Patrick Murphy compares Allen West to Paul Ryan

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It didn’t take long for the Irish wars to begin. At 9 a.m. Saturday, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney announced that his running mate would be U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. At 3:44 p.m., Patrick Murphy, the Democrat who will be facing Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West for Florida’s newly drawn 18th Congressional District, condemned the appointment in an email to supporters, titled “West = Ryan.”

Murphy’s email starts out this way: “Amazing. Congressman Paul Ryan – the author of the Medicare-ending, education-slashing Ryan Budget Plan – was just selected as the Republican running mate. Allen West has been the #1 champion of the Ryan Plan, proudly voting for it twice and saying it would be ‘suicide’ to oppose.”

Let’s take Murphy’s claims item by item.

Medicare-ending: Medicare is on the path to self-destruction on its own without the help of either Ryan or West. The latest government calculations indicate that if we do nothing, Medicare will go bankrupt in 2024, and Social Security will go belly up in 2033.

Education-slashing: Since then-President Jimmy Carter established the Department of Education, the United States ranking fell to 25th in math, 12th in reading and 20th in science. Basic skills have been replaced with lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender awareness, political correctness and sex education. Clearly, directing education from Washington doesn’t work.

Ryan Budget Plan: Democrats love to bash the “Ryan budget plan,” while lacking the initiative and courage to propose their own.

Suicide to oppose: As Allen West indicated, it would indeed be suicide to oppose the Ryan budget plan, or something similar. The House keeps approving budgets, and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., lacks the nerve to even bring them up for a floor vote. As a result, government limps along, financed by a never-ending series of continuing resolutions, which sink us deeper into debt.

Murphy finishes by sounding the alarm that Medicare will be replaced with a voucher system, 10 million Pell grants will be eliminated, and the Bush tax cuts will be made permanent.

As indicated above, if Congress doesn’t act, Medicare will die and be replaced with nothing. A voucher system would provide seniors the means to shop for a health insurance policy — specific to their individual needs — from private insurers. It would take the federal government out of the insurance business.

As for Pell grants, which are for low-income students, at the risk of sounding heartless, if they’re eliminated, my answer is, “So what?” Whatever happened to student loans, merit scholarships and working your way through college? Also, some independent studies suggest that the Pell grant program itself is less than successful.

As for making the Bush tax cuts permanent, I say bring it on. Raising taxes in a stagnant economy would do nothing but make the economy more stagnant. The accounting firm of Ernst and Young recently reported that if taxes were raised in the present economy, as many as 710,000 jobs would be lost.

Here’s my challenge to Patrick Murphy. Put up or shut up — come up with your own budget plan. You’re fond of saying in your ads that you’re in favor of compromise, but compromise is impossible until you put a plan of your own on the table. Criticizing the Ryan plan isn’t a proposal — it’s an opinion, and one that’s both naive and unsupported by the facts.

Murphy titled his email “West = Ryan” as a dig. Given the above, West is in good company, as is Romney.

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