Wanted to bring to your attention a couple of things in a rather long question and answer session I had with Republican Matt Doheny, who is running for Congress against Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.
Mr. Doheny said that many of his positions would be elucidated as the campaign wears on, much to my chagrin. So he didn't say whether he'd support the changes to Medicare that are in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.
But he did say he would have voted against it. Read the "too long, didn't read" version here!
Balanced budget amendment
"At the end of the day, we probably have to pass a balanced budget amendment to make it structural so we cannot spend more than we take in in Congress. Shrinking the debt, we can't do it by running deficits every year," Mr. Doheny said.
A balanced budget amendment is pretty self explanatory. It would require the United States to balance its books every year. Mr. Owens is against such an idea. Here's a story from our Marc Heller on Mr. Owens' view of things.
Here's an exchange that I had with Mr. Doheny:
BA: Let me paraphrase. Tell me if I'm on the right track. You're saying, the situation we're in right now, you don't think we should raise taxes right now...
MD: We should definitely not raise taxes right now. Without question.
BA: But in the future, if a situation is different...
MD: In the future... right now, we have $2.2 trillion, to bring more revenue in, you have a growing economy. You make more, you pay more. You don't need to raise tax rates, you have to have growth. We're not raising tax rates. We want to make sure that everyone has a job and is maximizing their God-given gifts in the workplace.
Medicare and Paul Ryan's budget
"First, you have to look at the Paul Ryan budget in its totality. I probably would have voted against it. Why? It wouldn't balance our budget. We wouldn't get to a sane fiscal point for 50 or 52 years. We have to deal with the challenges before I die. I hope I live that long. If you talk about deep structural issues that affect our economy, budget is No. 1. With that plan, you say, 'Hey, look, we're going to go ahead and be for something.' It's an attempt. We have a failure of leadership and a failure from our president," Mr. Doheny said.
As for whether he'd support the changes to Medicare in the plan — changing it from a government-run plan to a regulated health-care exchange where seniors could pick from private companies — we'll have to figure that out over the next 14 months.
Primarying a Republican
After some gentle prodding (an exasperated, "Are you going to primary Ann Marie Buerkle?") Mr. Doheny said: "Forget about hypothetical questions. We have a long way. We'll answer that question when the time comes."
And finally, I offer to you a roundup of links (provided by the Doheny campaign) on Mr. Doheny's campaign announcement. Jude Seymour, who formerly wrote this here blog, is certainly earning his paycheck as Mr. Doheny's media guy. The news was everywhere — even a Capital Tonight appearance!
Oswego County Today (link to press release)
(A nice, 10-minute video there from LB. Make sure to watch.)