On Monday, I felt my blood pressure rising as President Barack Obama said in his press conference that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the federal government will not be able to pay all its bills including Social Security benefits.
Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, privitization, chained CPI, raising age of eligibility – one way or another, our elected officials never stop threatening elders. We just finished fighting back against the chained CPI that Republicans in Congress wanted to extract in exchange for their fiscal cliff vote.
Day after day after day, Congress members issue announcements about how they are going to make life miserable for everyone except the one percent. It never stops.
And don't go telling me YOUR Congress person is a good guy. Any Congress person who is not speaking out against these tactics – that is, who is not booking themselves on pundit TV shows, issuing press releases, calling press conferences, making speeches from the floor of Congress, etc. to denounce these threats each and every time they happen - is a bad guy.
Plus, there is no point in trying to distinguish between Democrat and Republican – they all either threaten to reduce Social Security and/or Medicare or give it a pass when others do it.
It says a lot about elected representatives that the only reliable support for elder citizens in that institution year after year, day in and day out is an independent, a declared democratic Socialist.
This week it was the president himself who was hyperventilating against elders and the worst of it is that he is wrong. If Congress does get stupid and refuses to raise the debt ceiling, the possibilities of what does and doesn't get paid are many. As U.S. News and World Report explains,
”It's possible, but not preordained, that Social Security recipients, veterans and beneficiaries of other cherished programs would take a hit. The administration has choices in how to spread the pain.
“Highlighting a threat to the most popular products of the government is a time-honored Washington tactic for turning up the heat on the other side to negotiate and settle.”
From the president on down to the newest freshman in Congress, they all seem to believe first, that old people have way too much money and second, that if they scare the pants off us again and again, we'll go along.
Well, I suppose there is a third possibility: Keep scaring us and maybe a good number will keel over and they'll have more money for the one percent that way.
I am so deeply tired of fighting this battle so many times.
Tomorrow in Part 2, is another attack on elders looming?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dani Ferguson Phillips: Be Someone's Best Friend