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DNC memo: A preview of tonight’s Republican debate, GOP weekend events in Florida

DNC Memo

From: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

To: Interested Parties

Date: September 22, 2011

Re: A Preview of Tonight’s Republican Debate, GOP Weekend Events in Florida

As the Republican candidates for president meet tonight in Orlando for their next debate, the American people can expect to see another right-wing variety show—with the entire GOP field saying literally anything they think the Tea Party will want to hear. What you will not hear them talk about, and what they refused to talk about for the previous five debates, is a single new idea or proposal that will create jobs in Florida or around the country or help middle-class Americans get back on their feet.

Tonight’s debate will confirm that the Republican candidates have no vision for moving our country forward. Instead, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and the other Republican candidates want to deliver more of the same failed policies of the past that the Tea Party is demanding and that Washington Republicans are pursuing—policies that would dismantle Social Security, end Medicare as we know it, and offer more handouts and tax cuts to corporations, special interests and the very wealthiest few at the expense of seniors and middle-class Americans.

The GOP presidential candidates will likely double down on their support for repealing protections that were put in place to defend consumers and prevent a repeat of the financial crisis – they want to give more to the wealthiest and biggest corporations, and go back to letting Wall Street and the insurance companies write their own rules. We all saw how that turned out. These policies led to the financial crisis and the recession we’re still recovering from.

These policies are wrong for Florida’s seniors and middle-class families, and they are wrong for the country. During tonight’s debate, and while the Republican candidates set up shop in Florida this weekend for the Republican Party’s Presidency 5 straw poll and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, we’ll see Romney, Perry and the rest of the GOP field seek to win their party’s nomination by desperately courting the far-right Tea Party and its ideology that would hurt middle class Americans.

Romney and Perry: Leading the Pack on Destroying Social Security, Medicare

During the last debate, GOP frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry took turns trading shots on Social Security and a whole host of issues. The reality is that when it comes to their plans for Social Security and Medicare, which millions of seniors rely on to make ends meet, Romney and Perry are equally wrong. They both seek to eliminate Social Security as it currently exists, threatening to dismantle it entirely or gamble with the program’s funds in the stock market—a scheme that would devastate Social Security and put seniors at risk, especially during rocky economic times. And Romney and Perry have also both expressed their support for the Republican budget plan which passed the House that would end Medicare as we know it.

On Social Security, no matter how you slice it—from the rhetoric of one candidate to the stated position of another—Republicans would undermine economic security for seniors. If Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or the rest of the field had their way and President Bush had been successful in privatizing Social Security, the consequences for our country would have been disastrous:

During President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005, the Campaign for America’s Future issued a report estimating that “a typical 20-year-old worker, who has just begun paying into the Social Security system, can expect to see a cut of $152,000 over their retirement.” [Campaign for America's Future, 3/1/05]

Gary Thayer, Chief Economist for A.G. Edwards, predicted that President Bush’s privatization plan would have added between $1 trillion to $2 trillion to our national deficit. [MSNBC, 12/28/04]

The Washington Post reported that privatization would have accounted for the loss of “more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues” to pay for private accounts over the first seven years. [Washington Post, 2/8/06]

The American people soundly rejected this dangerous plan, and yet Mitt Romney has been touting the benefits of Social Security privatization for years. What Romney and Perry do not understand is that Social Security, like Medicare, is something Americans have earned through their own hard work—it’s not a handout, but rather something Americans have paid for throughout their careers and are counting on in their retirement. Florida’s seniors are certainly counting on it, but Romney, Perry and the rest of the Republican candidates aren’t listening to them. They are too busy taking their cues from the Tea Party and Congressional Republicans and threatening to shatter a decades-long compact with the American people.

Republicans Have No Plan for Job Creation or Economic Recovery

During tonight’s debate, you will not hear a single Republican candidate offer a real plan for creating jobs or building our economic recovery. All you will hear are the same tired economic policies that failed us in the Bush years, which Congressional Republicans have continued to pursue and which the Tea Party would double down on. Such policies have and once again, would hurt our country and help millionaires, billionaires, and special interests at the expense of middle class families, seniors, and students.

While the President has proposed a plan, the American Jobs Act, that would get more Americans back to work and put more money back into the pockets of middle class families and small businesses, Republicans are playing from the same playbook they always do: shower the most fortunate with tax giveaways, slash critical initiatives for seniors, students and the middle class to the bone and all will be well. Such an approach has failed Americans and our economy over and over and over again—yet Republicans continue to cling to the belief that if they just try it all again – this time it will work. It won’t – and the American people know it.

That’s why repeatedly – in poll after poll – Americans express support for the President’s balanced approach to job growth and deficit reduction.

According to the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 71 percent of Americans support reducing the deficit through both spending cuts and tax increases. Only 21 percent support reducing the deficit through spending cuts only. Among independents, 70 percent support raising taxes and cutting spending, compared to just 19 percent who support only spending cuts.

An August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 56 percent of Americans thought that reducing the deficit by cutting spending and increasing taxes was totally or mostly acceptable. In contrast, 60 percent of Americans believed that cutting spending without an increase in taxes—including on corporations or the wealthy—was mostly or totally unacceptable.

And, a USA Today/Gallup poll following the debt ceiling agreement found that the GOP candidates are on the wrong side of the American people both on how to reduce the deficit and deal with Social Security and Medicare. That poll found thatincreasing revenues garners the most support of five possible ways to reduce our debt. Sixty-six percent of Americans—including 45 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents—support increasing income taxes for the wealthiest Americans in order to reduce the debt. Sixty percent of Americans—including 51 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents—support increasing tax revenues by making major changes to the federal tax code. Compare that to the42 percent of Americanswho favor making significant changes to Social Security and Medicare to reduce their costs.

But perhaps no one should be surprised at how out of step Republican presidential candidates are on the issue of dealing with America’s fiscal situation and jobs. After all—they have all raised their right hands in recent debates to declare they would reject even a 10 to 1 spending cuts to revenue deal to balance the budget.

Conclusion

Unlike the President, who is actively working to move forward with an economic vision and jobs plan that will put our country back on track, the Republican candidates in tonight’s debate will continue to appease the increasingly influential Tea Party, which has been afforded more and more power by Congressional Republicans. Their ideas are non-existent, and we know exactly what direction they will take Florida or our country in—we saw it for eight straight years before President Obama took office, and it brought our nation to the brink of disaster. Our nation simply cannot afford what Republicans will be offering in Orlando tonight.