The Ping-Pong of Thoughts Toward the End of Life and The Alex and Ronni Show
INTERESTING STUFF – 3 November 2018

The Most Important Vote of Our Lives

Many have said that next Tuesday's midterm election in the U.S. is the most crucial in our lifetimes and they are right. It is. It is.

Much is at stake, perhaps even democracy itself, but for certain, if the Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress, one of the first things they will be gunning for next year is what they call “entitlements” - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The GOP likes that term “entitlements” because it sounds like a free giveaway, which the programs are not. They are “earned benefits” and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Every worker pays into them all their working lives.

We know the Republicans will come for these programs because unlike the president who just lies when he says he will protect them, the Republicans tell us right out loud what they intend to do.

Referencing comments from television personality and now economic adviser to the president, Larry Kudlow, in September, Alternet reported,

”...the White House will push for cuts to life-saving safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security if the GOP retains control of Congress in November.”

When they say we must “reform” Social Security and Medicare, that's code for “massive cuts”. Here is a chart of more Republican code words from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM):

CodewordsMedicareSSA

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never, in his long career in the Senate, made it a secret that he wants to cut the entire social safety net.

Now he's insisting that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be slashed. Here's how his lies go, according to the The New York Times last week:

”This month, the Treasury Department recorded a $779 billion deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, stemming in large part from a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year,” writes Jennifer Steinhauer.

“'It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem," Mr. McConnell told Bloomberg News in an interview. 'It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future...'

“That is code for wanting to tackle entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, which Republicans say need to be reined in to address the ballooning federal deficit,'” McConnell continued.

Yes, you read that correctly. McConnell wants to pay for the massive, unnecessary tax cut for the rich on the backs of the poor, the sick and the old.

And the Republicans can do that, they can get away with it if they retain control of both houses of Congress.

It's not like the country supports McConnell, Kudlow and the rest of the Republicans. As Business Insider reported early this week:

”According to the Marist/NPR/PBS poll, 60% of Americans would rather reverse the GOP tax law to deal with the growing deficit. Just 21% of Americans would rather make cuts to entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

Don't think this is just an old-people's issue. It affects everyone of every age who works, children of workers too and spouses of workers. Yes, the earned benefits programs need some shoring up. But there are a lot of good ideas from smart people about how to do it.

In fact, many of those ideas have been around since President George Bush tried to privatize Social Security 13 years ago and failed because the American people saw through the sham then and they do again now. But if the Republicans continue to control the entire federal government after next week's election is the huge cuts can happen.

Living in a vote-by-mail state, I sent in my ballot last Monday. If you live where there is early voting and have already done that, good for you.

If you intend to vote in person on Tuesday, please keep all of the above in mind and more: If you can help some others get to the polls, please do it. But most of all, whatever it takes to get it done, please, please vote.

It will be the most important vote of your life.



Comments

I voted about 10 days ago with my mail-in ballot. So very glad to live where they have such ballots. These days I couldn't stand in line for several hours in the heat or cold or stuffy school hallways like I have in the past. Vote, everybody!

Never in my 74 years have I felt compelled to be a political activist -- I have for this election. Definitely moving beyond my comfort zone, I have made phone calls, canvassed, and written letters--all in the hope it will get enough more people out to vote to save our country. I hope we make a difference, as we have voter disenfranchisement working against us. As if climate change isn't enough to keep one awake at night, now it's our so-called leaders.

I have never failed to vote in all of my years since I was 21 years old, which was the legal age then to vote. I sent my mail-in ballot after studying the propositions a few days after receiving it. There is no excuse to not vote in Arizona.

I've also already voted by mail. I've never missed a major election since I was old enough to vote, but this one is certainly different. I have *not* canvassed or phoned (and I feel guilty about it), but I do frequent political posts on social media, and I talk to everyone I know about politics and how important this election is. In my part of the world (San Francisco Bay Area) there's hardly any disagreement. But we really, really need to vote!!

BTW, thanks for that excellent graphic about "entitlements." I'm stealing that and forwarding it on.

My mail-in ballot went in a few days ago. I agree--this is a pivotal election and every vote counts. Although the Rethugs MAY not cut SS for current recipients (note that I say "may" not!), they will find ways to cut future benefits and privatize what remains of the social safety net. After all, their top fiscal priority is to preserve the tax cut (handout) for corporations and wealthy individuals, including themselves. Human beings and their welfare must NEVER be left in the hands of vulture capitalists!

