HH: I begin this hour with the next vice president of the United States, Congressman Paul Ryan. Congressman, welcome back, good to have you on the program.
PR: Hey, good to be back with you, Hugh. How are you doing?
HH: I’m great, but I have to play for you the man you’re going to be debating gave a speech today, Joe Biden. And here’s what he had to say.
JB: How, you know, all kidding aside, with all the boos, I mean, we can stop all that malarkey. Look, guys, think of, this is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest. How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes when the middle class has been buried the last four years, how in Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts. And look…
HH: What do you think of that, Congressman Ryan?
PR: (laughing) There he goes again. Look, the middle class has been buried over the last four years. That’s exactly what I just heard Joe Biden say. I couldn’t agree more. They’re buried in debt, they’re buried in regulations. They’ve been buried with tax increases. They’ve been buried with Obamacare. And there’s more to come if Barack Obama gets reelected. The only way to stop this, and to stop digging, is to elect Mitt Romney. This is a very clear choice campaign. And I find, I get just humor out of burying people in tax hikes with these tax cuts. I think that’s kind of what he basically said.
PR: Look, we’re talking about tax reform that lowers everybody’s tax rates 20% across the board. That means more take home pay. That means more economic growth. That means everybody – middle income families, successful small businesses keep more of what they earn in the first place. You see, there’s a very different approach. Instead of having higher tax rates, sending your money to Washington, and then maybe getting some of it back if you do what Washington approves of, we believe people ought to keep their money in their pocketbooks, in their businesses in the first place, because it is theirs after all. What Mitt Romney is proposing are tax rate cuts that cut taxes for people, which grows the economy.
HH: I believe it was Michael Kinsley, Congressman Ryan, who defined a gaffe as when the truth is spoken at an inappropriate moment. It seems to me that Vice President Biden has spoken the truth here. Do you expect this is going to have legs and resonate right through the beginning of the debate tomorrow night?
PR: Of course I do, I mean, because look, you can’t hide from the truth. He’s right. The middle class has been buried over the last four years. They’re slipping farther behind. More people are in poverty than they have been in a generation, 15% of Americans. For every person who found a job last month, nearly four people stopped looking for a job. 23 million Americans are struggling for work for today. Household income in America over the last four years went down over $4,000 dollars on average. So yes, they are being buried. And look what President Obama is promising – a national energy tax to bury them in more energy bill debt, meaning higher energy prices. He’s promising more tax increases. Of the 21 taxes in Obamacare, a dozen of them hit middle class families. Look at the borrowing we have. Four budgets, four years, four trillion dollar deficits, and no end in sight. This is burying the middle class. This is burying our country in a mountain of debt, and it’s bringing us closer toward a debt crisis.
HH: Now Congressman, we had a raft of bad news since I spoke to you last week. GDP in the second quarter was revised down, the leading economic indicators fell, the CEO survey by the Business Roundtable took its third greatest drop in history, we had forecasts from FedEx and some railroads showing that the transportation index is falling. It seems to me that we are tipping into a second recession. What do you think?
PR: We’re sure headed that way. The Chicago Purchasing Managers index down below 50 for the first time since 2009, a huge indicator of bad things to come. So all those economic indexes that we look at to see where is this economy headed, they look very bad. Very rarely does your economy get downgraded, or do your forecasts go down as much as they’ve done. So when you’ve seen growth revised down from 1.7% to 1.4%, that’s really rare. That’s not even what economists thought we were going to have. And so because of the fiscal cliff, because of the President’s lack of leadership, and because of the fact that the Obama economic agenda failed not because it was stopped, but because it was passed, that’s why we are where we are. Let’s never forget President Obama came in with one party rule, super majorities, and the ability to pass virtually everything of his choosing in his first two years, and he did that. And he spent the last two years regulating. And so this is where our economy is right now. It’s in stall speed. It is flat-lining. Mitt Romney and I are proposing very specific pro-growth solutions, and the choice in this election is clear. Do you want dynamic economy with growth and opportunity? Or do you want stagnation that fosters dependency? Dependency or opportunity? Growth or stagnation? That’s the choice we have in front of us.
