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Ryan and Krupp debate the economy and wars

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Mike DuPre'
October 25, 2008
— The race in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District pits a five-term Republican incumbent considered a rising star in his party against a Democratic political newcomer who is receiving financial support that the previous Democratic candidate could not attract.

Democrat Marge Krupp of Pleasant Prairie is trying to deny a sixth term to Rep. Paul Ryan, a Janesville Republican.


Krupp paints Ryan as loyalist of the Bush administration, which, she contends, has gotten the United States into messes abroad and at home.


Ryan is focusing on his own legislative work and his vote for the economic rescue legislation recently enacted by Congress.


Economy

“It is a harrowing situation,” Ryan said. “We’ve never seen an economic storm like this in our lifetimes. We have to suspend the (stock markets) crash.


“This plan, as ugly as it is and as faulty as it is, is not designed to prevent a recession but to prevent a crash and a deeper recession.


“If the credit crunch persists too long, businesses that are good businesses will go out of business,” the Republican said.


The crisis in the credit and equity markets is a once-in-a-100-year event that demands the government intervene with money to stabilize the markets, said Ryan, who has become the go-to guy for House Republicans on fiscal matters.


On the other hand, Krupp, who holds master’s degree in business administration and worked for three large companies, said:


“I would have voted against the bill. With my background in finance, I know the markets look forward and to the future, so we need federal oversight to protect the economy as a whole.


“Bush-Ryan has been on the deregulation bandwagon for at least eight years. This could have been prevented with antitrust laws so (insurance giant) AIG would not have been allowed to get too big to fail. I’m a capitalist, just not a free-for-all capitalist,” the Democrat said.


She said she also opposes the plan “because it continues to put us into deficit spending. The $700 billion is a lot of money, and so our dollar is ever weaker.”


Some of the plan—described as a rescue or bailout depending on political spin—is good, Krupp said, such as “getting credit flowing so people on Main Street can get a car loan and small businesses can get a loan.”


Ryan said that’s a major reason he voted for the bill. Describing credit as the economy’s circulatory system, he said loans must flow freely for a healthy economy.


But Krupp said the stock markets’ volatility and big losses since passage of the plan show that the plan does not require enough federal oversight.


The plan should have included more oversight regarding antitrust laws and financial institutions, she said.


“I agree something had to be done,” Krupp said but added that the legislation should have included a provision that required Congress to reinstate by a certain date oversights enacted in the Great Depression.


“The government should have prevented it in the first place,” she said.


For his part, Ryan said he has advocated for more oversight of mortgage behemoths Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.


The government’s regulation and oversight of the financial sector are piecemeal and holdovers from the 20th century, Ryan said, and they must be overhauled to adapt to 21st century conditions.


Health care

Ryan said he has introduced the most comprehensive health-care plan of any Republican.


His answer to the problem of caring for hard-to-insure people—those with chronic or pre-existing conditions—is to cover them in a government-funded insurance pool.


His plan would protect such people who are uninsured from going bankrupt and relieve the cost burden for their employers if they are covered by company plans, Ryan said.


“Each state would have to do it: either subsidize a (private) pool or place people in a government pool.” he said.


But Krupp said Ryan’s plan for chronic and pre-existing conditions would allow insurance companies to “cherry-pick” healthy people for coverage and would increase taxes by making the government cover unhealthy folks.


“I’m a hard-nosed businesswoman and want to keep our taxes low,” she said. “No new taxes. That (Ryan’s plan) would be a doozy of a new tax.”


Ryan countered that under his plan government funding for pre-existing conditions would come from the $4.5 trillion the government is projected to spend over the next 10 years for health care.


Krupp called for more federal oversight of the health-care industry as a whole with insurance companies and hospitals as the first topics on the table.


“The health insurance companies have to take in their fair share of pre-existing conditions so no one company is stuck with high-risk patients and they’re also not in state or federal pools,” she said.


“I want people, regardless of pre-existing conditions, to have access to what federal employees have and to be able to buy into a large pool of diverse people with good and bad conditions,” Krupp said, adding:


“What’s good for the middle class is good for America, and what’s good for America is affordable access to health care and good-paying jobs.”


Another aspect of his plan, Ryan said, would allow employers to join nationwide insurance pools to break up the monopoly of insurance companies and help private employers lower the cost of covering their workers.


Iraq and Afghanistan

Krupp, a long-time opponent of the Iraq War, supports withdrawing troops “in a measured way, on the order of 16 months so the Iraqi government knows the timetable,” which would not necessarily be public.


The troop surge in Iraq has not created the political stability it was intended to foster, she contended, while the losses in American lives and money continue to mount.


“The cost to each American household has been about $4,700, and the loss in lives and suffering is immeasurable,” she said.


Ryan countered that Iraqis are meeting most political benchmarks, including upcoming provincial elections, because of the increased security provided by the surge.


“The past six months have been a very good run,” he said. “If the dramatic progress continues, we’ll be able to bring the majority of troops home in 2009.”


But Ryan said he would leave such decisions to U.S. military commanders in Iraq and not tie them to a timetable.


Both candidates said more must be done to stabilize the government in Afghanistan and prevent al-Qaida and the Taliban from regaining power.


BIOS

Marge Krupp


Age: 52


Address: 11427 79th Place, Pleasant Prairie.


Job: Resigned as vice president of marketing for Foremost Financial in Racine to campaign full time for Congress.


Education: Master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University in Chicago


Elected posts: None


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Paul Ryan


Age: 38


Address: 221 E. Holmes St., Janesville.


Job: U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.


Education: Bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from Miami University of Ohio


Elected posts: Elected to House of Representatives in 1998, re-elected four times.



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