Today, on the Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour on WAMU Radio, Tim Kaine discussed his approach to economic growth, his balanced strategy to address the country's fiscal challenges, and his unwavering commitment to important programs like Social Security and Medicare that serve Virginia's seniors.
"I was governor of Virginia in the worst recession since the 1930's but we were Forbes' most business friendly state every year, we were bottom ten unemployment and top ten median income, triple A bond rated. We focused on small business success, education and infrastructure investments, and on having the right regulatory and tax balance. That's what I'd do nationally to help the economy you know do some of the things the Virginia economy is doing," Kaine said.
When asked about his approach to avoid devastating sequestration cuts that would hit Virginia hard and jeopardize national security, Kaine laid our his middle ground approach to preventing these deep cuts and improving the fiscal position of the country.
"A middle ground is make cuts but also find revenues. Because if we do what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan but especially my opponent George Allen says - and recently in a debate he said he wouldn't even have a dollar of revenue for ten dollars of cuts - so if we balance the federal budget all through cuts, we hammer defense, we hammer Medicare, we hammer education, and so what we need to do is find a middle ground," said Kaine. "What I've proposed is this: let the Bush tax cuts expire over 500,000 dollars. That will produce more than 500 billion dollars that we can then use to soften the sequester cuts, the cuts to defense, and the cuts to health care."
Throughout the conversation, Kaine affirmed his commitment to the programs Virginia seniors rely on like Medicare and Social Security and reiterated his rejection of the Ryan budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher program.
"The Ryan budget, which Romney now supports, which George Allen has praised, is a budget that would fundamentally transform Medicare. It would, as you say Kojo, turn Medicare into a program where once a senior hit a threshold of expenses, Medicare would no longer cover and those costs would be put onto the shoulders of seniors. I think that's not a cost reducer, it's a cost shifter. The seniors who would pick up those costs are vulnerable people who are retired. They're not going to have the ability to pick them up," Kaine said. "My argument on Medicare is don't do what Ryan and Allen and Romney want to do, don't shift costs, let's reduce costs."
During the interview, Kaine was asked by Tom Sherwood to explain the sharp contrast in his position on Social Security compared to that of George Allen. Sherwood noted that Allen's position in a recent letter to the editor, "sounds like a variation of the privatization of Social Security."
"George voted to start privatization of Social Security accounts when he was a U.S. senator and that would have been disastrous. It failed, but if it had passed, that vote was before the collapse of the financial industry and as bad as the last decade would have been, if you had had seniors have their Social Security accounts lose so much of their value, it would have been an absolute disaster," Kaine responded. "The notion that we're going to put these Social Security funds into the stock market, where all kinds of chicanery can happen, that would tremendously weaken the program. I will fight against the privatization of Social Security accounts to my last breath if I'm a U.S. senator. "