Voice of the People: Voting To Send A Message

by James J. Devine

America’s seniors have always contributed their wisdom, experience, and courage to move our community forward. Our seniors deserve the fulfilling, prosperous life they bestowed upon their children. While they may not always be highly partisan, it is becoming clear that they need to use this election to send Republicans this message: Hands Off Social Security & Medicare!

Here’s why this is so important.

Republicans plan to replace the original Medicare with a voucher program that would force seniors to pay private, for-profit insurance companies to provide coverage. Even if they call the new scheme ‘Medicare’ it would be an end to Medicare as we know it and experts say the Republican plan would cost seniors an average of $6,000 more a year.

Back in the 1990s, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich embraced the same type of approach as a way to put traditional Medicare on the path to extinction — or as he put it to “wither on the vine and die.” Republicans have always opposed Medicare and they have tried to impose cuts and changes at every turn since it was enacted back in 1965.

Social Security is also on the chopping block even though Social Security benefits make up roughly 82 percent of yearly income for 40 percent of the seniors living barely above the poverty line.

Although there is at least $4 trillion in its Trust Fund, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry says that Social Security is a “monstrous lie” and a “Ponzi scheme”

Mitt Romney predicted “the looming bankruptcy of Social Security” and compared the program to a criminal enterprise in his book, which was published last year. More recently, Romney outlined a plan that would roll back Social Security benefits through a mix of cuts and raising the retirement age, instead of imposing payroll taxes on high-earners who stop contributing after they reach $110,000 of income.

Social Security is projected to be fully solvent until 2037 without any changes and after that, the program could pay out roughly seventy five percent of benefits so anyone who says it is ‘bankrupt’ or ‘broke’ is telling lies.

Social Security will continue positive cash flow for the next 25 years but Republicans will not be satisfied while American democracy is working for people.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann would eviscerate government, leaving millions of Americans to fend for themselves when we should be working together.

Republican claims about safeguarding seniors are a total lie based on a right-wing fantasy that ignores how much people rely on Medicare and Social Security.

As I watch the Republican debates, I realize that we are close to having a crazy person running our nation. I sit in front of the television and shudder at the thought of one of these creationism-loving, global-warming-denying, immigration-bashing, Social-Security-cutting, clean-air-hating, mortality-fascinated, Wall-Street-protecting Republicans running my country.

The Obama administration may not have finished cleaning up the mess left by George Bush, but it was still the Republicans who created these problems. I just hope all Americans recognize the difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy.

Republican policies can impoverish and even kill elderly Americans, so we must act to prevent them from winning another election. Be sure to vote Democratic on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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