Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blue America Tear Sheets-- Wisconsin Edition


Yesterday you saw some of the mobile billboards we're running in PA-16 on behalf of Aryanna Strader and in CA-25 on behalf of Lee Rogers. We have a dozen billboards up in southeast Wisconsin that point out the differences between Paul Ryan and Rob Zerban. YOU built those boards... or at least those of you who have contributed to our Independent Expenditure Committee through Act Blue or by sending a check to Blue America at PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Every cent we're getting in now goes straight into our radio and TV ads. (By the way, there's no limit what you can legally give to the I.E. Committee.)

Yesterday I got another batch of almost two dozen tear sheets from weeklies and shoppers in WI-01 that carried our Lyin' Ryan ad. One paper we've been advertising in is the Shepherd Express, which blankets southern Wisconsin. They didn't just send me a tear sheet. The sent me a whole issue. And the whole issue isn't something any campaign can buy. The drawing up top is the entire cover of the magazine. And the story by Lisa Kaiser is pretty powerful stuff-- and shows the stark differences Wisconsin voters will be choosing between in 3 weeks. First, though... our ad that ran in the Shepherd Express:

Voters in southeastern Wisconsin have a historically important choice on Nov. 6. Longtime Republican Congressman Paul Ryan will appear on the ballot twice, as Mitt Romney’s running mate and as the candidate for the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin.

Ryan is getting a serious challenge for Congress from Kenosha entrepreneur Rob Zerban-- who outraised Ryan this past quarter-- and, nationally, from President Barack Obama, who polls show has been beating the Romney-Ryan ticket in Wisconsin.

Ryan’s campaign did not respond to the Shepherd’s request for an interview about his record, nor has the Janesville native agreed to debate Zerban in the district.

...Here’s how the two agendas compare on taxes, jobs, health care and women’s issues.

  Tax Rates

Romney-Ryan: Romney and Ryan differ slightly on how they would restructure tax rates. Romney pledges to retain all of the Bush tax cuts-- including the tax breaks for those earning a million dollars a year-- and then reduce all tax rates by 20%. And although Romney denied it during last week’s debate, his plan to cut taxes by 20% across the board would cut taxes by $5 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Those earning more than a million dollars annually would get a whopping $250,000 in extra tax cuts in a Romney administration on top of the $140,000 average tax cut they received under the Bush plan, CAP found. Romney would also cut tax rates by 20% for middle- and lower-income families, but to make his budget “revenue neutral” he would have to do away with some of the tax deductions that many average Americans rely on, such as the mortgage tax deduction and college savings credits. As a result, middle-class families would see an average tax increase of more than $2,000 a year.

Ryan’s House budget goes even further and would get rid of the top three tax brackets so that top earners would pay 25%, and he’d also combine the 15% and 10% rates into a 10% rate. This would far and away give a bigger tax break to millionaires-- about 125 times as big as a tax break for a middle-class couple, CAP reported.

Neither Romney nor Ryan has specified which tax deductions they would eliminate or modify to fill up the $5 trillion tax hole they would create.

Obama-Zerban: “I think a good first step would be to end the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000, which means going back to the Clinton-era tax rates of 39.6% from what they are right now, 35%,” Zerban said.

In August, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that this would save the government $950 billion over a 10-year period; $823 billion from revenue and $127 billion from lower interest payments on the debt needed to pay for the high-earners’ tax break.

Zerban also supports raising tax rates on capital gains and carried interest, profits earned by hedge fund and private equity managers, saying that they should be taxed as regular income. Similarly, Obama has proposed taxing long-term capital gains for high-income earners at 20%, which the Tax Policy Center found would generate about $36 billion between 2013-2022. Obama also wants to tax carried interest as ordinary income.

“I would also close tax loopholes for corporate jets,” Zerban said. “As a small businessman, I didn’t need a corporate jet tax loophole to employ people. This is just common sense.”

  Outsourcing Jobs

Romney-Ryan: Currently, big U.S. corporations are allowed to delay payment of their taxes on their foreign profits, an incentive to invest overseas. But Romney and Ryan would give corporations an even bigger incentive to create low-wage jobs in other countries. Both Romney’s agenda and Ryan’s House budget create a “territorial” tax system, one in which overseas profits are never taxed. Never. Foreign profits would be totally tax-exempt in a Romney-Ryan administration.

CAP calculated that the Romney-Ryan outsourcing incentive and their opposition to the clean energy industry would cost Wisconsin 60,000 jobs.

While Romney and Ryan now oppose the auto bailout (Ryan actually voted for it in Congress), the plan saved up to 28,000 auto-related jobs in Wisconsin, CAP found.

Obama-Zerban: Obama has made “insourcing” a priority by forming an insourcing forum and visiting manufacturers that have brought jobs back to the United States, such as Milwaukee’s Master Lock. In addition, Obama wants to end tax deductions for outsourcing jobs overseas, add incentives for domestic job creators, and create a $2 billion annual tax break for manufacturers to keep them in the United States. His leadership on this issue seems to be working-- in 2010 and 2011, the United States ended its decade-long trend of losing manufacturing jobs by adding them instead. And, of course, his auto bailout helped to save jobs across the country, but especially in hard-hit Midwestern states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Zerban supports insourcing efforts, saying that corporations’ willingness to invest overseas has cost the 1st Congressional District its General Motors jobs in Janesville, its Chrysler plant in Kenosha, and Delphi jobs in Oak Creek.

