I’m a Democrat who thinks that President Obama deserves a second term. When he took office the nation was hemorrhaging jobs at the rate of 750,000 layoffs each month, while currently, including July, we’ve had 22 straight months of job gains. I’m proud that he wrestled control of the nation’s mean-spirited health insurance system, and that he bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, saving an estimated half-million jobs. Both have repaid the loans and returned to profitability.
But in spite of my bias, I love a good political tug-of-war, so I followed the Republican convention on TV, radio, on-line and in the papers. I thought Ann and Mitt Romney presented themselves well, but I was enormously disappointed when vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan laced his speech with untruths. After all, he’ll be a heartbeat from the presidency if Mr. Romney wins.
Rep. Ryan blamed Mr. Obama for a GM plant closing in his Wisconsin hometown, though the plant was shuttered while George W. Bush was president; and he said the U.S. credit rating was downgraded last year because of spending under Mr. Obama—though Standard & Poor’s said they downgraded the rating because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.
Rep. Ryan’s most brazen accusation, however, was that President Obama is taking $716 billion out of Medicare. In fact, that money is being saved by reducing Medicare reimbursement rates, and it’s going instead to Medicare recipients for out-of-pocket prescription and other costs. The other part of the truth is that it’s a change Rep. Ryan supports. He included it in his own budget proposal.
Incidentally, Rep. Ryan’s budget, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would raise taxes on 95% of Americans while giving wealthy folks big breaks. It would slash the VA budget by 20%, and reduce aid to low income Americans. What’s more, according to Fox News and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it will increase the deficit.
Let’s keep watching, listening and reading about what the candidates have to say, between now and November. It’s our job to keep these folks honest—or at least to recognize when they’re not.