The following is an excellent article from the June 1, 2017 issue of The Progressive Populist on page 5 titled “Dispatches: After Medicaid, They’re Coming After Medicare and Social Security.” and I quote:
AFTER MEDICAID, THEY’RE COMING AFTER MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY.”
Now that Donald Trump has gotten solidly behind Paul Ryan’s plan to dismantle Medicaid as part of the American Health Care Act deform plan, which Trump repeatedly said during the campaign he would not do, how long will it be before Trump embraces Paul Ryan’s longtime dream of privatizing Social Security and Medicare?
Even before the election, Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch of Socal Security Works noted at HuffingtonPost (4/29), there was good reason to be extremely skeptical of Trump’s promise. “After all, prior to running, he had called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, said that ‘privatization would be good for all of us,’ and, in true elitist fashion, called for raising the retirement age to age 70, because ‘how many times will you really want to take that trailer to the Grand Canyon?’ Moreover, he selected Mike Pence as his vice president. Pence has a long record of attacking Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Indeed, Pence criticized Bush’s Social Security privatization proposal for not going far enough, fast enough!”
In a 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Trump said he was on board with plans to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — but that Republicans should be very careful “not to fall into the Democratic trap” by doing it in the open, without bipartisan cover, or they would pay the price politically.
Speaker Ryan has been advocating the dismantling of Medicare for years, Altman noted in a previous column (3/15). After the election, Ryan announced his intention to enact 2017 legislation ending Medicare. “Ryan’s plan would force all seniors and people with disabilities onto the private market, arming them only with inadequate voucher coupons. So, that 64-year-old spending more than half her income on her premium will get no reprieve from her cat-food diet when she turns age 65.”
Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has also been clear about the Republicans’ plans. Against all evidence, Price claims that “nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government’s intrusion into medicine through Medicare.” Of course, the exact opposite is true. Medicare saves lives. It allows seniors and people with disabilities, those with the greatest health needs, to obtain life-saving health care.
With true radical zeal, Price has said, “We will not rest until we make certain that government-run health care [e.g., Medicare] is ended.” Shortly after the election, Price, like Ryan, announced that the Republicans planned to enact Medicare privatization in the first six to eight months of the Trump administration.
Ryan is using two lies to get at Medicare, Altman wrote. “First, he falsely claims that ‘because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke,’ when in fact the Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare’s financing. Second, as he does with Social Security, Ryan falsely claims that, because Medicare is going broke, it’s necessary to ‘reform’ it in order to ‘save’ it. (He apparently is using ‘save,’ in the same Orwellian way it was used during the Vietnam war, when a US military officer explained, ‘It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.’”)
The ticking time bomb in Trumpcare is that it raids Medicare of $117 bln and puts it into the pockets of the rich, she wrote. “That raiding of Medicare, along with a provision that increases Medicare’s hospital payments by $43 bln, paves the way for further destructive action later in the year.”
Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, was a member of the House Freedom Caucus who is well known for his fervent support of cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Altman and Benesch noted.
“Mulvaney has enormous influence over the budgets of the agencies responsible for administering Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If that weren’t bad enough, he promised both GOP lawmakers and right-wing media personalities that he will push Trump to cut Social Security. On recent television appearances, including Face the Nation, Mulvaney has outrageously asserted that Social Security Disability Insurance isn’t ‘real’ Social Security.”
Social Security’s insurance against the loss of wages in the event of disability, as well as old age and death, are all essential parts of working families’ earned Social Security benefits, Altman and Benesch noted. “But, it is not hard to see the method in Mulvaney’s madness,” they wrote. “By Mulvaney’s Orwellian illogic, Trump could cut Social Security, but claim he did not!”
Since the election, they wrote, “Trump has been completely silent in the face of attacks on Social Security and Medicare from GOP leaders. Not one comment. Not one tweet.” Meanwhile, reports have emerged that the White House is considering the idea of weakening Social Security by raiding a substantial part of its dedicated revenue and/or replacing employee contributions to Social Security with general revenue, which would weaken beneficiaries’ claim to the benefits they have paid for.
“If Trump and Republicans truly wanted to help the middle class, they would be expanding Social Security, while requiring the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share. Unlike most workers, who contribute to Social Security from every paycheck all year long, millionaires and billionaires pay on only their first $127,200, and then stop. The very wealthiest earn that amount and stop contributing on their very first work day of the year!,” Altman wrote (4/11)
“If Trump and Republicans wanted to give working and middle class Americans a tax break, there are much more targeted, efficient ways to do that. They could, for example, reinstate the Making Work Pay tax credit. Under that provision, which has now expired, millionaires, senators, representatives, the president, his cabinet, and every CEO of Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies received nothing. Under the Trump proposal, all of them would pocket more than $7,800, while very low-wage workers earning $10,000 would get just $620 and millions of public employees not covered under Social Security would get nothing,” Altman wrote.
Meanwhile, Altman and Benesch noted, “As Trump acknowledged during the primaries, Republican politicians are hostile to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Even though Trump’s first 100 days have shown no fidelity to his campaign promise, it is not too late for him to prove he really is different from the Republican establishment.
“He can repudiate that part of Trumpcare that undermines his promise. He can make clear that Mulvaney and Price are not running the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid show. He can propose and push for the adequate funding of SSA and the part of HHS responsible for the administration of Medicare and Medicaid. And most important, he can attack those in his party who propose dismantling these essential programs and tweet his continued commitment to them.
“If he was not just conning the public when he promised to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, he should do all of those things. The first 100 days should not make any of us hold our breath in anticipation, though.””
(EVERY CHILD DESERVES DECENT HEALTH CARE FROM THE TIME THEY ARE BORN UNTIL THE DAY THEY DIE. AND THE ONLY PROGRAM THAT FITS THE BILL IS SINGLE-PAYER, WHICH THEY HAVE IN ALL THE INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS OF THE WORLD WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ABOUT FOUR. THEY ALSO MUST BE TAUGHT TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT WITH A GOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT ENABLES THEM TO GET A DECENT JOB WITH AN ADEQUATE STANDARD OF LIVING SO IF THEY CHOOSE TO LEAVE HOME AND GET MARRIED, THAT THEY COULD HAVE A DECENT STANDARD OF LIVING AND A DECENT RETIREMENT SYSTEM JUST LIKE THEIR PARENTS DID WITH A PROPER SOCIAL SECURITY BASE AND THAT ALL THE MONEY DOESN’T END UP IN THE HANDS OF A FEW ELITIST BILLIONAIRES. THAT’S WHY THIS STORY TOUCHES ON MOST OF THESE ISSUES AND IS WELL WORTH READING. THEN CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS AND TELL THEM TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE AS WELL AS CONDUCT TOWN HALL MEETINGS PUBLICLY WITH THEIR CONSTITUENTS THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BECAUSE WE PAID FOR THESE BENEFITS AND WE ARE A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran