Last night, we learned vice presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and running mate Mitt Romney envision a pretty bleak future for working people. The Romney-Ryan future is one where seniors (part of the 47%) toil until age 70 when they can collect on a woefully inadequate privatized Social Security account—where people must wait until age 67 to receive a coupon (a.k.a. Medicare voucher) for health care. A future where millionaires and billionaires, the richest 2%, continue to receive massive tax cut giveaways at the expense of working people.
Besides Ryan's support for partial Social Security privatization, we also learned Romney wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and cut Social Security benefits for middle-income workers using the progressive price indexing formula change, which is code for: cutting benefits. According to the Social Security chief actuary, a medium income earner, someone who made $43,000 in 2010, would see substantial benefit cuts under Romney's plan. For a person retiring in 2030, the cut is $2,396. For a person retiring in 2050, the cut is $4,730.
This is not a future President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden support.
Last night, Biden told Republicans to stop obstructing policies that would grow the economy and stop blocking the American Jobs Act and foreclosure relief. He called on Republicans to stop holding the middle class tax cuts hostage in order to continue tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers. Biden reiterated he and President Obama would not turn Medicare into a privatized voucher system, leaving seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies.
Vice President Biden stood strong with the 47%: seniors, military families, the working poor, students—people who Mitt Romney said he didn't need to "worry" about.
These people are my mom and dad—the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Gov. Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, "not paying any tax."
I've had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent—it's about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we're going to level the playing field; we're going to give you a fair shot again; we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy.
They're pushing the continuation of a tax cut that will give an additional $500 billion in tax cuts to 120,000 families. And they're holding hostage the middle-class tax cut because they say we won't pass—we won't continue the middle-class tax cut unless you give the tax cut for the super wealthy.
It's about time they take some responsibility.
Besides Romney-Ryan's harmful vision for Medicare (raising the eligibility age, changing traditional Medicare to a privatized voucher system), Ryan also dropped a whopper the $716 billion in cuts we keep hearing about in the Affordable Care Act.
Unlike what Ryan and Romney claim, these cuts were to providers and wasteful subsidies to private insurers—not cuts to Medicare benefits or to beneficiaries. Ryan also seemed to have amnesia on this point, because he included these exact same cuts in his own budget plan.
When we heard about the Romney-Ryan tax plan, we learned very little. Ryan says their tax plan decreases taxes on the wealthiest people by 20% but doesn't increase the deficit or force working people to pick up the tab. The math doesn't add up. Instead of trying to spin the fuzzy math on his own, Ryan punted to Congress and said they would figure out those minor details.
On jobs, we know Romney-Ryan would let Detroit "go bankrupt," do nothing to stop the foreclosure crisis and continue the failed economic policies that caused the recession in the first place. Romney-Ryan complain the president hasn't done enough for job creation, yet Republicans have consistently blocked all of the president's job plans and proposals, including the American Jobs Act, which would have added 1.6 million jobs.
It was made pretty clear last night which presidential ticket is interested in shared prosperity and growing the economy for all of us—not just the wealthy.
What did you think?