Saturday, October 13, 2012

Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, and Heritage Foundation Facts

Heritage Foundation offers Calm Assessment over Noise of Biden-Ryan Debate

Here are some facts about issues discussed in the debate to help serve as an Election Guide for you 

Vice President Biden and Representative Paul Ryan squared off (Thursday) night for a spirited and intense 90-minute debate at Centre College in Danville, KY. Topics ranged from foreign to domestic, touching on serious issues that Heritage policy experts grapple with every day.
While many commentators were critiquing style, a team of 19 Heritage experts cut through the malarkey and focused on substance. They reacted instantly to the debate last night, providing policy research on the multitude of questions raised by moderator and ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. Below are some of the highlights of our experts’ reactions to the major issues addressed.

We will be discussing the debate in our first-ever Google Hangout today at noon ET. Follow us on Google+ to join the conversation.

Don’t Blame Budget Cuts for Libya Embassy Attack

Biden claimed that Ryan’s budget is partly responsible for the failures of security that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, saying that “The Congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for.”

As Heritage expert Brett Schaefer pointed out on The Foundry: “Overall funding for those programs has increased sharply over the past decade. Indeed, Worldwide Security Protection is more than double what it was a decade ago. … Moreover, the State Department has considerable latitude in allocating security funds based on current events and intelligence on possible threats. Why that latitude was not applied in Libya deserves further scrutiny.”
It’s also worth noting that the U.S. Senate has not actually adopted a budget in more than three years. So it is hard to see how the appropriations process is the appropriate place to start looking for the failures that led to the death of Stevens and his colleagues. The problems run deeper than that.
–Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations, The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom

A Not-So-Balanced Approach on Spending

Biden echoed the all-too-familiar mantra that a so-called “balanced approach” is necessary to fix our spending and debt issues. Sounds fair, right? Except that the policy prescription he and President Obama advocate consists of more stimulus spending – disguised as critical investments, of course — plus massive tax hikes on high-income earners and small businesses, for starters. That’s a double whammy guaranteed to harm the economy.
Ryan rightly points out the sluggish economic growth the United States has experienced recently. The unemployment rate is still outlandishly high, and GDP has grown at a crawling rate. It is hardly the recovery Americans were assured would result from federal stimulus spending. That’s all the more reason not to double down on tax hikes on Americans or propose even more government spending. The economy needs to be free from the threat of Taxmageddon and other tax hikes, and Washington needs to curb its spending problem.
–Emily Goff, Research Associate, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

The Transnational Terrorism Threat
The debate took a quick tour over the landscape of transnational terrorism from Libya to Iraq to Afghanistan to Iran. It was so quick that no one bothered to explain where the war against transnational terrorism stands today.

The case in Libya is tragically all too clear. Al-Qaeda affiliates have established a base in the country. In Iraq, the AP recently reported that since the United States “ended” the war, the number of al-Qaeda in the country has doubled. Iran remains one of the world’s most notorious state sponsors of terrorism. The Taliban and other affiliates are threatening the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Whoever holds the Oval office in January is going to have to deal with a significant transnational terrorism threat. The current U.S. strategy is just not up to the task.
–James Jay Carafano, Deputy Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, and Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies

Obama Tax Hike Would Devastate Jobs

Biden discussed President Obama’s plan to raise the top two marginal tax rates. If that were to occur, the economy would create 710,000 fewer jobs, according the accounting firm Ernst & Young. Jobs would suffer badly because, even though the Vice President said only 3 percent would pay those higher rates, those 3 percent are the biggest, most successful small businesses that do all the hiring. The Ernst & Young study found the Obama tax hike would devastate jobs because those businesses that would pay the higher rates employ 54 percent of the private workforce.

On the other hand, tax reform like Governor Mitt Romney and Ryan propose would lower rates to encourage growth and do so without reducing revenue or shifting the tax burden from high income taxpayers to middle income families. Even the Tax Policy Center, which is the group Obama and Biden cite to criticize the Romney tax plan, does not claim the Romney plan would reduce revenue — never mind by $5 trillion.
–Curtis Dubay, Senior Policy Analyst, Tax Policy, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

The $6,400 Question on Medicare

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