“Fact Checking” Paul Ryan’s Speech: The Winstons go to work

In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston was responsible for historical revisionism, editing the past to match the Party’s preferred official version.  You might say he was the Party’s fact checker.

That brings us to last night.

When a blue-eyed boy scout from Wisconsin showed up at the Republican Convention to accept the VP nomination, then calmly devastated liberals’ worldview while making a mockery of their progressive messiah (all with a smile on his face), the Democrat’s response was predictable: get their media Winstons to stamp Paul Ryan’s speech with a “Fact Check” disapproval.  Ed Morrissey at HotAir addressed the plant closure fallacy, and then there are Ryan’s doubleplusungood Medicare claims, as reported by Associated Press Fact Checkers:

RYAN: “And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”

THE FACTS: Ryan’s claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

In addition, Ryan’s own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program’s spending even more than the changes Obama made, shifting future retirees into a system in which they would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans. Critics charge that would expose the elderly to more out-of-pocket costs.

 Let’s look at all the ways why this is no “Fact Check”:

1. Their claim that Ryan “ignores the fact” is another way of saying he didn’t offer as much information as the Winstons wanted. That doesn’t have anything to do with the ‘facts’ as presented and is a subjective preference on their part.

2. The Winstons’ claim that retirees “would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans”… hmmm, how to put this… “ignores the fact” that the “fixed payment” is not some arbitrary amount, but is based on private insurers making bids for equivalent coverage, then the government guaranteeing seniors enough money for the second lowest bid, with the ability to choose the lowest bid and pocket the savings. 

3. Ryan’s market based approach would use price competition and give seniors choices while still guaranteeing their coverage, with the hope that this will drive down costs. It then takes the hoped for cuts and puts them toward reinforcing the Medicare trust fund. Obama wants to actually cut the money by eliminating the “doc fix”.

4. “…cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.” I pray that Basic Economics author Thomas Sowell never reads that sentence because he’ll surely have a conniption. How does cutting payments to a producer of services not equal worse services? Does this mean we can slash education budgets since it will not affect students directly, but rather reduce payments to teachers? The economic ignorance inherent in that statement makes it less true than anything Paul Ryan said on stage last night.

5. Any point involving “critics charge” is not a “Fact Check”. 

1 thought on ““Fact Checking” Paul Ryan’s Speech: The Winstons go to work

  1. 1. OK looks like logical consistency isn’t a big thing to you.
    2. Providing enough money for the second lowest bid doesn’t exactly get the best, or even necessarily decent, healthcare.
    3. Seniors who are vulnerable and are in relatively fragile health value time and staying on insurance over being off it for extended periods of time while searching for cheap healthcare. The free market pushes down costs, but only when people are searching for lower costs.
    4. The problem is that hospitals, health providers, etc. often overprovide, thus driving up healthcare costs. There is such a thing as too high quality.
    5. Big deal.
    6. Had you read 1984, you would have noticed that it is an indictment of capitalism disguised as socialism. Its indictment of government that does nothing for its citizens, not an indictment of a government that does too much for its citizens.


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