(NJDC) Below are ten documented things that every American Jew should know about Republican vice presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Ryan twice authored regressive budgets that drew concern — and even ire — from many in the Jewish community because of the deep cuts they made to vital social safety net programs that would strand the poor, many in the middle class, seniors, children, and other groups who depend on government assistance. Organizations that panned his budget included the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B'nai B'rith, and the National Council of Jewish Women, among others.
Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know itby turning it into a voucher program — which would dramatically increase the burden on seniors by leaving them to pick up the tab.
Ryan wants to replace Medicaid with block grantswhich would severely impact millions of Americans — including seniors, the disabled, and the poor — who desperately need the basic guarantees offered by Medicaid.
Ryan has called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and advanced a plan to turn it into a privatized program. Under Ryan's vision, future retirement benefits would be pegged to the risky ups and downs of the stock market instead of providing guaranteed assistance to those who paid into Social Security and earned it.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's selection of Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.
In response to the Supreme Court Decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Board of Directors of OHALAH, the trans-denomination Jewish Renewal association that includes over 180 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Jewish life, released the following statement:
The historic ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(ACA) is a victory for those who believe, as we do, that health care is a fundamental human right. The ACA has the chance to help the nearly forty million currently uninsured Americans receive coverage and the millions of underinsured who will see their situation improved. It is our hope that this decision will help remedy and heal the injustices and inefficiencies in the United States health care system, by guaranteeing preventative and emergency care, affordable prescription drugs, and insurance despite pre-existing conditions, among other benefits. We are also pleased that the Medicaid expansion stands, helping lower-income individuals get the health care they deserve. The ACA can now bring the health insurance system closer to reflecting our highest spiritual aspirations.
It is also our hope and prayer that this decision, although decided by a divided court, will begin to allow for healing of the deep divisions in the United States that this issue has caused, and allow us as a nation to work together towards our common goals and solving our common challenges.
At many seders, the topic of politics will more than likely come up-often because one of the guests received one of the many false and malicious emails floating around the internet. That dinner guest should be replied to with these four questions:
Why has President Obama provided record amounts of military aid to Israel — including double the amount of supplemental funding for missile defense programs, like the Iron Dome, that are saving Israeli lives today?
Why has President Obama worked so hard and succeeded at uniting the world against Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program, while voting with Israel 100% of the time at the United Nations — earning the plaudits of Israel's leaders?
Why has President Obama achieved the historic passage of "Obamacare," which has already permitted 2.5 million young adults to remain on their parents' health care plans — and will end discrimination for those with pre-existing conditions, ultimately providing coverage to 34 million more Americans?
Why has President Obama fought to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, keeping our commitment to our seniors — and our collective commitment to help those in need through shared responsibility?
The answer to all of these questions is:
President Obama cares deeply about the safety and security of the Jewish state. He has been Israel's leading advocate from day one and has done more than any other President to meaningfully bolster its defenses and provide for its future. He also cares deeply about the welfare of all Americans, including our seniors and the needy — and our commitment to them.
For these reasons, President Obama deserves our thanks.
-- Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Michael Snook, Forrest Brown, and the PCCC team
Today, in a press conference, President Obama pushed for benefit cuts in important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. For those who worked tirelessly to elect Obama in 2008, here are the three most depressing quotes from today's press conference:
1) "We're going to have a sales job. This is not pleasant. It is hard to persuade people to do hard stuff that entails trimming benefits and increasing revenues."
Significance: This is the first time Obama admitted he is pushing "benefit" cuts that would hurt our grandparents, kids, and the disabled -- not just "savings" like negotiating lower drug prices.
2) "I want to be crystal clear -- nobody has talked about increasing taxes now. Nobody has talked about increases -- increasing taxes next year."
Significance: Polling shows that by 4 to 1, Americans want taxes increased on the rich. The "millionaires tax" proposed by House progressives would raise $1 trillion -- helping to take benefit cuts off the table. By his own admission, Obama is not even asking for this!
3) "The vast majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill would prefer not to have to do anything on entitlements; would prefer, frankly, not to have to do anything on some of these debt and deficit problems."
Significance: The House Progressive Caucus proposed balancing the budget by taxing the rich, making companies like GE pay taxes, ending the wars, and other popular, progressive proposals. By his own admission, Obama didn't even try for these -- and then he attacks progressive Democrats with false, right-wing talking points.
Planned Reliance on Private Insurance Will Hurt Seniors and Neediest
-- Sharon Bender
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposed a 2012 Federal budget that would drastically cut-and fundamentally damage-important health programs Medicaid and Medicare. These are programs on which millions of vulnerable Americans rely for help meeting their most important and least affordable need: health care.
The proposed budget does not control health costs or encourage efficiencies in the broader health care system; it simply relies on dramatic cuts, with a staggering impact on the elderly. By making Medicaid a block grant while creating a decreasingly valuable Medicare voucher, this bill would deal a devastating double-blow to older adults as well as the disabled.
This proposal would end the guaranteed Medicare coverage as we know it for the next generation of seniors (starting in 2022, which impacts those born since 1957) and replace it with a voucher to buy health care in the private insurance market-a market with a poor track record of providing affordable, quality health insurance to older people. Even more troubling, these vouchers would not keep pace with the rising cost of all health care, about which this plan does nothing.
In order to reduce deficits, the budget proposal would transform Medicaid into a block grant program while dramatically reducing the federal contribution to the program. This would no longer allow the program to expand based on the number of qualified people in need. Rather, it saves money simply by offering reduced benefits or covering fewer people. "Anyone can cut the budget by arbitrarily capping programs," said Allan J. Jacobs, B'nai B'rith interim international president. "The real challenge we face is to reduce the deficit without decimating help for the neediest among us, or making retirement impossible for the next generation. This means we must be straightforward with one another about how we are saving money. Unfortunately the savings in this budget seem to come simply from doing less for the people who need the most."
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