Verne Strickland / September 30, 2012
|If Congress doesn’t act, “Medicare goes bankrupt in 12 years,” Rouzer asserted. “To do nothing is to let it go bankrupt.”|
But the race is more complicated than that. McIntyre is a conservative “blue dog” Democrat who opposes abortion and has an “A” rating on gun rights from the National Rifle Association. In a recent article in the Congressional trade publication Roll Call, political consultants touted him as a strong candidate in a year when many Democrats are in danger of losing their seats.
Rouzer did not agree with Roll Call’s characterization of McIntyre. “He’s conservative on the social issues, but that’s where it ends,” he said.
Much of Rouzer’s campaign has focused on painting McIntyre as an ally of Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and former House speaker. But he took time on Tuesday to make his own opinions clear. If elected, he promised to try to reduce the country’s $16 trillion debt by doing two things.
First, he’d vote to repeal the new health-care law. Rouzer said the penalty for employers who don’t provide the required coverage by 2014 will hurt many businesses.
“This just kills jobs,” he said. “Those that have money – they’re sitting on it because they’re so scared about the future.”
Rouzer said he would also try to get rid of rules and regulations he called “burdensome,” especially those from the Environmental Protection Agency. For example, the EPA has regulations on dust that hurt agriculture, Rouzer said. EPA regulations have been especially hard on energy companies, he added.
“The energy sector is a key component to economic development,” he said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be tapping into our resources.”
Rouzer also addressed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program for seniors under age 55. The plan hasn’t gained much traction with seniors, who oppose it by a margin of 55 to 24 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.
But Rouzer said a lot of people simply misunderstand the Ryan plan, which he co-authored with an Oregon Democrat. Medicare coverage would remain adequate under the Ryan plan, Rouzer said, but it would encourage competition that would drive down costs.
“There’s a big difference between taking money out of programs and making reforms to the program (that) drive costs down,” he said.
If Congress doesn’t act, “Medicare goes bankrupt in 12 years,” Rouzer added. “To do nothing is to let it go bankrupt.”
Proposals to change Medicare and Social Security are always unpopular, but Rouzer said the country needs to begin having that conversation. He sees increasing entitlement spending as a growing problem that will continue getting worse.
“We’re at a point where we need to have solutions,” he said. “We can’t continue on this spending spree.”
In a leaked videotape that surfaced this past week, Mitt Romney created a huge controversy when he said the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes won’t vote for him.
Although Rouzer didn’t directly address the publicity, he did talk about that very same issue, saying the current tax system is unsustainable.
“You’ve got 50 percent paying taxes and the other 50 percent aren’t – that’s not fair,” he said. “That’s great if you’re the one riding in the wagon but not if you’re the one pulling it.”