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):
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.