By: Pete ChristensenHouse Speaker Paul Ryan has repeatedly called for an end to Social Security and Medicare as we know them. Likewise on the campaign trail, Trump echoed those sentiments. All the while conservatives have made the term ‘entitlements’ a source of distain. As if anyone on Medicare or Social Security was a lazy drug addicted, welfare cheat. The truth; get rid of Social Security and the nation would go broke within weeks. What the right wing wants to do is to keep the middle class paying into Social Security while NOT giving out benefits, in other words; a new tax base. As I’ve said before, you can’t keep balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class. If you do, rich ‘gated communities’; will quickly become ‘guarded communities’. Social Security has been around for 76 years, and currently has a 2.6 trillion dollar surplus. It in no way contributes to the national deficit or debt. The only problem Social Security has is countless government programs borrowing from it. Social Security isn’t failing and isn’t running at a deficit. What is running at a deficit; the federal government’s repayment of funds borrowed from the s.s. program. ‘Entitlements’ ISN’T a dirty word. You’ve paid into Social Security all your lives and you’re entitled to get your money back as agreed to by the federal government when you paid into it. Trump raising the deficit by 1.4 trillion in this first year, allowing the upper 1% permanent tax cuts, and granting the military 90 billion a year is a sure fire way of breaking the economy (remember this guy went bankrupt running casinos. That's like going broke with a license to print money) When the economy tanks, they’d have an excuse to end Social Security and Medicare out of necessity. That was no doubt their plan all along. A depression or extreme recession would have little or no effect on the upper one percent. When asked what John and Bob Kennedy thought of the Great Depression they replied, ‘While growing up, we never even realized it was happening’. Social Security was invented when the majority of Americans moved from rural homes to urban homes. At this time grandparents stopped living in their children’s farm houses with them. It was the end of the nuclear family, where grandparents stayed on to care in the same home with grandchildren. In an era of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases steadily increasing, it’s impossible to go back to that lifestyle. Ending Medicare would result in possibly the greatest die off of the elderly since the 1832 cholera epidemic. NBC news states one in five elderly die penniless. Taking away Medicare would be a death sentence. Removing Social Security would force the middle class to take in and support their elderly relatives. This further economic strain could be devastating and eventually worsen the very tax base the top one percent takes advantage of. There may be no end to need, but there should definitely be an end to callous indifference.
Pete Christensen is a published author of four books and a professional comedian.
He has also hosted his own radio and television shows in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Flagstaff, Arizona.