Florida’s a crucial swing state that presidential candidates go out of their way to woo. So expect political shockwaves from new study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation that shows that Florida’s seniors would be devastated by Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare.
The study finds that Florida’s seniors would actually be hit the worst out of seniors in any state by the increase in costs associated with Ryan’s plan. Kaiser estimates that 77 percent of seniors would have to pay $200 or more per month in order to afford health care if Ryan’s Medicare voucher scheme were to be enacted. The study also estimates that 89 percent of Floridans would be subject to at least $50 more in premiums each month.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is running scared from his bold progressive opponent Rob Zerban. Despite Zerban’s strong candidacy –he actually out-raised Ryan in the third quarter — Ryan has not agreed to a single debate with him, in a huge disservice to voters.
But it isn’t just Democrats who are upset about Members of Congress like Ryan who won’t debate their opponent.
At a recent town hall, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) complained about how his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, only agreed to one debate with him. He then went on to imply that voters should not cast a vote for anyone who isn’t willing to take part in debates:
WALSH: We had the one debate last week, the one debate where she’ll get in front of people with me, she’s turned down 13 debates…. I’m a Republican, but I would say the same thing if i was running against a Republican, nobody in this country, this year should vote for any candidate that doesn’t get in front of people and find out what’s going on in your lives and tell you where they stand on issues.
So don’t take it from us — take it from far-right Republican Joe Walsh. Candidates like Paul Ryan who duck their own constituents and refuse to debate with their opponents don’t deserve votes.
Will Obama and Romney be asked about any of these issues? (Photo credit: Flickr user DonkeyHotey)
Last night’s vice presidential debate marked the second debate between the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Obama-Biden campaign. There are two presidential debates left to go, and both will be between Obama and Romney.
These debates are supposed to serve to educate Americans about the differences between the candidates. But we’ve done a review of thequestions asked at the debates and we’ve found five important issues that have yet to come up at all. Here’s the list, in no particular order:
Labor Unions: In the three hours of debate so far between the two campaigns, labor unions have not come up once. In a question related to education, Romney didn’t even resort to his normal teacher-bashing by attacking teachers unions. The absence of unions from the debate is stunning, given that research shows that the decline of unions in America has corresponded with the decline of the middle class.
Economic Inequality: The word “inequality” didn’t arise once during the two debates. The moderators did not ask about the growing class divide in America nor the candidates’ solution to the problem.
Climate Change: There hasn’t been a single question asked about global warming. This is at a time when scientists are predicting that entire island nations like the Maldives will disappear thanks to rising sea levels.
The Drug War: The drug war is one of America’s greatest failings, and it’s estimated that half of our prison population is nonviolent drug offenders. But the issue simply didn’t arise during the debates.
LGBT Equality: President Obama was the first sitting president ever to endorse marriage equality, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the debates. The Obama-Biden ticket was not asked whether it supports repealing the “Defense of Marriage Act,” and the Romney-Ryan ticket was not asked to defend its bigoted anti-equality positions.
Americans deserve to have a robust debate between the presidential candidates. Future moderators should take heed of issues that have so far not come up and make sure to address them in the future.
Ryan is flat out lying about Social Security and Medicare. (Photo credit: Flickr user monkeyz_uncle)
Last night, during the vice presidential debate with Joe Biden, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan lied to the American people. He said, “Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.”
This statement was a bald-faced lie. Neither program is going bankrupt any time soon. Here’s our quick explainer why:
Social Security: It’s currently projected to be fully solvent until the year 2037. After that, it is expected to be able to pay out 75 percent of benefits until 2084, which basically equals full benefits, once inflation is accounted for. There is no threat of the program running out of money any time soon. We could make it solvent far into the future if we simply raised the payroll tax cap — meaning that income above $106,000 would be taxed just like income below that amount is. Lifting the cap would require the wealthy to pay a tiny bit more so that the program would be safe and secure. Even a majority of self-identified Tea Partiers find this to be a good idea versus cutting Social Security by raising the retirement age.
Medicare:According to the Medicare Trustees’ annual report that was released in April 2012, “the Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund has sufficient reserves to pay out the full amount of Medicare Part A benefits until 2024 – the same projection made in last year’s report. Should nothing else change, and the Trust Fund reserves be depleted in 2024, the Trust Fund would still receive sufficient income from the payroll taxes and other revenue through which it is funded to pay 87% of anticipated Part A expenses.” And all of that is based on a projection based on a poor economy — as the economy improves, so will the projection. ”Medicare is not going bankrupt. Medicare would still have most of the necessary funds to pay those expenses and other parts of the program would be unaffected,” says University of North Carolina health policy expert Jonathan Oberlander in reference to the 2024 date. ”Medicare won’t go bankrupt in the literal sense in 2016 or 2024 or 2064—or ever.” Although Medicare’s financial state is secure well into the future, we can always improve it by stopping drug companies from ripping it off. We could save tens of billions of dollars every year — as Vice President Biden suggested during the debate — if we stood up to Big Pharma lobbyists by simply allowed Medicare to negotiate for drug prices.
