Vice Presidential Debate Transcript

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RYAN: A voucher is you go to your mailbox, get a check, and buy something. Nobody's proposing that. Barack Obama four years ago running for president said if you don't have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a good record to run on, paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Make a big election about small ideas.

RADDATZ: You were one of the few lawmakers to stand with President Bush when he was seeking to partially privatize Social Security.

RYAN: For younger people. What we said then, and what I've always agreed is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system.

BIDEN: You saw how well that worked.

RYAN: That's not what Mitt Romney's proposing. What we're saying is no changes for anybody 55 and above.

BIDEN: What Mitt Romney is proposing...

RYAN: And then the kinds of changes we're talking about for younger people like myself is don't increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as everybody else. Slowly raise the retirement age over time.

BIDEN: Martha...

RYAN: It wouldn't get to the age of 70 until the year 2103 according to the actuaries.

Now, here's...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Quickly, Vice President?

BIDEN: Quickly. The bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you're 40 -- in your 40s now you will pay $2,600 a year -- you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you're in your 20s now, you get $4,700 (inaudible) less.

The idea of changing, and change being in this case to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way.

These -- look, these guys haven't been big on Medicare from the beginning. Their party's not been big on Medicare from the beginning. And they've always been about Social Security as little as you can do.

Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this -- a man who introduced a bill that would raise it 40 -- $6,400 a year; knowing it and passing it, and Romney saying he'd sign it, or me and the president?

RYAN: That statistic was completely misleading. But more importantly...

BIDEN: That's -- there are the facts right...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: This is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on: try to scare people from voting for you. If you don't get ahead of this problem, it's going to...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Medicare beneficiaries -- there are more beneficiaries...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: We're going to -- we're going to move...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: ... very simple question...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: We're not going to run away. Medicare and Social Security did so much for my own family. We are not going to jeopardize this program, but we have to save it...

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: You are jeopardizing this program. You're changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to premium support. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket and the families I know and the families I come from, they don't have the money to pay more out...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: That's why we're saying more for lower income people and less for higher income people.

RADDATZ: Gentlemen, I would like to move on to a very simple question for both of you, and something tells me I won't get a very simple answer, but let me ask you this.

BIDEN: I gave you a simple answer. He's raising the cost of Medicare.

RADDATZ: OK, on to taxes. If your ticket is elected, who will pay more in taxes? Who will pay less? And we're starting with Vice President Biden for two minutes.

BIDEN: The middle class will pay less and people making $1 million or more will begin to contribute slightly more. Let me give you one concrete example. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts -- we are arguing that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. Of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, $800 million -- billion of that goes to people making a minimum of $1 million.

We see no justification in these economic times for those, and they're patriotic Americans. They're not asking for this continued tax cut. They're not suggesting it, but my friends are insisting on it; 120,000 families by continuing that tax cut will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next 10 years and their income is an average of $8 million.

We want to extend permanently the middle-class tax cut for -- permanently, from the Bush middle-class tax cut. These guys won't allow us to. You know what they're saying? We say "let's have a vote -- let's have a vote on the middle-class tax cut and let's have a vote on the upper (ph) tax cut; let's go ahead and vote on it."

They're saying no. They're holding hostage the middle class tax cut to the super wealthy. And on top of that, they've got another tax cut coming that's $5 trillion that all of the studies point out will in fact give another $250 million -- yeah, $250,000 a year to those 120,000 families and raise taxes for people who are middle income with a child by $2,000 a year.

This is unconscionable. There is no need for this. The middle class got knocked on their heels. The great recession crushed them. They need some help now. The last people who need help are 120,000 families for another -- another $500 billion tax cut over the next 10 years.

RADDATZ: Congressman?

RYAN: Our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs. It's a plan that's estimated to create 7 million jobs. Now, we think that government taking 28 percent of a family and business's income is enough. President Obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8 percent of a small business's income.

RYAN: Look, if you taxed every person and successful business making over $250,000 at 100 percent, it would only run the government for 98 days. If everybody who paid income taxes last year, including successful small businesses, doubled their income taxes this year, we'd still have a $300 billion deficit. You see? There aren't enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending.

And so the next time you hear them say, "Don't worry about it, we'll get a few wealthy people to pay their fair share," watch out, middle class, the tax bill's coming to you.

That's why we're saying we need fundamental tax reform. Let's take a look at it this way. Eight out of 10 businesses, they file their taxes as individuals, not as corporations. And where I come from, overseas, which is Lake Superior, the Canadians, they dropped their tax rates to 15 percent. The average tax rate on businesses in the industrialized world is 25 percent, and the president wants the top effective tax rate on successful small businesses to go above 40 percent.

Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. This one tax would actually tax about 53 percent of small-business income. It's expected to cost us 710,000 jobs. And you know what? It doesn't even pay for 10 percent of their proposed deficit spending increases.

What we are saying is, lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes, primarily to the higher-income people. We have three bottom lines: Don't raise the deficit, don't raise taxes on the middle class, and don't lower the share of income that is borne by the high-income earners.

He'll keep saying this $5 trillion plan, I suppose. It's been discredited by six other studies. And even their own deputy campaign manager acknowledged that it wasn't correct.

RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent. You have refused -- and, again -- to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics? Or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?

RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the...

RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the...

(CROSSTALK) BIDEN: That would -- that would be a first for the Republican Congress.

RADDATZ: Do you know exactly what you're doing?

RYAN: Look -- look at what Mitt Romney -- look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that.

What we're saying is, here's our framework. Lower tax rates 20 percent. We raised about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forego about $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions. And so what we're saying is, deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation...

BIDEN: Can I translate?

RYAN: ... so we can lower tax rates across the board. Now, here's why I'm saying this. What we're saying is, here's the framework...

BIDEN: I hope I'm going to get time to respond to this.

RADDATZ: You'll get time.

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