“I think there should be a penalty paid by corporations that do ship their jobs overseas, companies that are selling their goods and services in the U.S. and not producing them here,” Zerban said. “We need to make sure that they are paying their fair share to support the infrastructure that they are using to conduct their businesses, whether it’s consumption of energy or transferring their goods on our roads and bridges.”

  Health Care and Medicare

Romney-Ryan: The Republican standard-bearers would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) immediately upon taking office. They’ve claimed that no seniors currently on Medicare would be affected by the change. However, ACA is already providing benefits to seniors on Medicare, such as free cancer screenings and diabetes testing. CAP found that more than 325,000 Wisconsin seniors are already benefiting from ACA’s Medicare provisions.

Both support turning Medicare into a voucher program for those under 55, which would make Medicare itself unworkable by reducing the purchasing pool and allowing healthy seniors to opt out of the system, leaving the most expensive consumers on the plan.

Another problem is that the Romney-Ryan vouchers would not keep up with medical costs. If their plan were in place today, seniors would have to pay an estimated $6,400 more in out-of-pocket payments for their medical insurance-- and this amount would likely grow each year.

And the Romney-Ryan plan would force those under 55 to save a shocking sum of money for their health care during retirement. According to CAP’s calculations, today’s 54-year-old would need to save $59,450 for his or her health expenses; a 49-year-old would have to save $124,626; a 39-year-old would have to put away $216,631; and today’s 29-year-old would have to save a whopping $331,170 for health expenses that would have been covered under traditional Medicare.

Obama-Zerban: Zerban supports the ACA, although he said he would have preferred creating a Medicare-for-All system to lower health care costs, reform the health care industry in a holistic manner and increase the risk pool with healthier, younger consumers.

“It’s hurting our economy by not addressing this once and for all in a holistic way,” Zerban said. “Internationally, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage because our companies are paying a disproportionate cost into their health care. Internally, we are not creating the environment that allows a small entrepreneur to survive. People are afraid of being bankrupted by medical bills.”

He said Republicans have never supported Medicare “and their tool to kill it is the Ryan budget.”

Zerban lashed out at the Bush administration’s Medicare Part D-- developed by then-Health Secretary Tommy Thompson and supported by Ryan-- because it prevents the government from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower-cost drugs, calling it a “giveaway to Big Pharma.” The program created $8 trillion in unfunded liabilities, according to a report by Bush-era Comptroller General David Walker.

  Women’s Issues

Romney-Ryan: Since the top-of-the-ticket Republicans would repeal “Obamacare,” they’d repeal the consumer protections for women that are built into it, such as free cancer and well-woman screenings and no-pay contraception, and allow for-profit insurance companies to charge women more simply because of their gender. CAP estimated that 967,000 women in Wisconsin would lose these preventative services if Romney and Ryan have their way.

Both candidates have danced around the issue of abortion, too. Romney has said he would end funding for Planned Parenthood and both candidates would like to limit legal abortions and end exemptions that Republicans have supported for years. In Congress, Ryan pushed a “personhood” bill that would grant constitutional protections to fertilized eggs. That would jeopardize in-vitro fertilization treatments, some contraceptives and embryonic stem cell research. Along with Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, Ryan attempted to redefine rape. Neither candidate supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier to sue for illegal, unequal pay.

Obama-Zerban: Both candidates support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Zerban said he’d like to make them “safe, legal and rare.” Both support the protections built into the ACA for women and both support the Lilly Ledbetter Act. On Jan. 29, 2009, it was the first bill that Obama signed into law.
Obviously Ryan voted for the Ryan Budget. One of the primary reasons Zerban decided to run against him was to oppose that budget and the philosophy of Greed and Selfishness that inspired it. This month the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Democratic staff put together a report on the impact on seniors of the budget on each congressional district in the country. Here's what the Ryan budget would have done, had it passed-- or, if Romney and Ryan are elected along with a GOP Congress, it does pass. Every voter in WI-01 should see this before they cast their ballot. The Ryan budget would:
• Increase prescription drug costs for 9,800 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $90 million for drugs over the next decade.

• Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.

• Force 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who are currently enrolled in traditional Medicare to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums to remain in traditional Medicare after Medicare becomes a voucher program.

• Reduce coverage for 12,800 Medicare beneficiaries who rely on Medicaid to supplement their Medicare coverage, potentially denying them over $450 million in health benefits.

• Jeopardize nursing home care for 1,900 district residents whose expenses are paid by Medicaid.

• Raise food costs for 5,900 district households with seniors who rely on food stamps by as much as $1,100 per year or eliminate food assistance for many of these households entirely.

• Threaten affordable housing programs that provide rental support for 5,000 district households with seniors.

• Place 96,000 district seniors at increased risk of fraud, scams, and elder abuse by cutting as much as $6 billion in funding for federal consumer protection and law enforcement.

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