In 1994, former Gov. Tommy Thompson won 71 of 72 counties in Wisconsin – including Dane – and was reelected as governor. It was clear then he was the right choice for Wisconsin, and I believe he still is today. Even more important, I believe he’s the right choice for our generation, and as a senior stepping into the job market in a couple of months, I believe he’s also the right choice to get the economy back on track.
Thompson’s record on health care, education and the economy show he has the right ideas, recognizes our problems and will confront these problems head on. While Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., talks a good game on the issues that matter to Wisconsin, there is little to indicate she would be a leader in the Senate. Thompson has the record to back up his rhetoric and will fight for Wisconsin in Washington.
Thompson opposes Obamacare, and for good reason. The revenue-raising aspects of Obamacare will raise taxes and premiums on middle-class families. The law places new taxes on high-cost plans in the belief the insurance companies will take much of the hit. However, the cost of these taxes will be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher premiums. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American family will pay an extra $1,200 toward its premium under the president’s health care law. Thompson wants to stop the rise in premiums and taxes on middle-class families by allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines, enact medical liability reform and encourage personal responsibility to reduce costs associated with preventable illness.
With regard to Medicare, contrary to Baldwin’s claims, Thompson does not want to end the program – he wants to preserve it. According to a 2012 report from the Medicare trustees, Medicare will be insolvent in 2024, and restoring it to solvency will require an 84 percent hike in the payroll tax. If nothing changes, we will be hit with an 84 percent rise in payroll taxes during our prime earning years in order to fund a program that may not even exist when we retire. Thompson wants to save Medicare by tying hospital payments to health care outcomes and turning Medicare into a premium support system to encourage competition and lower prices. This approach will keep Medicare solvent and ensure it is there for future retirees.
When it comes to education and the economy, the choice is even clearer. During his time as governor, Thompson helped create 740,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. Accounting for inflation, median household income rose by $3,500 in his 14 years as governor. Thompson cut taxes 91 times so that Wisconsinites could keep more of their hard-earned money, and he more than doubled funding for the University of Wisconsin System, adjusting for inflation. He did this all while balancing the budget.
Thompson knows to grow the economy, you have to work across party lines and make tough choices. He knows education is essential to our future prosperity and isn’t something that can be cut to balance the budget. His record, and not just his rhetoric, indicates Thompson is the right choice for Wisconsin and will work for Wisconsin in the Senate.
Travis Schwartz ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science. He is the vice chair of Students for Thompson.