For example, in his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination last week, Barack Obama declared his intention to use the money the nation “is no longer spending” on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to “pay down our debt and put more people back to work.”
That sounds good, until you remember that Democrats for years have criticized the Bush administration and congressional Republicans for fighting the Afghan and Iraq wars on borrowed money. So if the funds didn’t exist to begin with, how can they be directed elsewhere, particularly toward lowering debt?
The simple answer: They can’t. Obama’s statement defies fiscal logic. But that’s not the only example. In his speech to the Republican National Convention, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan attacked the Obama administration for cutting $716 billion from Medicare.
We can debate the significance of those cuts, as supporters say they don’t reduce medical services to the elderly. But the real issue is that Ryan oddly failed to mention he created a Medicare reform plan of his own. And it included the same cuts that Obama ordered. So how could Obama’s move be “the biggest, coldest power play of all,” according to Ryan, when he wanted to accomplish the same thing?
While the glow of the conventions quickly fades, the questionable claims made by candidates in their acceptance speeches will linger. They ought to be a bit more careful with their words.
Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Castle (Pa.) News.