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Democratic challengers question Ryan's proposals

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Mike DuPre'
June 3, 2008
— Two of four Democrats seeking to unseat Rep. Paul Ryan from his seat in the House of Representatives have been active and vocal in recent weeks of their criticism of the five-term incumbent.

At least four Democrats have said they are running against Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, and the general election is five months away.


But Paulette Garin of Kenosha and Marge Krupp of Pleasant Prairie have been out front in taking shots at Ryan.


Two other Democratic candidates for the 1st District Congressional seat—Jeff Thomas of Janesville and Mike Hebert of Kenosha—spoke at a meeting of Walworth County Democrats in February.


As of Monday, the only candidates officially registered with the elections division of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board were Ryan and Hebert. Candidates have until July 8 to register.


Ryan recently made a media splash with his “Roadmap for America’s Future”: plans and legislation to reform taxes, accessibility to health insurance, Social Security and Medicare.


Garin issued a point-by-point response:


-- Health insurance: Ryan continues to push his health savings account plan.


“His proposal segregates the high-risk, chronically ill and those with pre-existing conditions to be subsidized by the individual states. So the burden of cost shifts, but is not diminished.”


-- Medicare: Garin thinks Ryan’s plan is another attempt to privatize Medicare. “It appears to be another plan where the insurance industry will get to ‘cherry pick’ amongst the healthiest. His proposal limits your choice of insurance providers to a pre-determined list.”


-- Social Security: Garin again thinks it’s another move toward privatization.


-- Taxes: Ryan’s plan would basically create a two-tier flat tax system. Garin questions how the revenue shortfall created by a flat tax would be made up.


“We already have a staggering deficit, driven by defense spending, and that does not even include the cost of the Iraq War,” she said. “It’s just the same old GOP strategy to demonize taxes and attract voters when in reality the plan will most likely only benefit the wealthiest amongst us.”


Krupp also ripped Ryan’s roadmap.


His Social Security proposal calls for privatization of Social Security that some say could lead to the program’s destabilization, she said.


Ryan’s plan to allow Americans to buy healthcare plans that they choose “is the same kind of proposition that the Bush administration has been giving the American people the past eight years,” Krupp said. “Why is Paul Ryan trying to punish our working families and seniors?”


Krupp and Garin also charged that Ryan’s proposals are influenced by the campaign donations he receives from insurance and pharmaceutical companies.


Krupp blasted Ryan for voting against the “New G.I. Bill,” which proposed a tax increase for those making more than $500,000 a year to pay for a college education program for veterans returning from post-9/11 conflicts.


“Ryan's dogged and dangerous pursuit of tax cutting, despite his voting for the (Iraq) war, almost put the dreams of college for millions of returning veterans out of reach,” she said.



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