Blog Housekeeping Notes
HAPPY 86, MILLIE GARFIELD

Is This the Best America Can Do?

category_bug_politics.gif Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney believes corporations are people.

Michele Bachmann has pledged to support a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and wants to “wean everybody off” Social Security and Medicare.

In his three-day-old campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry has come out slugging. He told a crowd that (Bush appointee) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's policies are “treasonous.” He denounced President Barack Obama as “the greatest threat to our country.”

He also said Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional.

Oh, and another Texan, Representative Michael Burgess, with the backing of many tea partiers, wants to impeach Obama to stop the president from “pushing his agenda” as if that isn't the president's job.

Welcome to the Republican freak show. Are these people the best America can find as leaders?

Many decades ago when the United States was in as much serious economic trouble as we are now, leaders aspired not to destroy but to build. Because Social Security is under strong attack from all these , I've been doing some more reading on its history.

The Social Security website has a good historical section and I enjoyed some of the old posters explaining the program when it was new. Here is one from 1936 urging people to sign up for Social Security at post offices.

1936poster

This one, from 1939, followed up on amendments adding benefits for widows and children.

Motherchild

This 1940 poster reminded Americans that Aid to Dependent Children was part of the original Social Security Act until it was repealed under President Clilnton in 1996 as part of “welfare reform.”

Afdc40

Skipping ahead to 1968, this poster reminded people that they were eligible for Medicare at age 65. In the early years, Medicare was administered by the Social Security Administration.

Medicarenear65s

I love these old posters for their vintage design and because are a terrific reminder that at a time when America was on its knees, it created a program that helped make a great nation. On his blog yesterday, Jared Bernstein wrote this about Social Security related to the current campaign:

”A sure applause line among politicians is “America is the greatest country in the world.” That’s as it should be — patriotism runs strong.

“But what do we really mean by this — what makes us a great country?

“It is no exaggeration to say it’s ideas like Soc Sec — ideas that tie us together —ideas that by their nature, provide security and respect to those who raised us, who spent their lives helping to build our future.”

All the candidates for the Republican nomination are extremists who want to blow up Social Security aided, perhaps, by a president who is too willing to compromise with them. Again, is this the best we can do?

(You can see more historic material about Social Security at the agency's website.)


There is no story at The Elder Storytelling Place today. More soon.

Comments

In 2004-5 George Bush tried to end run social security with personal accounts, and he got ... nowhere. I'm not too worried. Social Security has enuf. support among the American people to keep the extremists at bay.

But, still, good to keep a watchful eye out.

For years, many Americans have complained there was little difference between the two major parties. Some still do. But now we clearly have major differences. I think we are witnessing the death throes of the Republican Party.

Your blog today is a clear example of our country's greatest threat:a huge drop in the "gold" standard that permeates every element of our culture. We have become a nation of mediocrity almost totally accepting the message of the '60s which is "anything goes". It can be seen everywhere, making us a second class country, & it's very discouraging. Dee

You have said it very well indeed!!

As an insurance agent dealing with seniors, most of the people I meet are living on their Social Security and have very little,if any, retirement savings. If not for Social Security, they would be on the street. I can also say that many of the people I meet lean towards the Tea Party view of government. And I wonder if they will, as so many people do, vote against their own economic interests in the next election.

I agree that 2012 will be a fight between too very different philosophies of what our country is and should be. It will be quite a message war, and it kind of scares me that Republicans are usually better at the bumper sticker messages.

Well said, indeed. We, as a people, are better than this. We must stop letting others make decisions for us by getting out, getting active, and voting for what makes sense for this country. As a country by the people and for the people, it is the people, all of us and not just the noisy few, who are responsible for making things happen. Run, walk, or totter if need be, but let's clean house and start over with legislators, governors, etc. who will be responsible to the best interests of all rather than only to themselves and their own aggrandizement.

I feel the same concerns

I'm more convinced than ever that I'm going to move to Mexico!

At least the drug cartels in Mexico just fight amongst themselves with only the occasional civilian getting caught in the crossfire. Here the political cartels are trying to kill off ALL of us elders who have never made millions to support ourselves in our old age!!

I guess you can tell I'm a teensy bit upset with those nincompoops in Congress!


In 1968 my Dad was in the hospital for two weeks with a serious condition.

Thankfully, he was cured and when it was time to take him home from the hospital my Mom asked my husband and me to get him.

She gave me her checkbook and thinking that she didn't have enough in there to pay the bill, she also gave me her Savings Acct. passbook with a balance of about $1,000 in it. She thought I would need both to pay the bill.

When I went to the hospital office and asked how much the bill was the clerk told me $5.00! She told me he was on Medicare and the bill would be paid by them.We couldn't believe it. Although I had helped him sign up for it ,I really didn't understand it.

The $5.00 charge was because they had to send to another hospital for a pint of blood for him and they sent it by taxicab and that was the fare.

When I told my Dad about it he just smiled and said," Now you know why I've been a Democrat all my life."

I have been so depressed and, yes, bitter over the idiocy of the public that swallow the Tea Party swill that I told my daughter that my BP can't stand listening or reading any more.

