Michael Honda is a Democratic U.S. Representative from California and serves on the House Budget and Appropriations Committees.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Here at the Democratic National Convention, there is a clear consensus that we are in a fight for the future of America. Anyone who watched the Republican National Convention speeches knows this. Anyone who has witnessed the radical Romney-Ryan rhetoric knows this. We are fighting for the basic core beliefs that held America together for 200 years.
I worked with Rep. Paul Ryan on the House Budget Committee. I've seen what he's capable of and what he wants to do to our country. It's not pretty. I voted "no" on Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity [for the 1 percent]" and offered, with my colleagues on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a "Budget for All". Everyone. Let's compare Ryan's Budget (which benefits the rich) to our Budget for All:
Our budget preserves and strengthens Medicare. Their budget ends the Medicare guarantee, replaces it with vouchers, and makes it dangerously more expensive for seniors and disabled.
Our budget preserves Medicaid for all. Their budget cuts Medicaid funding by 34 percent, turns away tens of millions of needy people, and turns the program into risky block grants.
Our budget forges a fair tax code for everyone by ending tax cuts for top 2 percent and extends tax relief for 98 percent of Americans. Their budget guts every indispensable social program to pay for $1 trillion in tax cuts for the rich.
Our budget forges a 21st century infrastructure for America by making essential upgrades in infrastructure, driving job creation, and economic competitiveness. Their budget cuts transportation funding by 25 percent.
Our budget works to ensure America's economic competitiveness by making investments in crucial education programs, like Head Start, Pell grants and STEM. Their budget cuts education funding by 45 percent.
But it gets worse. We're now fighting for the Statue of Liberty's legacy, to welcome immigrant communities to our shores so they too can pursue the American dream.
We're now fighting for women's rights. Again. We're well into the 21st century, and yet we're still fighting for gender equality and basic women's rights.
We're fighting to ensure that schools get funded, so teachers don't have to work for free and parents won't have to fundraise to ensure kids get a basic education.
We're fighting to keep alive the social support systems that have helped our seniors, our poor, our disabled, and those of us who have needed a helping hand.
Am I being extreme? You tell me: Romney and Ryan will privatize and voucherize Medicaid immediately, Medicare for the next generation, and Social Security shortly. Translation: You are alone in your negotiations with private insurance, private healthcare, and private investors. Good luck.
Romney and Ryan will scrap employer-funded healthcare; do away with unions, labor standards, and labor protections; and increases to minimum wage. Translation: You are alone in your negotiations for workers compensation, time off, medical leave, and cost of living adjustments.
Romney and Ryan will eviscerate consumer protections that protect you from big banks, big credit card companies, Wall Street, and the speculative financial industry. Translation: You are alone in your negotiations with banks regarding foreclosures, credit card fees, risky investments, and mortgage fraud.
Romney and Ryan would cut education by 45 percent, cut infrastructure by 24 percent, cut Medicaid by 34 percent, and force 45 million off health insurance.
This will be America's future if we fail to re-elect President Barack Obama. As vice chair of the Democratic Party, I've been pounding pavement in over 30 states to ensure Obama's re-election and I need your help in reminding the public:
President Barack Obama has done more to diversify and protect our workforce, employ and retrain Americans, fix our failing infrastructure, incentivize business to build it in America, provide for the health of all Americans, and keep our kids in school, than any past president in recent history.