HH: It was announced today that Lockheed Martin is not going to be sending out the layoff notices that will result because of the sequestration. Do you think the administration is instructing contractors to bury their bad news until after the election?
PR: You know, I just have no idea. I’m sure, I know there’s an issue with respect to the Warren Act, and what law triggers what notices have to go out. And it’s my understanding that various contractors have different interpretations of what their obligations are. The point is we have these devastating Defense cuts that are coming. The reason they are happening is because of the President’s failure to lead, because the President insisted on these Defense cuts as part of the Budget Control Act. The House passed the bill that I drafted and passed to the floor to prevent these devastating Defense cuts, to cut government spending in other areas. Mitt Romney and I are really clear. We are not going to gut our military. We are not going to let these devastating cuts occur. It projects weakness abroad, it unravels our foreign policy, it undermines the primary mission of the federal government. The number one mission is secure our national defense. And so not only does it hurt jobs at companies like Lockheed Martin, or states like Virginia and Florida, but it also compromises our national security. And the chief executive, the commander-in-chief, is in charge of securing our national security. And look at where we are now.
HH: Let me talk about two other stories in our remaining three or four minutes here, Congressman. These are the attempts to bury the Benghazi story, and then the Univision story aired on their program Here And Now, that 16 teenagers were massacred using Fast & Furious weapons in Ciudad Juarez in January, 2010. In either order, is the administration covering up Fast & Furious and the events around the Benghazi assassination?
PR: Well, gosh, I mean, have Darrell Issa come on your show, and he can walk you through Fast & Furious, and all the foot-dragging and the delay of giving Congress information on Fast & Furious. This is why Mitt Romney and I have said that Eric Holder should go, because of his conduct on Fast & Furious. With respect to Benghazi, you know, they first claimed that this was a spontaneous act of a mob reacting to a YouTube video. We now know that this was clearly a planned terrorist attack. That means we have had a terrorist attack, and four Americans are dead in Libya. This would be a tragedy if it were an isolated incident in and of itself. But the problem is, it’s indicative of a broader problem, which is the unraveling of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon, 20,000 Syrians are dead, the Russians stop us every step of the road, and we are projecting weakness, the Middle East is in chaos, our flags are being burned around the world. This is the result of the Obama foreign policy. Mitt Romney believes very strongly in a strong America, in peace through strength, and being proud to stand up for our values in an unequivocal way. And that’s the kind of foreign policy you’ll get from Mitt Romney, because when America is strong, America’s more safe.
HH: But there is an effort, the President at the Univision forum, was asked both about Fast & Furious and Benghazi. He simply misstated the situation in both cases.
PR: That’s right.
HH: Do you expect the same to happen tomorrow night? And do you expect the moderator or the media to call him on it if he does it again, which is to simply not tell the truth on both of those instances?
PR: I never expect third parties to do this. I think that’s our obligation. And yes, we do, I mean, look. We’re used to getting half-truths from the administration. Look at what they’re talking about with our tax plan, a plan to cut taxes, to reduce tax rates. They’re trying to actually suggest that it’s a tax increase? Give me a break. The only person who’s proposing to raise taxes, and the only person who has raised taxes that’s running for president is Barack Obama. So yes, I do expect these kinds of myths to be told in these debates. We’re going to call them on this. And the whole point of this, Hugh, is this. We’re going to give the country a choice. It’s up to the people of this country to decide what kind of country they want to have, what kind of people we want to be. We’re not just picking a president for four years. We’re picking a path for America that will last an entire generation. We understand what’s at stake. We understand our founding principles are being compromised. We understand that this country is on a very dangerous path, and we understand, like Joe Biden just said today, that the middle class has been buried for the last four years. We’ve got to stop the digging. We have the pro-growth policies to do that. And we do that by electing Mitt Romney.
HH: Congressman Paul Ryan, thank you so much for spending time with us today. We’ll talk to you again soon. Good luck in the debate when you get Vice President Biden there to ask him these questions directly.
PR: Thanks, Hugh, have a good one.
End of interview.