Neither Medicare nor Social Security are going bankrupt. The media and public should not be fooled by Paul Ryan’s lies. They are designed to trick Americans into accepting the sort of society an Ayn Rand acolyte like Ryan wants us to live in — where everyone is on their own, and a wealthy elite is the only class who gets to have a comfortable retirement.
Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden will be facing off with Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). But while Ryan is willing to debate with Biden tonight, there is another man he’s been running from.
See, Ryan has an unusually strong congressional challenger this year named Rob Zerban. Zerban is a successful and socially-conscious businessman who also has been involved in the community and local activism for years. He’s well-liked, and polling shows that Zerban is within single-digits of Ryan.
Their policy differences couldn’t be more stark, especially on one of the most important issues: protecting Medicare. Ryan is the author of the “Medicare For None” plan that would turn the entire program over to private insurers, while Zerban is campaigning for Medicare For All. In his recent television ad, Zerban criticizes Ryan for spearheading this plan to end Medicare, and he promises that he will “never cut Medicare benefits. Ever.” Watch it:
But Ryan has refused to attend a single debate with Zerban. From his perspective, if he just ignores Zerban, voters won’t be able to learn about the alternative. The Republican congressman has committed, however, $2 million to a huge ad buy to defend his congressional seat.
During his debate with President Obama last week, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that although he likes Big Bird, he would cut off all federal funding to PBS. (He would, however, advocate for corporate tax cuts that would cost 238 times as much as all federal subsidies for public broadcasting put together.)
This brought understandable outrage from most Americans, who treasure public goods like CBS. During a visit to Detroit today, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was greeted by a cadre of protesters, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and a man dressed as Big Bird. Watch a local news report about the protest:
Ryan is now campaigning for the vice presidency, putting himself first in line to be president, a job he says he didn’t want. (Photo credit: Flickr user monkeyz_uncle)
The vice presidential pick is often viewed as more about politics than substance, but as the Americans who groaned at the choice of Sarah Palin in 2008 know, the vice president is just a heartbeat away from the presidency and must be ready to serve.
Is Paul Ryan ready for the presidency? He certainly didn’t think so in 2010. He even explicitly ruled it out. In an interview with The Weekly Standard, he said he wanted to be a “normal person” and that it would be too taxing to run for and serve as president:
But the 40-year-old congressman has consistently tried to quash the notion that he might run for president and did so again last night during the $50 per person fundraising cruise on Lake Geneva. “No, no there isn’t,” Ryan replied when asked if there’s any chance he would run for president.
“I want to be a normal person,” Ryan continued. “Other people can run for that thing. Other people can’t do this,” he said, pointing to one of his three young children sipping a kiddie cocktail.
What changed Ryan’s mind? Does he really think he’s ready for the presidency when as little as two years ago he was much more interested in being, as he called it, a “normal person”?
Interestingly, Ryan may not be qualified for the presidency if you look at criteria laid out by his running mate earlier this year. Romney said at a campaign event in May that a “president has to spend at least three years working in business before he can become president of the United States” — a qualification Ryan lacks.
GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took to the stage of the Republican National Convention last night to blast Barack Obama and promote the presidency of Mitt Romney. (Here’s a transcript of that speech.)
But in doing so, Ryan repeatedly distorted the truth and misled Americans. Here’s a roundup of the top five lies in his speech:
Ryan And Romney Will Protect Medicare: “A Romney-Ryan Administration will protect and strengthen Medicare for my mom’s generation, for my generation and for my kids and yours.” Why it’s a lie: Ryan’s infamous plan ends Medicare by handing it over to the insurance companies. The Center for American Progress estimates that future seniors would pay $60,000 more for their healthcare under the Romney-Ryan plan.
Obama Is To Blame For The Closure Of A GM Plant In Ryan’s District: “At that plant [in Janesville], candidate Obama said, ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years.’ That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.” Why it’s a lie: Talking Points Memo’s Benjy Sarlin notes that the plant actually “closed in 2008, under President George W. Bush.” Here’s an excerpt from a letter Ryan wrote in June of 2008 protesting the closure of the plant.
