I had a friend once, who fell for that street hustle in which the mark is left holding what he believes to be a brick of cash wrapped in newspaper, in exchange for which he has given the con man something of value as “temporary” collateral — in my friend’s case a camera. When the newspaper is unwrapped, of course, it turns out to be … carefully wrapped, currency-sized strips of newspaper.
The Politifact “Lie of the Year” is something like that. What the Ryan plan proposed handing you would have been called Medicare, and you might even have believed that it was — until you unwrapped it and found that you’d been left holding an entirely worthless package.
You can cut up old newspapers and bundle them up and tell the mark that they’re cash. But that doesn’t make them legal tender. And the Ryan plan, though still using the name “Medicare,” would not have been Medicare.