Courier Staff Writer
At his Ottumwa campaign stop Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden’s goal was to present President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as starkly different opponents.
Biden touched on Medicare, jobs, the importance of the middle class and taxes at his campaign stop at Bridge View Center Tuesday morning. Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge said 476 people turned out to listen to the vice president.
“I don’t think it would be considered hyperbole or an exaggeration to suggest that this is the most important election, creating the starkest choice between candidates we’ve seen in our lifetime,” Biden said.
Biden said what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan have done their whole careers and are proposing to do is inconsistent with what they said at the Republican National Convention.
“If you listen to Romney and Ryan these days, you’d think they thought of Medicare,” Biden said. “You’d think it was a Republican idea.”
Biden said that while Romney and Ryan have said Medicare benefits have decreased under this administration, of the 48 million people on Medicare today, some have saved hundreds on prescription drugs and are able to access preventive care such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Biden said under Romney and Ryan’s proposed Medicare plan, “immediately the 48 million American already on Medicare would lose benefits.”
“What they don’t tell you is the 530,000 Iowans already on Medicare would lose benefits immediately,” he said. “This Medicare proposal would become insolvent in 2016. These guys are not on your level right now.”
Biden said their proposed “voucher” or “coupon” plan would work well for those in great health, “but if you have a pre-existing condition — and most of us at 65 have something — you’re not going to have enough money.”
While Biden agrees with Republicans that an urgency is necessary to act on the national debt.
“But not one single time do they tell you that the last time a Democrat held this office, the budget was balanced and the debt was coming down,” he said.
Biden said Obama inherited a debt of more than $1 trillion, and the economic recession kicked in when his administration was starting. And he said no progress has been made on bringing the debt down because “anything to reduce the debt, requiring even $1, one dime in additional taxes on people making over $1 million, they voted against.”
Romney was a “pioneer in outsourcing” when he ran Bain Capital, Biden said, sending jobs overseas and making money doing it.
“His new proposal is changing the corporate tax code, it’s called a ‘territorial tax,’” Biden said. “It means if ... an American goes over to China and starts a company, hires thousands of people and makes a profit, the only tax they have to pay is the Chinese tax. They can bring the profit here and not pay any tax. Studies show that would create 100,000 jobs, all of them overseas.”
Biden said that Obama understands jobs need to return to America, “and that’s why the president stepped up and rescued the auto industry when Romney said if we do that we would make General Motors the living dead.”
Biden said his father had a saying: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”
Giving tax cuts to the wealthy isn’t the right move, Biden said.
“Taxes on middle class families with children will go up $2,000 a year [under Romney’s plan],” Biden said. “And it would give another $250,000 tax cut to 125 families who are already getting half a trillion in tax cuts.”
He said this plan would end in “catastrophe” for the middle class and America falling back into a recession it’s struggling to escape.
“When I hear Romney and Ryan, the new Republican party talk about America being in decline, I don’t recognize the country they live in,” Biden said to cheers and applause. “There is no give up in America. Gentlemen, it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people.”