Obama Cut Medicare By $716 Billion: ”They needed hundreds of billions [of dollars to fund the Affordable Care Act]. So they just took it all away from Medicare, $716 billion funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Why it’s a lie: The Affordable Care Act cut Medicare waste — including useless payments to private insurance companies to administer the program under Medicare Advantage. Medicare benefits “will not change,” notes Time Magazine’s Kate Pickert. (It is important to remember, however, that Obama did make an successful and regressive offer to Republicans to raise the Medicare age in the summer of 2011.)
The Stimulus Was Wasted Money: “What did taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted, it was borrowed, spent and wasted.” Why it’s a lie: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus added up to 3.3 million jobs to the economy — hardly a waste. The New York Times’s Paul Krugman notes that the biggest issue is that if anything, the “stimulus…wasn’t big enough.” But the top reason Ryan should know what he said was a lie is because he himself sought stimulus funds as a congressman.
Ryan And Romney’s Economic Plan Would Create Jobs: “We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.” Why it’s a lie: A Center for American Progress analysis of the plans offered by Romney and Ryan find that they’d actually cost jobs: “Romney’s plan would kill 360,000 jobs in 2013 alone. The even more radical Ryan plan, which Gov. Romney embraces, would kill more than 5 million jobs in the first two years of a Romney-Ryan administration.”
From his absurd claim that Obama is responsible for the closure of a GM plant that took place before he even took office to his statement that his plan to end Medicare would actually protect it, Ryan seems intent on misleading Americans to win their votes — not having an honest debate.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from a 2008 interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. The Walworth County Week asked Ryan about alternative energy, and the congressman blasted ethanol:
RYAN: On ethanol, and that’s, you’re going to hear a lot about this. Turning food into fuel is not a good long-term energy policy. I think there are better renewable energy policies like cellulostic ethanol, where you turn corn stalks, switch grass, into fuel instead of food into fuel. Because if you turn food into fuel as your energy policy that makes both more expensive. Food and fuel become more expensive. And I’m also fearful that this is going to produce a backlash against our farmers. You’re already seeing this. [...]
INTERVIEWER: Now in the last, it was the farm bill or the energy bill they kept the subsidies for corn ethanol, but haven’t been able to pass subsidies for wind –
RYAN: Congress quintupled the ethanol mandate. I did not support that. Because I thought that’s what happening now was going to happen when we were goin to have dramatic price increases.
Watch the interview (the relevant section is at 3:13)
Both conservatives and progressives have good reason to be skeptical of ethanol. The lobby for this fuel has invested well in politicians and has worked to downplay the potential disastrous consequences on food prices. As former vice presidential nominee Al Gore admitted, politicians of both parties have pandered to the lobby and put aside legitimate concerns.
But while Ryan deserves some credit for his ethanol skepticism in 2008, it’s ironic his running mate Mitt Romney is a huge supporter of the mandate the congressman opposed. Romney supports the Renewable Fuel Standards that include ethanol, “a mandate several U.S. governors want to suspend as the worst drought in more than 50 years sends corn prices to record levels.”
“By working to remove barriers to market access for renewable fuels, as Governor Romney suggests, America can help spur an economic recovery while securing our energy future,” exclaimed Bob Dineen, the CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, in response to Romney’s plan. The ethanol lobby has aggressively courted by the Republican presidential nominees, who competed first in ethanol-heavy Iowa.
Given these facts, it’s unlikely we’ll see Ryan spouting the same words he spoke in 2008 any time soon.
Tonight, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) blasted President Obama for failing to save a GM factory in his district. The problem with this is that the plant actually closed under George W. Bush.
In June 2008, Ryan sent a letter along with his Wisconsin colleagues Senators Russ Feingold (D) and Herb Kohl (D) protesting the closure of General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin.
“We ask that you reconsider the decision to close the Janesville GM plant and request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss OM’s plans for the Janesville plant, including the possibility of retooling the plant for different production lines,” said the letter from the three lawmakers to GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
As Talking Points Memo’s Benjy Sarlin notes, Ryan actually voted for a Bush-era effort to expand government loans to GM, a plan that failed to save the Janesville plant.
Tonight, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz aggressively questioned Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) about Ryan’s claim that the closure under Bush could be blamed on Obama. “It had nothing to do with Barack Obama’s economic policy,” said Schultz about the Janesville closure. “You can’t get away from that fact!”
The Republican vice presidential nominee is playing fast and loose with the facts. He knows that this plant closed before President Obama even took office, and he also knows that he supported both Bush and Obama’s plans to assist the auto industry. This letter shows that Ryan knew the plant was failing despite Bush policies and that he recognized the need for intervention then.
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