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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One Paul Ryan lie to start your week

by folkbum

Undoubtedly, there will be others, but here's a good one to chew on as Monday rolls in:
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (floor speech, March 21): There is an individual mandate. It mandates individuals purchase government-approved health insurance or face a fine to be collected by the IRS which will need $10 billion additional and 16,500 new IRS agents to police and enforce this mandate.
This "16,000 IRS agents" lie is absurd on its face, worse once you get into the details, and yet it is pretty much accepted as gospel now among the ignorati on the right because it keeps getting repeated by the likes of Ryan and Newt Gingrich (who claimed the call for new agents was actually in the bill, which is patently false), not to mention the vast right-wing echo chamber of FOX, talk radio, and badly formatted email forwards from your aunt in Palm Beach. Ezra Klein helps explain why it's bogus:
[L]et's track how an estimate becomes spin becomes a lie becomes a sound bite. First, the estimate: The CBO predicted that costs related to the Affordable Care Act would "probably include an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion over 10 years for administrative costs of the Internal Revenue Service." This money, incidentally, isn't to audit people or go door-to-door enforcing the individual mandate. It's primarily to give subsidies to qualifying small businesses and individuals.
But that didn't stop Republicans; no, their Ways and Means members--Ways and Means is Ryan's big committee assignment, you know, as the Republicans' chief budget writer--simply divided the larger number from the CBO--$10 billion--by the average salary of an IRS agaent, and came up with the 16,500 estimate, and put out a statement that said the IRS "may" hire that many new agents. The money is not even primarily for IRS employees, let alone the "agents" who do the auditing and the catching of Al Capone and whatnot.

And here's Ryan, the golden boy, the future of the GOP, deliberately lying about the Affordable Care Act, a lie that he is quite likely responsible for originating from his own committee through shoddy math and unashamed twisting of the language of the bill.

It is unconscionable that Ryan should be allowed to get away with this; he is purposefully turning needed small-business subsidies into menacing G-Men in the imaginations of people already too disconnected from reality to recognize the absurdity of it. Of course, since Ryan seems more and more to be living in said fantasy world, we perhaps shouldn't be surprised.

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