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The Times Herald - Schwartz, Shapiro, Richards Denounce Romney, Ryan

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Location: Unknown

By Tony Fioriglio

ep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th Dist.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards spoke out against several policies proposed by the Romney-Ryan campaign at a press conference at the Montgomery County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

The three speakers warned that many of the programs proposed by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan would benefit only the wealthiest Americans, shifting much of the taxation burden to those in the middle and lower class.

"Romney and Ryan are campaigning on a platform that tax cuts for the wealthy will make a stronger economy," said Schwartz. "We know that trickle-down economics does not work."

"One of the things we know is you can't build a house from the chimney on down," said Lautenberg, echoing Schwartz's thoughts. "We know we can rebuild our economy. We have to focus on the foundation in the middle class and seniors."

The fiscal burden for the middle class, they said, will come not only from tax increases but changes to the Medicare program and cuts for students seeking higher education. According to the speakers, the policies that have been put in place by President Barack Obama have eased that burden and helped give more Americans a chance at a more financially successful life.

"President Obama (believes) that a good education is not a luxury," said Richards. "(Obama) has given college students and their families tax breaks to help them afford the tuition."

The press conference was also attended by approximately 15 senior citizens, many of whom could be directly affected by the changes proposed by the Romney-Ryan campaign, especially those relating to Medicare. The Romney-Ryan campaign has suggested that Medicare should be turned into a voucher program, where recipients would be given a voucher to purchase health insurance. According to Lautenberg, however, the Medicare voucher program would require recipients to cover the difference between the cost of the insurance and the amount that the voucher would cover and is estimated to cost senior citizens an additional $6,000 a year.

"Paul Ryan has had it in for Medicare and Social Security over the past couple of years," said Lautenberg. "We have to make sure that our middle class and senior citizens are not forced into impoverishment to give tax breaks to the richest people."

In addition to the seniors who were present as part of the event, many spectators also showed up to support the speakers and the Obama campaign, as well as denounce the Romney campaign.

"You're dealing with an administration that declared on Obama's election that their entire agenda was to make him a one-term president, no matter its effect on the American people," said Sherry Marcus-Milano, who attended the event to support the campaign.

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