Tim Kaine talks economy, retirement security in Northern Virginia

U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine shared his economic vision and his commitment to strengthening Social Security and Medicare with nearly 200 Northern Virginia seniors. During the 90-minute forum at Ashby Ponds Retirement Community in Ashburn, Kaine committed to keeping the promises made to our seniors and protecting the benefits they have earned. He also discussed his strategies for creating jobs and strengthening the economy.

“I am focused on how we get our economic house in order to accelerate the kind of growth we need as a nation,” said Kaine. “We must do the immediate things needed to grow the economy, make long-term investments in talent, just like Virginia has, and solve this budget situation in the right way, not the wrong way. These are things Virginia does right and if the nation does a few more of them, our economy will be stronger.”

Kaine expressed his strong opposition to risky Social Security privatization schemes and Medicare cost-shifting plans like the budget proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Instead, he advocated common sense ways to strengthen Social Security and reduce Medicare spending, like allowing for the negotiation of prescription drug prices.

“The reason I don’t like the Ryan Plan is because it would turn Medicare into a voucher program,” said Kaine. “Expenses over a certain threshold would be on the shoulders of seniors who are least able to afford them. It isn’t a cost reducer, it’s a cost shifter.

Following his remarks, Kaine took questions from the audience for nearly an hour. Topics included campaign finance reform, development of domestic energy sources, tax reform, strategies to responsibly reduce the federal deficit, his approach to prevent looming sequestration cuts, and ways to break through Washington’s gridlock.

“When I was governor, we did well in tough times because I worked with Republican and Democratic legislators to get things done,” said Kaine. “We listened to each other and found issues on which we could agree. I hope to go into the Senate and help rebuild those bridges that the Senate used to be known for.”

Kaine contrasted his support for a balanced approach of revenues and cuts to reduce our deficit with the all cuts approach George Allen advocates, which could cost Virginia jobs, hurt the economy, and jeopardize important programs that support millions of Americans. He also contrasted his preferred entitlement reforms, which will strengthen Social Security and Medicare without compromising quality of care, with the risky schemes endorsed and praised by George Allen. As senator, Allen voted to shift Social Security funds to private accounts and still promotes such a plan today. Allen has also praised Congressman Ryan’s budget, including dramatic shifts in Medicare, as a “worthwhile” approach.

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