Sometime very soon our Congressman, Tom McClintock, will vote to cut Social Security and Medicare. It is what he believes and what he has promised. And after nearly ten years in Washington, this year he’s finally in a position to make it happen.
It’s almost impossible to think of something he could do that would be worse for his constituents.
Take Social Security. Nearly one in four of us in the 4th Congressional District — 166,000 people — gets a Social Security check every month. That is income for individuals and families, and a large chunk of our economy as well. Those checks, add up to an astonishing $221 million dollars in our economy every month, year in and year out. That’s money for rent, and groceries, and gasoline, and a movie now and then. Tom McClintock is committed to balancing the federal budget by cutting that money out — if not immediately, then for future retirees.
Medicare may be as important to our District as Social Security. Again, nearly a quarter of our friends and neighbors get their medical care under the program. The average senior receives nearly $12,000 in health services and drugs under Medicare every year. That insurance supports our doctors, nurses, pharmacies, and hospitals too. For some of us, Medicare is the difference between life and death. For our communities Medicare is a vital part of keeping the local hospital open and solvent.
So why does Tom McClintock want to cut these vital and popular government services? It’s the only way the Republican Right Wing can think of to pay for their two trillion dollar tax cut. “There’s no blinking on the fact that, having reduced taxes, we now have to restrain spending,” McClintock told a reporter in February.
McClintock doesn’t mean ‘restrain spending’ on wasteful military adventures or luxury travel for Cabinet officials. He’s quite clear that he means cutting what politicians call ‘Mandatory Spending,’ essentially Social Security and Medicare. They are the only programs with even near enough money to pay for his tax cuts.
Over the years McClintock has endorsed a plan for Social Security that would permit workers to opt out of paying in one year at a time. In return they would have to delay retiring.Trouble is, experts say, his plan would undercut Social Security financially.
As for Medicare, McClintock seems to favor turning it over to the private insurance industry. Premiums for many seniors would go up, along with complexity and confusion. Bottom line, the Congressional Budget Office says this popular safety net program would save the government money, yes, but simply by charging the elderly more.
Let’s ask Congressman McClintock: why do you want to cut Social Security and Medicare?
The author is a proud member of the Drive By Media where he toiled in Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, NY, and San Francisco, just for openers. Don’t get him started.