Republican legislators can’t meet the increasingly absurd demands of their Tea Party constituents overnight. They know they can’t eliminate programs like Medicare and Social Security with the mighty stroke of a legislative pen without risking the wrath of the American people.
Instead, they whittle away at these popular programs one department and one layer at a time. Their work is partially concealed by the concern about the current economic crisis and budget deficit, but their attempts to shave away the safety nets that benefit our society have not gone unnoticed.
In a recent Gallup poll, Americans were asked what they would do to solve our nation’s debt problems. The most popular option was increasing income taxes for the richest Americans. The least popular option was “making significant changes to Social Security and Medicare to reduce their cost.”
When Rick Perry claims that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” or when Michelle Bachmann claims that the program is out of money, we’re skeptical. The truth is that Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme and is not running out of money. Cutting Medicare or Social Security benefits, even when Republicans use euphemisms like “privatize” and “voucher”, will hurt an entire generation that paid into the program.
Meanwhile, Democrats will continue to generate relevant and practical solutions to our nation’s problems. For example, Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio has submitted a bill to end the loophole that allows those making over $106,000 to not pay any Social Security taxes on income above that amount.
The Republican war on programs that hard working Americans have earned the right to expect can be summed up in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men”.
….This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
When Republicans choose to eliminate these benefits, they will do so not with the “bang” of a massive overhaul of the system but with a series of distracting whimpers about Ponzi schemes and the national debt.