Below are ten documented things that every American Jew should know about Republican vice presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).
1. Ryan twice authored regressive budgets that drew concern—and even ire—from many in the Jewish community because of the deep cuts they made to vital social safety net programs that would strand the poor, many in the middle class, seniors, children, and other groups who depend on government assistance. Organizations that panned his budget included the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B’nai B’rith, and the National Council of Jewish Women, among others.
2. Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program—which would dramatically increase the burden on seniors by leaving them to pick up the tab.
3. Ryan wants to replace Medicaid with block grants which would severely impact millions of Americans—including seniors, the disabled, and the poor—who desperately need the basic guarantees offered by Medicaid.
4. Ryan has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and advanced a plan to turn it into a privatized program. Under Ryan’s vision, future retirement benefits would be pegged to the risky ups and downs of the stock market instead of providing guaranteed assistance to those who paid into Social Security and earned it.
5. Ryan has little—if any—foreign policy or national security experience, yet pushed for cuts to the foreign aid budget that are strongly opposed by the pro-Israel community. Also indicative of his inexperience, Ryan had the chutzpah to accuse America’s top generals of lying—for which he later apologized.
6. Ryan—like the rest of the House Republican caucus—has voted at least six times against measures to strengthen Iran sanctions during the 112th Congress simply because those measures were advanced by Democrats.
7. Ryan is as anti-choice as they come. He is a proud supporter of so-called “personhood” efforts and even floated the idea of allowing states to criminalize abortions and the women who receive them. Ryan voted to defund Planned Parenthood four times and is opposed to the President’s contraception compromise.
8. Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects equal pay for women.
9. Ryan is a staunch opponent of equal rights for gays and lesbians—including marriage equality and military service.
10. Ryan wants to eliminate millions of dollars in funding for federal Pell Grants that allow low income students to attend college.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.