Do you know any Republicans who shouldn’t be Republicans?
That is, those who aren’t wealthy, rely on the same fire departments, police departments, food and drug safety standards, drive on the same public roads, and send their kids to public schools as the rest of us?
Those who might be union members, work blue-collar jobs, are disabled, collect Medicare or Medicaid?
Those who have been frightened into believing “immigrants are taking their jobs” and “entitlement” programs like food stamps are responsible for their inability to send their kids to college without plunging into debt?
Those who think Muslims are clandestine ISIS infiltrators, kneeling for the flag is “unpatriotic,” and any attempt at sensible gun legislation is an automatic Second Amendment infringement?
Those who believe millions of “illegals” run around the country on election day to vote for Democrats?
Those who are convinced the “Democrat” party is crawling with Soviet-style Socialists hell-bent on turning the United States into Venezuela?
Those who equate criticism of Israeli foreign policy as “anti-Semitic“?
Those who have no idea Jesus preached nothing about abortion or same-sex marriage yet engage in creative scriptural interpretations to justify the hatred Jesus condemned.
Of course you do.
We all do.
The Republican party and its billionaire benefactors have spent the past few decades crafting ominous messages designed to lure average Americans into voting against their own interests.
They know there aren’t enough rich people to carry the party across the finish line, and most Americans disagree with their policy positions, so they need those susceptible to fear and outrage to take the corporate billionaire talking points into their coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, places of employment, and, most importantly, the ballot box.
After all, they have an entire network on basic cable providing the requisite fear, outrage, and xenophobia.
One issue Republicans have consistently tried to turn Main Street against is Social Security.
Few Americans know of a time when this iconic American program did not exist, having been signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935.
It is essentially “old-age insurance” created from the ashes of the Republican Great Depression of 1929, one of Roosevelt’s myriad New Deal initiatives.
But it isn’t just for senior citizens.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides 8.9 million disabled workers with benefits.
4.3 million children also depend upon it.
According to the organization Social Security Works:
“About one in three Social Security beneficiaries are receiving disability or survivor benefits.
“Social Security is by far the nation’s most important life insurance policy, providing benefits to older persons (i.e., widow and widowers) whose spouse has died, to many younger spouses caring for dependent children, and to children whose parent has died. Social Security’s protections are estimated to have a present value of $612,000 in life insurance and $631,000 in disability insurance for a married worker who has average earnings and two children under 5 years old.”
“Social Security works for all Americans, and it has never been more important to our economic security:
- Sixty-one million depend on Social Security–more than 1 out of every 6 Americans.
- Just over 3 in 5 seniors depend on Social Security for most of their income.
- One-third of seniors rely on it for at virtually all (90% or more) of their income.
- Social Security’s benefits are modest, but vital, averaging around $15,000 per year.
- Social Security lifts 22.1 million Americans out of poverty. Without it, the poverty rate of our seniors would be nearly 41%; instead it is just under 9%.
- It is an extremely efficient program, with administrative costs of less than a penny on the dollar.”
Yet Republicans have always opposed it, even during FDR’s day.
After winning a second term in 2004, former President George W. Bush intended to use the “political capital” he earned after illegally invading Iraq to privatize it.
His whirlwind sales pitches across the country eventually stopped when it became obvious the majority of the American people disagreed with him.
Fast-forward to today.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”
Like all the other ways he opposed conventional Republican positions when standing amid other GOP wanna-be’s, this was just a ploy to get elected.
The fact it worked indicates how popular Social Security is and how many voters–even Republicans–favor keep it intact.
Yet at the World Economic Forum summit ensconced amid a Davos, Switzerland mountaintop retreat this week, Trump boasted to the other global elites–if re-elected–he would entertain cutting funding for crucial social programs that include Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.
— Bridge Project (@BridgeProject21) January 22, 2020
Executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, Richard Fiesta, said in a statement:
“After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year. The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated.
“While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do. Social Security and Medicare are vital for a secure retirement. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. This burden and affording other basic necessities make it harder for retirees to make ends meet. Cutting Social Security and Medicare would be a cruel disaster.”
Social Security Works communications director, Linda Benesch, told Common Dreams:
“His budget proposals include Social Security cuts. Now, he’s flat-out saying that he plans to target ‘entitlements’ (AKA earned benefits.) We need a Democratic nominee who can draw a clear contrast with Trump on Social Security. That will be far more difficult for Joe Biden, who has a history of being open to cuts, than it would be for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.”
Over and over, Donald Trump promised Americans that he would not cut Social Security and Medicare.
When we win, we're not going to just protect Social Security and Medicare, we're going to expand them.https://t.co/Yk71q5yXgg
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 22, 2020
Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, said:
“President Trump and the GOP can’t seem to help themselves: their core goal is to cut taxes for the rich and corporations, then turn around and try to pay for those cuts by slashing vital public services working families depend on and have spent years paying into. But this time the American people are wise to the trick and won’t put up with it.”
No we won’t.
Let your Republican friends and relatives know what they risk when supporting a party that clearly has the oligarchs’ interests ahead of their own.
All the racism, jingoism, capitalism, cultism, and Trumpism is a smokescreen for their true intentions: to make America a feudal society subservient to the ultra-wealthy.
Image credit: cepr.net