Strickland: Romney, Ryan offer poor plans for Medicare, Social SecurityWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland lambasted Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plans for Medicare and Social Security in front of a small crowd of mostly seniors on Aug. 28 outside the East Toledo Senior Center.
He spoke in front of a bus that read “Wrong for the Middle Class” with a picture of Romney on it, as part of a three-day tour of Ohio’s major cities. Toledo City Council President Joe McNamara and Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates followed Strickland’s talk with their own speeches.
“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to take us back to the same failed economic policy that caused this recession,” Strickland said, adding that as chair of the House budget committee, Ryan presided over a “devastating and extreme budget.”
Ryan’s plan to potentially make Medicare voucher-based would increase costs for seniors by more than $6,000 per year, he said.
“It would destroy Medicare as we know it,” Strickland said. The plan also doesn’t take inflation into account, he said.
There are 1.9 million seniors in Ohio who depend on Medicare, McNamara said, adding that the $6,000 increase “would be devastating.”
Strickland also addressed Romney’s tax cut plan, which would give $250,000 to millionaires and billionaires while raising taxes for middle class families by $2,000.
“These millionaires would probably not have a problem paying $10 per pill like my 90-year-old father does,” Bates said.
The three also talked about Romney/Ryan’s plan to partially privatize Social Security. The plan encourages those younger than 55 to divert half their Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts. This leaves their retirement funds vulnerable to the stock market, Strickland said.
“[Seniors have] spent years and years earning their benefits and worked too hard to see them cut,” Bates said.
McNamara told the seniors, “We owe you a debt of gratitude. You worked your entire lives to make this country great.”
Strickland briefly addressed possible cuts to Pell grants and the potential doubling of interest rates.
“It would hurt our students and their ability to afford an education,” he said. At the end of Bates’ and McNamara’s talks, Strickland returned the podium to talk about a news segment he’d seen earlier that day, featuring two Romney supporters arguing in favor of upping the retirement age.
“I thought to myself, those fellows look pretty comfortable,” Strickland said. “They are so cut off from the lives you and I and most of the people live.”
After the speeches, Barbara Baumgartner of Perrysburg said she was worried for how these program cuts would affect her children, who are in their 40s.
“I’m not sure how it will affect me, but I know it will affect my children,” she said. “I believe [Romney/Ryan] will get rid of social programs they don’t like, like food stamps.”
Sharon Belkofer of Perrysburg Township said she is also concerned for future generations if the GOP ticket wins the election. She said Ryan’s budgetary plan would still increase the deficit by trillions.
“I don’t see how they say this is a good economic plan,” she said.
In response to Strickland’s remarks, Christopher Maloney, the Ohio spokesperson for the Romney for America campaign said, “First off, you need to think who the messenger is.”
“It goes back to that fact that Ted Strickland is having to throw mud to distract from the president’s record,” he added.
“There is only one person in this race who has cut $700 billion from Medicare to pay for a government takeover of our health care system: President Obama. President Obama’s campaign has called these cuts an ‘achievement,’ ” Maloney said a statement.
In regards to Social Security, Maloney said, “Mitt’s proposals will not raise taxes and will not affect today’s seniors or those nearing retirement. He proposes that Social Security should be adjusted in a couple of common sense ways that will put it on the path of solvency and ensure that it is preserved for future generations.”
President Barack Obama has plans to visit Toledo on Labor Day, Sept. 3.