Democrat Ron Barber's campaign lays out the case against Republican Jesse Kelly in the special election to complete Gabrielle Giffords' term in Southern Arizona's Congressional District 8:
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jennifer Cox, Ron Barber for Congress
DATE: Thursday, April 19, 2012
RE: Jesse Kelly – Hostile to Seniors and Wrong For the Middle Class
Jesse Kelly’s Tea Party agenda is wrong for middle class Southern Arizona families and hostile to seniors. Everyone agrees we must cut spending and reduce the deficit but it has to be done the right way — not on the backs of seniors and the middle class. Kelly would cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, while eliminating Medicare and Social Security, raising taxes on the middle class and getting rid of the minimum wage.
Middle class and senior voters rejected Jesse Kelly in his 2010 race for Congress, even in one of the best years for Republican candidates in a generation. Voters will reject Kelly again in the June special election.
Even former 8th district Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe knows it. He said that Kelly’s nomination “would assure that a Democrat would win the seat” because “he’s out of touch with the district. It’s a very moderate district.” [Governing Blog, 2/07/12]
Hostile to Seniors. Even with 933,435 Arizona families depending on Medicare and 753,962 seniors depending on Social Security, Jesse Kelly would eliminate them both. Kelly is more extreme than the current leadership in Congress whose budget would double health care costs for seniors; Kelly said he would like to eliminate Medicare and make seniors entirely responsible for their own health care and he would “love to” eliminate Social Security. He’s compared both to Ponzi schemes and said they should be phased out and privatized.
Would Work Towards Eliminating Medicare. The Tucson Weekly asked Jesse Kelly if he would look to eliminate Medicare over time so that people would be responsible for their own health care over time. Kelly responded, “Yes.” [Tucson Weekly, 12/02/09]
Would Love to Eliminate Social Security. Kelly told the Tucson Weekly that he would love to eliminate Social Security. He said of Social Security, “I would love to eliminate the program. I’d love to take steps to let people opt in and opt out of it. Privatize it.” [Tucson Weekly, 12/02/09]
Social Security and Medicare are Ponzi Schemes that Should Be Privatized and Phased Out. In a 2010 debate, Kelly talked about Social Security and Medicare and said, “It’s the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. […] Right now, you have to take steps to reform it, to privatize it, to phase it out. […] It’s not an option of ‘should it be done?’ It must be done.” [Arizona Illustrated Debate, 46:39, 7/30/10]
Supported 2010 Ryan Roadmap which Would Privatize Social Security. In 2010, Kelly stated his support for the 2010 Ryan Roadmap: “‘…Rep. Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future has excellent ideas for reforming and strengthening Social Security,’ stated Kelly.” The non partisan Congressional Budget Office found that under the Ryan budget, “Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011” [Arizona Daily Star, 8/03/10; Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]
Wrong Priorities for the Middle Class. In these tough economic times, Jesse Kelly’s tax plan would create a 23% spending tax on all American families – from gas to groceries, rent to medicine to doctor’s visits. Kelly would eliminate the minimum wage, forcing some people to work a 40-hour week and still suffer in poverty, and even block any unemployment benefits for Arizona families laid off in the recession.
Supports 23% Tax Increase on Middle Class Families. Kelly supports the creation of a national sales tax of 23% that would apply to nearly everything a middle class family buys, from food and gas to prescription drugs while giving huge tax cut for millionaires and eliminating taxes for corporations. Supporters of this proposal have labeled it ‘the Fair Tax.” During an appearance on the Jon Justice show, Kelly said, “As far as the Fair Tax goes, I would support the Fair Tax, would sign on as a sponsor immediately to the Fair Tax. […] the Fair Tax has my support one hundred percent.” [Jon Justice Show, 22:55, 7/09/10]
Supported Eliminating the Minimum Wage. In January 2010, Kelly endorsed eliminating the minimum wage. He said, “We must take steps to lower and eventually eliminate the minimum wage […].” [Kelly Footage, 1/07/10]
Opposed Any Extension of Unemployment Benefits, Even in a Recession. At an April 2012 Republican debate in Green Valley, Kelly said, "Well, the simple answer to your question is: no. I would not support an extension of the unemployment benefits in any way.” [Kelly Footage, 4/12/12]
Dishonest About a Path to Energy Independence. Even when Kelly identifies the right problem—that middle class families are under unnecessary pressure from rising gas prices, he doesn’t have a real solution. Even his primary opponent Martha McSally called him out on it. When Kelly said that the US has “significantly” more oil than the US, McSally said, “Jesse, we don't have more oil than Saudi Arabia…We don't have those technologies yet. So maybe you should use your GI Bill to go back to college and get a geology degree, and you could help with that." [Tucson Weekly, 3/22/12; Tucson Weekly, 4/13/12]
Protect the Ultra Rich. While Kelly would pull the rug out from under Arizona seniors and leaves the middle class out in the cold, big corporations and millionaires would reap big rewards from Jesse Kelly in Congress. He would extend more tax breaks to the ultra rich, cut their taxes below what their employees make and make big corporations pay zero in taxes – putting all the burden on the middle class.
Would Extend More Tax Cuts to the Wealthiest Americans. In August 2010, Kelly said he would not allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of 2011. [Green Valley News & Sun, 8/18/10]
Called for Lower Taxes for the Top 10%. In April 2010 at the UA Republican Club Debate, Kelly called for lower taxes for the top 10% in the country, arguing they already pay most of the tax burden. [UA Republican Club Debate, 4/08/10]
Zero Taxes for Corporations. At the Saddlebrooke candidate forum in January 2010, Kelly said, “The corporate tax rate should be zero. […] We must get the corporate tax rate to zero.” [Saddlebrooke Republican Club Debate, 1/07/10]
Southern Arizona’s middle class families are struggling and times are tough. At a time when families and seniors are focused on kitchen table concerns like paying for groceries, medicine, and other expenses, they need a leader who will put Southern Arizona seniors and families first.