WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican challenger Paul Ryan clashed over economic topics on unemployment and tax Thursday during the first and only vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky.
Ryan blasted U.S. President Barack Obama and Biden on their failed economic policies, as 23 million Americans were struggling to find work and 15 percent of Americans were living in poverty.
"We are going in the wrong direction," as the U.S. economy was limping along, said Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber.
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter, figures from the Commerce Department showed.
The nation should not raise taxes on small businesses that were important job creators, and it needed a fundamental tax code reform, stressed Ryan.
The congressman attacked Obama's economic policy as more spending, more government debt and the government taking over the healthcare industry.
Biden defended Obama administration's economic records, saying "the economy was in free fall" and the nation suffered the great recession hit when Obama took office in January 2009.
The nation's private sector has created 5.2 million jobs, and the Obama administration has taken resolute action to rescue the auto industry and cut taxes for the middle class, added Biden.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September, the first time below 8 percent in almost four years and matching the level when Obama took office, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week.
Biden attacked Republican Party's tax policy as it was tilted toward the rich. Ryan said that he and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney intended to lower income tax rates by 20 percent and he guaranteed that the plan could be paid for by closing loopholes, without specifying the loopholes.
The voucher program proposed by Ryan of giving subsidies to future retirees and buying private health insurance plans was jeopardizing the traditional Medicare program for U.S. seniors, jabbed Biden.