By Beau Biden - 09/04/12 09:00 AM EDT
My grandfather used to say, “Don’t tell me your priorities. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you your priorities.” So, let’s compare the Obama-Biden record in three critical areas — Medicare, taxes and veterans — with what is in the Romney-Ryan budget.
First Medicare, where there is perhaps no better contrast and choice facing Americans.
The president has ended excessive subsidies to insurance companies and eliminated waste, fraud and abuse, adding eight years of solvency to Medicare. He has also helped seniors in the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole to pay less for their prescription drugs, and the doughnut hole will be closed by 2020.
On the other side, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program, taking guaranteed benefits away from seniors and increasing Medicare recipients’ costs by $6,350 per year. If that is not bad enough, Medicare would be bankrupt by the end of their first term.
On taxes, Obama and Biden believe in cutting taxes for the middle class. But Romney and Ryan want to double down on the budget-busting George W. Bush tax cuts, to the tune of $1 trillion in the next 10 years. Of those $1 trillion, $800 billion would go to people making $1 million or more.
Veterans’ issues are obviously very dear to my heart — as they are to the president and my father. Their record shows they know we have a multi-generational commitment to the 1 percent of Americans who have served so bravely and honorably in the two wars our nation has fought in the past 10 years.
Romney and Ryan, however, want to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs, much like they want to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Romney chose Veterans Day last year to propose converting the VA to a voucher system. A veteran coming home from war would be handed a voucher and told to look for his or her own healthcare. Ryan wants to cut the VA budget by $11 billion in the first year.
Romney enthusiastically supported pursuing two wars over the last decade that cost us more than $3 trillion. At the same time, he fought for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent. Now, he wants to double down on those budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans while at the same time cutting benefits to the 1 percent of America that he sent to war.
Obama — the country’s commander in chief — understands that we have been at war on two fronts for 10 years. He understands that 50,000 veterans have returned home wounded and more than 6,500 have been killed — “fallen angels” who returned home through Dover Air Force Base in my home state.
Obama understands George Washington’s words that “the willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.” That is why the president has:
• Increased veterans’ benefits more than any president in 30 years.
• Expanded the Post 9/11 GI Bill to help more veterans and their families afford college.
• Expanded mental healthcare for those thousands of veterans coming home with post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Proposed a $10,000 tax credit for small businesses to hire veterans. To do even more to honor our obligation to veterans, first lady Michelle Obama and my mother, Dr. Jill Biden, have teamed up with Joining Forces to create tens of thousands of jobs for vets.
It has been the greatest honor of my life to wear a military uniform for almost 10 years, including a deployment to Iraq. While there, I had the privilege to serve alongside true American heroes, whose bravery and sacrifice is beyond question.
As Americans, we can agree that our nation has a basic obligation to take care of our veterans. But, I believe we also have a basic obligation to take care of our seniors. I believe we have a basic obligation to take care of our children. I know President Obama and Vice President Biden believe this, and that is why it is so important they have a second term.
Biden is attorney general of Delaware and a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.