I can remember my grandfather carrying me into the polling place and showing me a voting machine, a very early memory and the only really clear one I have of my grandfather. He died before I turned four. It made its impression and I never fail to vote.

Unlike everyone who has written in thus far, I have not yet voted -- but that is because I actually love to go to the polls, I go early, and mostly miss the crowds, I listen to what people are talking about, and for some reason, we all feel anticipatory and excited. I remember the first Obama vote, a huge crowd, all of us talking to strangers, cheering, laughing, oh so terribly optimistic..

And as I usually do, I had organized a get-together of like-minded friends for that evening so that we could watch the returns together. We were wildly happy, cheerily optimistic. AND when the joyful news came - several of us went outside [in the hardly warm MN fall] and danced in the dark streets. Literally. And my dear son, living at that point in Chile, called! And we all cheered together.

What a contrast to 2016. Although "logic" and "reason" had managed to convince me that Hillary would win - I remember still the nervousness and un-ease I felt. By that time, the spectre of trump had so spooked us all that no one felt safe. Rightfully so. When the worst became apparent, we kind of slunk away into the night. Wondering what was to become of us.

But naive enough to continue to hope things would turn out. Oh, how we have changed. We actually contemplated whether we should even get together this upcoming election eve. A few of us will. Feeling fairly cynical.

Nevertheless, I still like that time waiting to vote. Even though rain is forecast.. Even though I feel eons older and terribly jaded and cynical and pretty pessimistic too.. Not to mention deeply, deeply sad and angry.

I am so happy to have learned of a terrific volunteer effort in my area, called Ballots for Patients. Naturally, some people wind up unexpectedly in the hospital and would miss voting. This initiative pairs them up with volunteers who help patients fill out the appropriate forms, then volunteer notaries notarize the forms and volunteer attorneys run the forms to the courthouse. Pennsylvania does not have early voting, and the state can also be a little nit picky about absentee voting. I had intended to ride people to the polls, but I think this will be even more helpful.

Nina - this is fantastic! Perhaps there'll be a site to read about the various methods of getting people to vote and how to help that happen. This might already exist, but I really didn't investigate much.

In my area (SF Bay area), some women formed "Local Majority," and they've gathered in-depth information on key issues or points in some states(Fla, Minn, Mich and maybe more), then reported those findings to the Dem. candidates. Not sure if info is requested or decided by LM, but it's a terrific volunteer option, esp for those of us in solid blue states. J. Louis-Dreyfuss asked and did a spot for them, which immediately brought in 10,000 volunteers around the country.

Nina's Ballots for Patients is brilliant.
Living in the red state of Arkansas is a bit frustrating. It is like throwing your vote into an abyss but I never fail to try. I remember having a Republican friend years ago in Florida (yes it is possible to have one for a friend) who had the same helpless feeling when he voted. Now today since Florida has turned purple his vote counts. I keep hoping this state will revert back to the Clinton days. At the very least, I can still cancel the vote of the staunchest Republican. That helps some.

I voted early when Minneapolis opened extra early voting polls on Tuesday. The place was hopping, mostly with elders. Short line, many volunteers, plenty of seating for filling out the paperwork before voting.

Go Blue Wave!

Friends, I know my view will be unpopular here! Social Security, Medicare and many of our state pensions are facing a crisis. Even if there had been no tax cuts, it would still be a crisis. Social Security was last 'adjusted' in 1983 under Reagan, otherwise it would already be broke.
The Republicans will be 'punished' for proposing tough medicine. The Democrats will demagogue. We will all suffer! Anyone who thinks the solution is simple will be disappointed. But repealing tax cuts will not resolve any of these issues!

BTW, I only just now found this nice blog. I was inspired, at 67, to start my own blog in July this year. But I know I will never be as good as this blog or others that have been in existence for years. I hope I can make some small contribution, though. I don't want to just sit on the front porch rocker for the next 10 or so years (or however long I live).

I haven't read it yet because but heard that Mother Jones did a story on Pennsylvania's Ballots for Patients initiative. Maybe it will gain traction for other states as well. It was a very gratifying volunteer experience, helping folks who were admitted to the hospital past the deadline to apply for absentee ballot.

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