When FOX Noise calls a Republican a liar, he’s really a liar

Unless the writer of this article has large breasts and blonde hair, I don’t see a bright future for her at FOX Noise:

[T]o anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, [Paul] Ryan’s [convention] speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.

Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.

Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn’t what the president said. Period.

Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

Oh, pesky facts.

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11 Responses

  1. “Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates…”

    I don’t get it. “Savings” isn’t projected future spending that is taken out?

  2. Ryan was trying to portray the President as ripping funding from Medicare.

  3. The Obama and Ryan health/budget plans both proposed saving $716 billion, or defending the taxpayers’ $716 billion, or shortchanging doctors and nurses by $716 billion, or cruelly withholding $716 billion, or being stingy with $716 billion, or prudently managing by elsewhere spending $716 billion, by taking that funding from Medicare, or ripping that funding from Medicare, or suppurating it from Medicare, or tickling it from Medicare, or fucking it from Medicare, or excreting it from Medicare, or sneezing it from Medicare, or sdjfhkgdfling it from Medicare; pick some verbs to match your partisan precommitments or invent your own; what you call it doesn’t change the economic or social effects.

    Obama’s plan passed, Ryan’s didn’t.

    Word games aside, how is it untrue?

  4. Oh, I get it. It’s like how when I buy a new shirt for $9.99 instead of $14.99. If I just didn’t buy a shirt at all, it would be the exact same thing.

    Got it.

  5. a) The passed laws in question reduced Medicare spending without reducing it to zero.
    b) The analogy relates to the laws in that just as less than the full price and more than zero was spent on the shirt, the laws caused less than full price and more than zero to be spent on Medicare.
    c) Ryan, in his speech, implied the laws reduced the amount spent on Medicare to zero.
    d) The author quoted above accused Ryan of c) when she said, “Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates.”

    These points are my best attempt at reconstructing your beliefs and argument. But there is still probably miscommunication somewhere, as I think both c) and d) are false.

    Ryan said:

    “You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.”

    The most natural reading of the sentence with “all” is that “all of the money that they needed, they took from Medicare,” not “all of Medicare was taken when they needed some money.”

    It also does not seem like the author you originally quoted is addressing this point. She is talking about characterizing the sum in question as “taken out of Medicare” or as “savings,” and I do not see the connection between either characterization and the sum remaining in Medicare to be spent on Medicare.

  6. Your redundant verbosity hasn’t actually added anything.

  7. In apparent disagreements, I try to understand what the other side is saying. My previous comment was an attempt to do that by outlining some prospective opinions and asking you which you hold. If you have thoughts about the article you quoted, they weren’t communicated very well.

    So far, nothing I’ve read has given me any good reasons to think this particular claim in Ryan’s speech was false.

    If I ever write an article similar to the one quoted in the OP, I’ll consider slipping in a false accusation amid the many true ones. Reactions to it would be a useful way to distinguish people reacting to the content of the article from those reacting to the person or party criticized by the article.

  8. I’ve already put forth my position. Ryan was attempting to portray the President as slashing Medicare and the coverage people receive.

  9. As far as I understand it, the money was primarily taken out of what is to be paid to hospitals and doctors treating patients on Medicare. As a thought experiment, consider what would happen in the following cases:

    a) Such payments were not altered.
    b) Such payments were lowered, as in the Obama and Ryan budgets.
    c) Such payments were lowered twice as much as proposed in the Obama and Ryan budgets.
    d) Such payments were reduced to zero.
    e) Such payments were increased instead of cut, increased by the amount they were cut in the bill that passed.
    f) Such payments were increased by a factor of ten.

    In each of these cases the ease or difficulty patients would have getting doctors to see them would be different. This is despite the list of conditions covered and similar things being unchanged. The costs and treatment quality for non-Medicare patients using the same hospitals would probably also be different in some ways.

    It’s reasonable to think that taking this money out of the program will lower the quality of care some people actually get.

    Apparently both Obama and Ryan thought that this was among the most inefficient Federal spending, as they both proposed cutting it.

    If the Democrats’ argument that defunding by that amount would not have an effect were true, i.e. that the money in question was useless waste, it would actually prove far too much and make me less likely to support them. It would imply extreme incompetence in the government’s ability to plan and implement a federal health care plan.

    Obama’s [verb]ing of Medicare reminds me of an analogous issue: the frequent claim that Republicans want to make abortion illegal, and that their legislation proposes to do so. All of that is true…though their laws tend to not criminalize the woman getting an abortion, and the people behind the pro-life movement generally oppose criminal and often even civil penalties for the woman, reserving such things for the doctor. I’m perfectly fine with people just saying that the laws would make abortion illegal, which is true, though it leaves open the question of penalties and enforcement. If I am arguing against such laws, it’s not my responsibility to sacrifice my limited time to explicitly say that, for an anti-abortion law, it’s minimally patronizing, brutal, and draconian.

    I have seen and heard many dozens or perhaps hundreds of people talking like this about anti-abortion laws, and I don’t consider them liars.

  10. Still? Ryan implied that the President was taking $716b out of Medicare as if it would cut benefits. He cut out subsidies to providers and health insurance companies who were acting as needless middle men. He did the same thing to student loan companies that were mooching off the government.

  11. Among other things, health plans have a benefits package of things covered and they also set payments to doctors, nurses, and others who provide service.

    If only the first is at all relevant, why not save even more money by cutting payments to providers again? Or, alternatively, how can it be that the payments that were not cut effect access to care, access that would be worse if they were cut, and the cut in payments beyond that did not impair access and access would not increase if the payments were reinstated? That’s the thought experiment above.

    Why would a listener assume that the number of benefits covered shrank, instead of, say, that payments to caretakers decreased and caretakers would do their best to spend their time treating private patients instead? It seems to me that you are projecting an arbitrary belief onto people, and then blaming the speaker for implying it, despite the fact that he never specified anything wrong. If I am told someone is a baseball player, I don’t call the speaker a liar or misleading if I find out the player doesn’t play for the Yankees.

    Things like “Medicaid and Medicare payments to
    hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients, known as
    disproportionate share hospitals (DSH)” were incentives (this items is 5% of the $716 billion). It’s reasonable to expect reducing these incentives will reduce access to care, and it would be equivocation to equate quality of care with the list of guaranteed benefits, as if the hospitals would necessarily behave the same regardless of these payments.

    As for Medicare Advantage, your position implies either an Ayn Randian faith in free markets or the mass delusion of seniors enrolled in them. Individuals paid extra to be in these plans.

    Here’s the equation:

    $(One MA plan) = $(cost of traditional Medicare, given by government for covering a Medicare patient) + $(even more money from the government) + $(individual’s payment)

    If the second term, the extra that was cut, had been taken as pure profit, why didn’t individuals keep their own money (the third term) and stick with Medicare?

    More reasonable is the explanation that part of the second term was used on care. That would explain how so many seniors perceive a large increase in care quality relative to the size of their individual payment. Such people will have reduced Medicare-driven coverage after the recent cut, and they actually may have reduced benefits, since their plans give extra benefits.

    None of that means the cuts were the wrong thing to do, or that the old system had been an efficient way to deliver health care. It does mean that the money wasn’t being simply wasted, and patients were benefiting from the spending.

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