My daughter's answer snapped me out of my lethargy. She said, "But Mom, we can't give up now. It's too important."

Good advice for everyone.

If it were not for my father's 100% VA disability (from Vietnam) my mother, who was a stay at home mom in the 50's and 60's, then had very menial jobs after that, would be homeless. The amount of social security she gets every month doesn't even cover a quarter of her monthly expenses, and her home is paid for. I am grateful however, that in Texas, after a person turns 65 they get a break on property taxes.

These people are heartless and soulless. Not only do they want to destroy all those who worked all their lives and paid into social security in the hopes it would be there when they needed it, they also want to kill off all those truly disabled people who wish they could work but are not able to through no fault of their own.

I won't even get into how opposite this is of the religion some of these people claim to believe in.

If Bachmann is so anti-government subsidies they why isn't she giving back all the money her family and herself received from the government?

It's the old "do as I say not as I do". Sad. Very sad.

Snow White and the seven dwarves are making Barack look better and better.

The GOP really doesn't have anyone to offer that their small Tea Party base won't shoot down. Some thought that Rick Perry could be the one that could not only win the primary but also when enough independents to win the general election. Now some like Ross Douthat of the NY Times thinks the GOP field is still weak and is trying to drum up support for N.J. Governor Chris Christie.

There is a lot of wringing hands in that Party but Obama shouldn't be ready to claim victory yet. He is losing a lot of vocal and monetary support from disappointed progressives like me and until I see him grow a back-bone I just can't force myself to go out and cheer lead for his team.

Great post. I'm linking to it.

I also wish Mr. Obama stood up more strongly against the GOP, but we have to be for him--just think what would happen if one of these rodeo clowns became our president! They might have free rein to kill off our most successful programs--the ones that keep us alive, fed and housed.
Lots of people are so ill-informed that they don't understand their tea-party faves will work against them any way they can.

I can remember the very moment, many years ago, when I, this then innocent, ignorant, non-[political, non-activist (except for civil rights) young wife and mother had an epiphany. I had been listening to candidates and thought "Is this the best we have to offer?" "Are these the finest minds we can come up with?" The epiphany was that yes, there were people who had all the answers, but they were never going to be allowed to be in a position to be fix our problems. Forty-five years later, I still believe that.

Unfortunately, I think Progressives may have underestimated the tea party initially (I won't capitalize the name because I still can't bring myself to accept them as a valid political party!). Frankly, I thought they were a joke at first. I watched age 65+ Americans, most of whom are likely on Social Security, red-faced and shouting, with tea bags dangling from their hats. I wondered how any rational, logical, thinking person could possibly be demonstrating against their own self-interest! Could they be thinking that maybe if they gave the superrich, "job creators" more tax breaks, they'd actually go out and create jobs instead of sitting on the cash? Well, that hasn't happened, has it?

It's become increasingly evident that we aren't dealing with rational, logical, thinking people. The tea party has a whole different agenda for America, and we're hearing it loud and clear from the likes of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Progressives may be somewhat disenchanted with President Obama's apparent lack of assertiveness, but we'd better get our act together because the alternative is unthinkable, illogical and irrational.

I am concerned that we are going to "Carterize" Obama--analyze his methods and decide he is too weak to lead. I am hearing some in the press already doing that; and progressives are wringing their hands over his presumed weaknesses.

Obama may not be perfect--but he did get health care reform, as limited as that is; and he did get DADT repealed; and he got legislation that prevented our economy from completely tanking. No small accomplishments. If we desert him because these measures are not as far reaching as we want them to be, we will be left with the likes of Bachman whose limitations are enormous and Perry who is one mean dude.

Let us continue to pressure our representatives in Congress and the president who says he is listening. We must make our views known and demand that the press hear our concerns. In short, stop agonizing and organize.

In his Op-Ed piece in the New York Times last week, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, proposed a simple solution to the problems in our dysfunctional legislature: STOP ALL POLITICAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS NOW and get everyone you know to do the same. The hoods in Washington (AKA "Congressmen", are only in it for the money and the power that comes from it,
so let's him them where it hurts - in their campaign funds and let them know clearly that there won't be another penny for their thoughtlessness until they come up with some practical legislation that will create jobs and safeguard Social Security and Medicare.

"If not know- when?"

Interesting links re SS which I'll read when more time.

I spent some years in the heart of Republican country. I recall any number of that ardent group castigating SS while they were busy collecting those funds as was even one receiving well-deserved disability. In every case had they not had that income they would have been in dire straits and their families were not well-situated to pick up the slack. This was back when the Republican Party actually tried to practice some of the sensible moderate values they once said they stood for -- they even worked with Congressional Democrats to solve the nation's problems.

I realized that logic, reason, common sense and reality was not grasped by some of those knowledgeable educated people when they continued to support the very political figures dedicated to removing their basic financial security.

I don't assume for one minute that the coming election year race will be easy no matter how warped the thinking is of the candidate selected to oppose our current President.

Is this the best the Rep. Party can do?!? -moan- My constant cry.

It's scary to contemplate our letting 2012 go by, without an unelectable candidate. -shakes head-

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