What's wrong with the economic plans of the Republican's presidential ticket? Just about everything, says Robert Reich.
See the video below for details:
(video created by MoveOn)
A professor of public policy at UC-Berkeley, Reich is former Secretary of Labor. (He's pretty handy with those markers, too, ain't he?)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In South Carolina, it’s the senior citizen population that seems to have the most loyalty to the Republican Party.
They’ve been the saving grace for the GOP, too; even though seniors make up only 14 percent of the state population, they represent over 21 percent of the registered voters.
Just check the results from the last presidential election. In 2008, exit polls showed voters ages 65 and older to give the highest percentage of votes to John McCain in comparison to other age groups – 66 percent, while 61 percent of 45-to-64 voters and only 45 percent of the collective younger groups did.
It was this very high margin from seniors, who made up 20 percent of all the voters that day, that allowed the Republican candidate to win the Palmetto State by an overall nine percent.
Why, then, is the GOP alienating that same age group upon which it is most dependent for victory in South Carolina?
Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney added Paul Ryan to the ticket as his running mate. This same Wisconsin congressman is well-known for attacks upon seniors, too.
For example, in his recent national budget proposal, Ryan’s promoted complete removal of Medicare, converting it to meager stipend payouts that seniors can use to buy restrictive private health insurance.
But 892,583 in South Carolina – 19.6 percent of the state’s entire population – depend on Medicare. Eighty percent of them are senior citizens.
Ryan’s also promoted a privatization of Social Security, sending to Wall Street the money an outstanding majority of seniors use as their primary source of income.
Bobbie Rose for 1st Cong. Dist.
But almost 1 million in South Carolina (924,726 in 2011) receive Social Security, and two-thirds of those recipients are seniors. Moreover, over half of those seniors would be reduced to poverty without it; for one third of them, Social Security constitutes at least 90 percent of their total income.
“The Ryan Budget is a perfect example of how out-of-touch this party has become,” says Bobbie Rose, Democratic candidate for the state’s 1st congressional district, citing those cuts as examples of such alienation.
Rose’s opponent Rep. Tim Scott voted in favor of Ryan’s budget proposal, and states strong support for these privatizations.
Ryan has made it rather evident that he could care less about the opinions of those his budget will affect most, too. At a public event last year, a senior constituent informing him of the personal risks these cuts created. Ryan only made insulting jokes about him when the elderly gentleman was forcibly removed from the room by security.
(posted on youtube by WiscJobsNow)
The Ryan Budget will affect another distinct group of voters that are high in presence in South Carolina, Rose says. “It slashes programs that affect our veterans by over $11 billion, but the word ‘veteran’ never appears.”
Over 400,000 retired military veterans reside in the state.
Romney’s running mate selection doesn’t appear to be based on Ryan’s congressional experience; instead, it seems Romney is shooting for Tea Party support as some last-minute salvation for his campaign.
As a recent Reuters report states: “For Tea Party activists uninspired by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the choice of fiscally conservative Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate might allow them to vote in November without holding their noses.”
But the Tea Party itself has been losing its one-time and very-brief respect from Americans. A recent Pew Research study found public opinion of the Tea Party to have declined to only 20 percent approval in the United States, a sharp decline in only year.
It’s losing ground in South Carolina, too, especially in the Lowcountry part of the state. A recent poll done on behalf of the Rose campaign found only seven percent of active voters in the 1st Congressional District to identify themselves with the Tea Party; 41 percent said they have negative opinion of it.
“Tea-party fanaticism is waning,” Rose says. “The far-right fringe got their House majority (and elected my opponent, Tim Scott) in 2010. The only result has been a frozen, gridlocked House that has squandered opportunities and accomplished nothing.”
Romney-Ryan has alienated the same specific voter groups the Republican Party needed – was very dependent upon, even – to win elections in the recent past.
And it could cost the Republican Party more than just the presidential race, too.
Like Rose says, “I’m sure it will benefit every Democratic candidate in the 2012 election cycle.”
Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate isn't the specific topic of voter talk today.
It's what Ryan repeatedly threatens to do to Medicare that's getting all the attention.
After all, the newly-announced VP candidate on the GOP ticket is the guy who's budget plan wants to end Medicare altogether, forcing seniors to shop for private medical insurance with small stipends.
And that brings back memory of a very appropriate video, released last year, on Ryan's medi-cutting Medicare desires.
It's bad enough that Wisconsin's Rep. Paul Ryan keeps spewing absolute garbage about Medicare and Social Security (he fraudulently refers to the programs as "entitlements"), which he wants to privatize.
But when a recipient of those programs contests his statements, it gets even worse. A 71-year-old man was grabbed by security, dragged out of the room and knocked to the ground after interrupting Ryan's drivel.
And then the chump cracks a joke about the old man, too? Something tells me this will come back on Ryan - and pretty damn soon.
It’s an economic environment of exclusivity, a recent episode of Fault Lines depicts.
Only one percent of the population takes in more than 20 percent of all earnings in the United States, for example. Since the 1970’s, the income levels of the top 10 percent in wealth increased four-fold; the remaining 90 percent of the country has had no income growth, when accounting for inflation and other cost-of-living increases.
And the U.S. government – not any branch and neither side – is fully helping to stop this anti-Democratic, non-capitalist movement from ransacking our Democratic capitalist country. The movers and the makers are led by the money shakers. And that’s probably never been more apparent than it is today.
“As both Democrats and Republicans gear up for the 2012 presidential elections, the race to raise money for campaign advertising is a driving force for both parties,” the reporter of this recent August 2 episode, titled “The Top 1%,” says.
The top wealth in the country and their corporations, who provide the most in campaign donations by far, get an unfair and disproportionate influence on government as a result.
Take U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, for example, who’s featured in the episode. Chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan claims the only way to help our economy is by taking away healthcare benefits from the poor and elderly, cutting benefits from retirees … and lowering the tax rate on the top income bracket to only 25 percent.
Ryan’s top campaign donors are investment firms and insurance companies, as well as Koch Industries.
These politicians don’t want to answer up to the public about their proposals or policies, either. Watch the young female reporter attempt to interview Ryan, having to dodge parking meters along the sidewalk as she tries to keep with the evasive Wisconsin Republican. (“Your questions are rude,” Ryan barked as he got into his SUV, closing the interview.)
And those who do answer questions about the policies they promote are quite blunt. Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation, is asked if his conservative think tank only advocates on the behalf of wealth. “Yeah – you just can’t help it,” he replies.
This is a 25-minute episode, which might be too long for some to watch. But if you only have a few minutes to spare, just slide the bar over to the 20:00 mark. You could even mute the volume. The next three-and-a-half minutes of the clip provides a rather vivid video grasp of the current economic situation in the U.S.
You’ll see the excitement and enthusiasm swarming the campus of Harvard University as it hosts an outdoor graduation ceremony, a rite of passage for the children of wealth to go on and score their own.
And then you’ll see the team of common Americans scouring the area after the ceremony, cleaning up all the trash those wealthy folks left lying on the campus grounds.
Right after that segment, put the volume back on to hear what’s probably the most succinct of summations on the subject.
According to Leo Hindery, a progressive political activist, “This degree of inequity will ultimately lead to social upheaval – it’s that acute.
“But the politicians aren’t listening (to the public),” Hindery says. “They’re listening to the lobbies. They’re listening to the wealthy people.
“We’ve got to disconnect.”