Recently, a FOX News article made some claims that at the outset seemed potentially damaging to Veep candidate Ryan, but after brief analysis, turned out to be quite specious. This is a very good example of a particularly popular type of fallacious argumentation: “argument of half truth.” In the following paragraphs, I am going to move through each claim made by the article one by one, and with outside evidence and basic reasoning, show the falsity of these claims. But first, I will provide a link to the original article, so that you can know what I am talking about.
1. In regards to the credit downgrade; although the article claims that it was Republican obfuscation in regards to raising the debt ceiling that triggered the credit downgrade, it was actually the raising of the ceiling itself coupled with a lack of sufficient spending cuts that caused the S&P to take us from AAA down to a lower rating. An article that speaks to this can be found in the Washington Times (as well as other sources, if you can Google). It has been well noted that S&P and Moody’s Investor service and Fitch had warned the US that the credit rating would be downgraded if massive spending cuts were not initiated. The Republican congress attempted to get sufficient cuts made, but they were not enough. Following that, the debt ceiling was raised, and the credit rating lowered. There is a Fox article that attests to this. I have both links below.
2. In regards to what Ryan said about the POTUS’ comment about businesses not belonging to the government. He was saying that Obama’s implicit point is that Government can take credit for business.
Here’s a YouTube link to a speech by Ryan recently that may clarify:
In addition, here is what Obama said in full, which I think is just as bad as the small portion taken and used “out of context.” It is a slam on small business owners. And I think it’s revealing in terms of Obama’s social ideology:
“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” – Barack Obama
3. In regards to the Medicare item, what is being done is financial double counting. This is a video of a meeting between Ryan and Obama where Ryan explains in detail (6min) why Obamacare is a financial boondoggle.
In regards to the Medicare solvency lie that the article claims was made by Ryan, here is an article that responds to that, as well as other charges in detail. The Fox article was parsing facts when it said that Ryan was lying about this.
4. The link I just posted also takes on the topic of the Janesville plant closure. It actually closed in April of 2009, 3 months after Obama took office. In addition, Ryan did not say that it was Obama’s fault that it closed, but merely that Obama made a speech in which he said the plant would remain open if his policies were enacted. It closed several months later. In addition, the article mentions that Romney did not support the auto industry bailout, because he wanted them to go through a structured bankruptcy. This is a common business practice that usually results in a better, leaner, stronger company. They try to use this fact to diminish Ryan’s point against Obama. But that is false. One thing does not affect the other. Ryan was simply showing that Obama broke promises and that his policies have ultimately failed.
5. In regards to Ryan’s so called “extreme” position on abortion, here’s the full quote:
“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that—the position that—the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life. But let’s remember; I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the President makes policy. And the President—in this case—the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”
His views on abortion and his values on life are actually pretty well received by a large portion of the country. The link provided in the article to Gallup is a bit misleading. The FOX article simply links you to a Gallup poll, hoping, I assume, that you will take the link at face value. But if you look at the polling data, you will find that Paul Ryan’s views are far from “extreme”, and are actually fairly mainstream. Take a look at all the polling data from that link.
6. Finally, the article falsely claims that the Ryan budget will “raise taxes on “95% of Americans in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.” I have read the Paul Ryan budget in full (99 pages) and what they are saying about the tax increases on the middle class are simply false. This is a common claim, especially this election cycle, because the democrats are trying to sow seeds of discontent among the lower and middle class, so that they resent the upper class. Simple class warfare. What they do not tell you, however, is that even if we increased taxes heavily on the top wage earners in the country, it would not make a dent in our annual deficit. In fact, the top 2% already pay 50% of all income taxes, and half of the country pays no taxes at all. The following is a quote from Investors Business Daily:
“If you still think raising taxes on the rich is fair, you might want to consider a few things. First, raising taxes on the rich won’t make even a small dent in our $1 trillion plus annual deficits. So as a fiscal policy, it’s useless. Second, many of the top 2% earning families already face marginal tax rates as high as 35%. The top 2% pay nearly 50% of all income taxes, but take home less than 30% of all U.S. income. Is that fair?The “rich” Obama wants to increase taxes on are the job creators and entrepreneurs. The top 2% of earners report 66% of all pass-through business income, 25% of all net business and professional income, and 85% of all partnership and S Corp. income. They’re business owners. Tax them at a higher rate, and you’ll have fewer new businesses and fewer jobs. It’s the middle-class that will suffer, not the rich.Voters should reject the siren song of “fairness” and “get the rich.” It will only bring misery — and poverty.”
Here is the link to that article: http://www.forbes.com/2012/07/18/other-comments-steve-forbes.html
In the end, false claims are made every day, often by both sides. But in this case; in this election cycle, the false claims are particularly vicious and the majority of them are coming from the Left. This article uses half truths and parses words to try to give egregiously false claims validity. In addition, this article uses emotive words and phrases, such as “extremist”, “out of touch”, “Handing over to Wall Street”, etc. in an attempt to paint a picture of character, rather than fact.
Never trust one source. Always do your own research. That is a hallmark of a healthy political environment.