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A Viewer’s Guide to Tonight’s VP Debate
It’s fight night in Danville, Kentucky as Paul Ryan and Vice President Biden face off in the one and only vice presidential debate. Here’s everything you need to know about Paul Ryan and his extreme views.
Here are the details, courtesy of ThinkProgress’ Annie-Rose Strasser:
1. Romney and Ryan would eliminate health care for 31 million people who are poor or disabled. Medicaid, which helps poor Americans, some seniors, and children afford health care, is right in the crosshairs of Paul Ryan’s House budget. He proposed cutting $1.4 trillion from the program, a move that would kick about 11 million people off Medicaid over the course of ten years. The Romney-Ryan plan is even worse, and is estimated to force about 44 million people off the program.
2. Ryan considers Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme.” In the Fall of 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” and Paul Ryan agreed. Ryan wants to privatize the program.
3. 62% of Ryan’s budget cuts come from programs that benefit low-income Americans. Ryan’s budget proposes “$5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts.” 62 percent of the reductions would come from programs that specifically help low-income Americans:
4. Ryan voted for future defense cuts he now blames on Obama. Though Ryan claims Obama somehow orchestrated the sequester, a series of across-the-board spending cuts triggered if Congress can’t produce a better plan, the VP pick himself was a supporter of the mechanism. Not only did he vote for legislation to establish it, he peddled the plan to his Republican colleagues and proposed a similar initiative in 2004.
5. Ryan and Romney cannot cut taxes across the board by 20% and lower the deficit because it’s mathematically impossible. Ryan claims they will achieve these twin goals by closing loopholes and getting rid of deductions for the rich. But, as the Tax Policy Center points out, even if they got rid of every single deduction and loophole, they would still need to find more revenue. That means they’d need to start raising taxes on the middle class.
6. Ryan voted to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion under Bush. During the Bush years alone, Ryan voted with his party’s leadership to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion. In total, he has voted six times to raise the debt ceiling, increasing it by $5.8 trillion.
7. Ryan wants to kick 1 million students off of Pell Grants. As part of his budget, Ryan proposed cutting Pell Grants for nearly 1 million college students. Seventy four percent of Pell Grant recipients in 2011 came from families with incomes of $30,000 or less. There is no evidence that these cuts will curb rising college costs.
8. Ryan’s budget included the same $716 billion in Medicare savings included in Obamacare.The $716 billion that Obamacare takes out of Medicare will almost definitely come up in tomorrow’s debate. Ryan has claimed that Obama “raided” Medicare to pay for his health care reform. In fact, Ryan wants to make Medicare a voucher program and proposed taking the same cuts out of Medicare in his budget. But whereas Obamacare uses those funds to eliminate fraud and increase efficiency, Ryan proposed taking that money to pay down the deficit.
9. Ryan supported economic stimulus under Bush. If he’s going to follow the lead of his running mate, Ryan will invoke Obama’s stimulus plan, the Recovery Act, as failed legislation that wasted taxpayer money. But when George Bush was president, Ryan was supportive of a stimulus, and actually made a rousing case for infusing the economy with money, saying that it helped create jobs. Watch it here.
10. Ryan used to supports a key aspect of Obamacare. Ryan will likely say at the debate that the Affordable Care Act is government overreach. In fact, he might even invoke “death panels,” as he has done at recent town halls. But Ryan proposed something extremely similar to these so-called “death panels” in 2009 — twice. In December of 2010, Ryan also asked the Department of Health and Human Services for an Obamacare health care grant “for the Kenosha Community Health Center, Inc to develop a new facility in Racine, Wisconsin, an area within Ryan’s district.”
11. Ryan opposes abortion access for rape victims. When it comes to abortion rights, Ryan is among the most extreme anti-abortion members of Congress. He believes rape victimsshouldn’t have access to abortions and co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment that would have defined a fertilized egg as a human, thus outlawing not just abortion but also in-vitro fertilization and some forms of contraception.
12. Ryan supports a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Ryan is vehemently opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples. He has twice voted to amend the constitution to that effect, supported a same-sex marriage ban in his home state, and claimed that preventing same-sex couples from getting married was a “universal human value.”
Tune in to ThinkProgress tonight or check out our Twitter feed for the live fact-checking and instant analysis during the debate.
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