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Ed Martin Unfairly Asked To Defend His Own Public Policy Positions

In the South County Times, I see that Ed Martin has conveniently decided that he doesn't actually know anything about the the budget plan from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan that he strongly endorsed in public forums earlier this year.

"Starting in 2005, my first year in Congress, President Bush proposed privatizing Social Security," said Carnahan. "I was passionately opposed to that, and thought it put Social Security funds at risk. And now that we've had the recession, and even after what happened to the stock market, the Republican leaders and Mr. Martin have signed on to this Paul Ryan (Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.) plan, to propose privatizing Social Security and Medicare again."

Martin said if Ryan is calling for privatization, he would oppose his plan, which he said he hasn't yet read.

"If Ryan is calling for privatization?"  The details of of Ryan's plan are hardly a secret, and it's hard to find an article about his "Road Map for America's Future" that doesn't include a discussion of the Social Security proposal.  The goal of private Social Security accounts was outlined in Ryan's op-ed introducing the road map, it's easily found on his website describing the plan (though you di have to go to the trouble of clicking on the words "Social Security" to find out what he thinks!), etc. 

But now that it's October, Martin expects us to believe that he's completely unaware of one the central -- and most controversial -- provisions of the plan he says he would help support in Congress. Uh-huh. 

In Martin's preferred narrative, we're asked to instead believe that Martin endorsed an overhaul of federal spending on multiple occasions that he actually hasn't bothered to read or learn about.  That is such a better scenario! 

So let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment.  For Martin's edification --- and yours -- here's a summary of the proposed Medicare and Social Security changes ol' Eddie doesn't know anything about, as printed in the Washington Post:

To move us to surpluses, Ryan's budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher's growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care, Social Security gets guaranteed, private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement, further underscoring how ancillary the program is to our budget problem.

No wonder Martin can't remember these details!   They're dramatic and would completely change Medicare and Social Security as we know it.   But not so dramatic that they deterred Martin from openly expressing support for the proposal on multiple occasions in he campaign. 

In April, Martin tweeted that Ryan is "THE man with THE plan!" And at a a town hall in March, Martin expressed strong support for the overarching goals of Ryan's 'Road Map."  

Watching the video, it's obvious that Martin is familiar with Ryan and at least the general outline of the plan.  He does give caveats about not knowing all of the specifics in the plan, but makes is clear that he understands Ryan's general proposals for Medicare and Social Security -- the most discussed and most controversial aspects of the plan.

It's clear to me that Martin wants credit from conservative Republicans for supporting a plan that they like, but doesn't want to be held accountable for anything that's actually in the plan, except it's stated goals of balancing the budget.  Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. 

In summary: If you're a candidate for Congress and don't want to be held accountable for taking strong positions in favor of a legislative proposal, don't endorse that proposal again and again.

Video credit: Michelle Moore



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