are an issue is because more money is needed for spending.  The only reason more money is needed for spending is because of out-of-control entitlements.  On top of that, increasing taxes leads to people who stop generating revenue.  Raise taxes and people leave the country.  The Austrian explained that quite well.  Eastern states have seen it when millionaires abandon their states, or simply don’t move there.  But that’s a whole other economics debate.

Go back to their #1 point, “the ratings agency explicitly blamed” turns into “among the reasons cited” turns into the two large S&P quotes from above, both of which cite spending as the problem.  Revenues can alleviate the problem, and debt can kick the can down the road, but nothing solves the deficit crisis without addressing those issues.  After four years of the Obama administration, and 2 years of total Democrat control of Congress, Senate, and White House from 2008-2010, the debt and spending was astronomically absurd, and 2010-2012 years left Republicans trying to … wait for it… fix the mess they inherited.  “Think Progress”‘s complaint is clearly bogus in light of how the debt that Obama was supposed to take responsibility for (yes, Bush’s fault, and the CRA, and other things), and then Obama spent more money on top of it.  Obama made the financial crisis worse with his out of control spending.  Obama did nothing to fix it.  Ryan is right.

Next point from ThinkProgress:

2. “More debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.” Romney has made the almost identical claim, that Obama has amassed more debt “as almost all of the other presidents combined.” But their math doesn’t add up: when Obama took office, the national debt was $10.626 trillion. It has increased to slightly above $15 trillion.

Think Progress people must just be stupid.  That’s got to be it.  Obama caused $5 trillion in debt.

The current national debt is $15.982 trillion.  Or if you’d like it from another source, CBS news says $15.566 trillion.  Yes, to leftists at “Think Progress”, $566,000,000,000 is only “slightly”.

(CBS News) The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush’s last day in office, which coincided with President Obama’s first day.

It is more debt than any other president before him.  It’s twice as fast as Bush.  That’s the case, and that CBS story is from March 2012.  Since Obama spends about $1 trillion per year, he should be up another $500 billion.

Before Bush, in 2000, the debt was $5,674 billion.  Or $5.6 trillion.  So from George Washington until the end of Bill Clinton, it’s $5.6 trillion.  From Bush beginning to end, it’s $5.6 to $10.6 trillion, over 8 years.  From Obama 2008 to Obama 2012, it’s $10.6 to $15.56 or $15.9, depending on your source.  So around $5 trillion in 4 years.  Yeah, that claim fits, and the math adds up correctly.  The NY Times story from 2011 that Think Progress cites as an example of how they’re right doesn’t jive with the .gov figures.  The government figures for debt outpace the NYT story by about $3 trillion… as of 2010.  So the NYT and ThinkProgress are proving the saying that figures lie, liars figure.

Ryan is right.

They’ve got 4 more “biggest lies”, but since the first two have been shown to be bogus, I’m not expecting much.

Update: Part 2Part 3.

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