With a simple stroke of a pen, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney captivated Tea Party followers by choosing a man whom many Republicans respect as the intellectual leader of the movement toward small government. With his selection of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, Romney provided Democratic leaders a blank check to criticize the duo. The Obama campaign’s willingness to condemn Ryan’s economic plan without considering its potential results, however, could be their own undoing.
I am not only a critic of some aspects of Ryan’s plan but also of the Democrats’ attempts at distorting it. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, mirrored the somewhat inaccurate claims put forth by the Obama campaign when he stated that the Republican budget puts “millionaires first and Medicare and the middle class last.”
Israel’s claim that Republicans favor millionaires over the majority of Americans is flat-out wrong. Instead, Romney’s choice shows us that he is serious about reinforcing our country’s economy, tackling the debt that has risen sharply under Obama’s current policies and returning to a trail of affluence and safety.
The Obama campaign has taken to dispersing false claims about Ryan’s plan by stating that he “would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system” and that he “proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires.” What the Obama campaign doesn’t want you to know is that Ryan’s proposal would not “end Medicare as we know it.” Instead, Medicare would remain as is for seniors while younger citizens would have the possibility to receive a fixed amount of “premium support” to purchase private insurance. The next generation of seniors, classified now as 55 or younger, would be provided a government-issued voucher rather than be enrolled in a system that grants everyone the same benefits. They would be given the option to either buy private insurance policies or enroll in traditional Medicare. Amid concerns over rising health care costs, Ryan has stated that he would limit the rate of spending increases to no more than half a percentage point above the overall rate of economic growth. Plus, he plans to gradually lift the Medicare eligibility age by two years, from 65 to 67, by 2034, thus curtailing federal spending.
Ryan’s plan will get us back on the right track toward fixing our economy. His approach would give seniors the incentive to shop for cheaper plans and allow private health companies to compete, thus driving down costs.
Not only have Obama and Biden misrepresented Ryan’s plan for Medicare, but they’ve distorted his taxation policies as well. The claim that Ryan proposed an additional cut of $250,000 for millionaires is, quite frankly, false and overplayed. Ryan’s plan would replace the current tax structure with one that would consist of just two taxation brackets, 25 percent and 10 percent. Though this cuts the top rate from 35 percent, it doesn’t quite amount to what the Obama campaign preaches. In fact, Ryan has vowed to get rid of popular tax breaks for company-provided health insurance, loan interest, state and municipal taxes and retirement investments, as well as special interest loopholes, which tend to largely benefit the “millionaires” that the Democrats mention.
Though I don’t necessarily agree with the statements made by the Obama administration, I find some points that I don’t agree with coming out of the Romney-Ryan ticket as well. Nevertheless, it’s our job as college students to research the claims made by opposing parties and either prove or refute them. It’s easy to consider the claims of one side while disregarding the claims of the other. We should consider the arguments of both candidates and ultimately vote for the one that represents our views the best. Sure, we’re going to disagree with some things, but in all honestly, it’s almost impossible to agree with any candidate 100 percent of the time. But when we consider the views of both candidates, we must make a habit of ridding ourselves of prior biases and paying attention to the issues that really matter.
Ryan’s economic plan is not what it has been made out to be, and I hope that I’m not the only one who realizes that.
Mousa Alshanteer is a Trinity freshman.
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