Letter to the Editor

Lowry column full of false claims

Friday, August 17, 2012

To the Editor:

Rich Lowry's recent column, "The anti-Ryan smears" was laughable both for its hypocrisy and its dishonesty. It was hypocritical because earlier this year Lowry wrote a column full of non-substantive smears of Joe Biden. It's dishonest for several reasons. One need only go to the actual Ryan budget proposal on the internet to see why.

First, Lowry claims there are no tax cuts in Ryan's budget plan. This is patently false. The Ryan budget explicitly reduces the top income tax rate to 25 per cent. It also explicitly gets rid of the alternative minimum tax. Those are tax cuts. Saying that they aren't really cuts because Ryan's budget vaguely claims it can compensate for the rate cuts by getting rid of loopholes (broadening the tax base) is an irrelevant con for both theoretical and practical reasons.

Theoretically, because closing loopholes can't possibly compensate for the tax rate cuts. In practice, because Ryan knows good and well that it is not politically feasible to close the biggest loopholes in the tax code (such as the mortgage interest deduction).

The second dishonest claim by Lowry is that there is no voucher in Ryan's Medicare reform proposal. Lowry is playing a dishonest game of semantics here. Ryan's proposal includes a "premium-support payment."

When workers currently under 55 become eligible for "Medicare" they would have to pick a health insurance plan to cover them and the government would provide them with a premium-support payment to help cover their insurance costs. What pray-tell is the difference between a premium-support payment and a voucher? Nothing as far as I can tell. Conservatives apparently just don't like the negative connotations associated with the word "voucher."

Don't get me wrong. Obama's budget proposals out there are completely dishonest too. But Lowry's call for an honest debate followed by a series of lies is pathetic. A first step the Banner might take in providing its readers with an honest debate on federal government budget proposals might be to drop Lowry as a columnist.

Bruce Sanders