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Does the NY election prove unpopularity of Ryan’s budget plan?

by Adam Russett on May 25, 2011

The proposed budget plan of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan had raised a lot of eyebrows over the past weeks, especially for its proposal that Medicare would be transformed into a private voucher program for those who are under the age of 55. Upset voters took to town halls to voice their complaints, while Ryan touted the billions of dollars that would be saved from the initiative. 

However, it seems that the first campaign where the proposal became a major issue – the special election in New York's 26th congressional district – favored the Democrat over the Republican.

Kathy Hochul, the Democrat, won against her opponent, Republican Jane Corwin, with 48 percent of the vote, according to Politico. She made a point to focus on Ryan's plan every chance she got.

"Just for the record, I am not decimating Medicare!" she told seniors, The Washington Independent reports. "On the contrary, I am the one who's trying to save Medicare."

Another factor in Hochul's decisive victory over Corwin was candidate Jack Davis, who espoused the views of the Tea Party and may have ended up draining votes away from Corwin.

For his part, Paul Ryan suggests that the reason Hochul won was because of dishonest scare tactics.

"I saw the ads," he said, according to another article from Politico. "I saw burning people's Medicare cards. If you can scare seniors into thinking that their current benefits are being affected, that's going to have an effect. And that is exactly what took place here. So yes, yes, it's demagoguery, it's scaring seniors."

Other experts suggest that seniors were instead concerned that changes to the Medicare system could mean that their children and grandchildren wouldn't get to enjoy the same benefits that they themselves did.  

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