This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Aug. 22, 2012 for week ending Aug. 31, 2012


"Well, (Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate) Paul Ryan's views, most people consider pretty extreme. In the past, Rep. Ryan has been very vocal in calling for privatizing Social Security. He, in his budget, calls for replacing Medicare with a voucher program for people under age 55, and basically for dismantling the federal government."

– Dean Baker, co-director of Council for Economic and Policy Research

Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Romney-Ryan: The GOP's Ticket to Slashing The Nation's Social Safety Net

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Interview with Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, conducted by Scott Harris


When presumed Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced his pick of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate on Aug. 11, much of the media coverage focused on the choice as a possible catalyst that could move the country toward a substantive national debate on the future of Medicare and other social safety net programs. As House Budget chairman, Ryan was the architect of a 2011 budget plan that would have made dramatic cuts to funding for education, Head Start, aid to college students and other vital social programs, while simultaneously providing ever larger tax cuts to the nation’s wealthiest citizens. But perhaps Ryan’s best-known signature policy proposal was to end the Medicare program as the nation has known it since its establishment in 1965. Under Ryan’s plan, Medicare would move to a voucher program, offering seniors a limited amount of money to shop for private health insurance, while shifting the burden of thousands of dollars of additional health care costs onto the elderly the program serves. Under the current Medicare system, the government directly pays doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.  Story continues

New "Executive Excess" Report Links CEO Pay to Massive Corporate Tax Avoidance

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Interview with Scott Klinger, associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris


Cuts to vital local/state and federal programs - including education, health care, police, fire and sanitation – have become increasingly visible since the economic meltdown that struck the U.S. in 2008. As businesses have suffered during the severe recession, tax dollars have dried up, often forcing governments to make up the shortfall by cutting budgets or eliminating public services altogether. Stimulus funds initially distributed by Washington to local and state governments that helped bridge the gap early on in the recession have also disappeared, with the GOP House adhering to their austerity ideology, refusing to allocate additional funds.  Story continues

Another Climate Change Warning Sign: Connecticut Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down Due to High Ocean Temperatures

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Interview with David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


On Aug. 12, Unit 2 of the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, CT was shut down because the temperature of the ocean water used to cool elements of the reactor core was too high. Water in Long Island Sound reached a temperature of 75 degrees, causing the plant to go through an emergency shutdown and was still not operating as of a week later. This was the first such incident since the plant went online in 1975. Although nuclear plants in previous years have had to shut down due to the high temperature of fresh water in lakes and rivers, this is the first shut down due to high ocean temperatures.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon


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