What are the two biggest attacks we’ve heard against Democrats this year, both here in Massachusetts and nationally? First, the “you didn’t build that” line. Second, that President Obama is cutting Medicare by $700 billion.
The fact is that both of these attacks are demonstrably false, as has been shown over and over again by numerous fact-checkers and other non-partisan observers. Obama’s bungled “you didn’t build that” line, in context, refers to the obvious fact that business owners generally did not build the roads on which they ship their good to market. It’s a distorted echo of Elizabeth Warren’s far-more-clearly-stated argument regarding the social contract that has electrified progressives around the country. And the $700 billion thing is simply ridiculous. That is the figure by which the Affordable Care Act restrains anticipated growth in Medicare spending, by reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and by cutting down on overpayments to insurers and providers. It does not cut a penny from benefits. Indeed, as has been widely noted, Paul Ryan’s budget includes exactly the same savings (one of the few non-crazy things in that document).
You’d think that, given the less-than-robust state of the economy, Republicans would feel confident in making their case on the merits. The fact that they don’t, or won’t, or can’t, should tell you a lot about the state of that sad party.