Beware! The Tea Party is coming after your Medicare

Congressman Eric Cantor accidentally spilled the beans during an interview: he and the Tea Party have targeted your Medicare. Sure didn't take long, did it?

EASTON, Md, August 8, 2011 — Watch out! They’re back!

They are riding into every town, every village, every hamlet.  No one is safe. Congress has come home.

The debt ceiling is raised and Standard and Poors has trashed our nation’s credit rating, thanks to the intransigent Republican Party refusing to raise revenues (S&P Global Credit Report, p. 4).

But the What, Me Worry? crowd is riding home, feeling victorious with Washington scalps in their collective belt. The S&P be damned.

Not satisfied with nearly tanking the economy worldwide and devaluing your assets, the Right Wing is on the warpath once more.

This time the scalp they want is Medicare. Your Medicare.

Last April Americans told the Tea Party and their handmaidens, the Republican Party, that they thought the Ryan Plan for so-called Medicare reform stunk. Republicans backed off fast, especially when it started costing them special elections in Republican districts.

Yes, yes, we get it, they told us. Medicare is sacrosanct, wink, wink.  Probably had their fingers crossed behind their back too.

Tea Party stalwarts (Photo: Jesse Alaniz)

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

However, Republicans are once again feeling like warriors. As Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told CBS News, “I got 98% of what I wanted.”

Didn’t the Republicans just take down the President? Didn’t they force the Democrats to their knees? Didn’t they dangle the economy over the Grand Canyon, saying, “Come one step closer and it’s bye-bye Miss American Pie”?

Like it or not, the Republican Right Wing is back in force, stronger than ever, more arrogant and ignorant than ever, and more dangerous than ever. They believe that whirring sound they hear is the wind at their back, but they have been always been a delusional group.

That’s the American people giving the Bronx cheer as they dubbed this latest round of supposed negotiations as “disgusting” and “ridiculous.” But when did what the American people think really matter?

Soon your Republican Representatives will be at your firehouses, town halls, VFW lodges, steakhouses everywhere, and even in your living room, if you let them. And right next to them will be Freedom Works, the group that founded, shaped, and funded the Tea Party Movement, which now sees an opportunity to slash Medicare to the bone, if not dismember it entirely.

They have one message: Medicare is too costly to continue. Besides we can’t take are of both Granny and the billionaire down the block. Come on, America. Something’s got to give. Get your priorities straight. How many jobs has Granny created?

CANTOR INADVERTENTLY TELLS THE TRUTH

But what about those promises the Republicans made to us? 

Listen to what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told the Wall Street Journal  in an interview: This country needs to come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many.”

Yes, he is talking about those promises made to you, Baby Boomers.

If you don’t think so, drop by one of those meetings your Republican Representative is hosting during August. You will once again hear the gospel according to the Ryan Plan and its proposal to scuttle Medicare as we know it, replacing it with voucher coupons.

You will hear the Tea Party on the rampage again, spouting Freedom Works’ talking points. They call it “a public information campaign.”  I call it “a public fibbing campaign.”

Basically, the Republicans and the Tea Party want to turn Medicare into one big voucher program, putting the expense of such a drastic change squarely on those of you just around the corner from 55.

If the Right gets its way, here’s what you would have to look forward to, after having paid your fair share into the system all these years:

* the end to Medicare’s affordable package of guaranteed benefits that Americans have depended upon, the same package that reduced the number of seniors living in poverty before Medicare from 30% down to 7.5%;

* immediate increase in prescription drug costs for seniors because the infamous “donut hole” would be re-opened;

* out-of-pocket expenses increasing for seniors by $6,000 a year by 2022 and nearly $21,000 a year by 2030 (Congressional Budget Office analysis)

No wonder 72 % of Americans (AP-Gfk Poll) say Medicare is “extremely” or “very important” to their retirement financial security. No wonder the Ryan Plan scares them. It should.

Maybe $21,000 is chump change to a millionaire like Congressman Cantor or his Tea Party Caucus pals, more than half of whom are also millionaires. But the for Jane and Joe America, only 1% of us qualify for that distinction and this would be a big hit on our savings.

Republicans love to say, “Oh, this isn’t going to affect those of you on Medicare now. It’s for those under 55.” That’s supposed to be comforting to the 65 million plus people between 40 and 54 years old? You better starting saving now!

So when Congress rides into town, giving war whoops, could you please pull them off that high horse and ask them some tough questions about privatizing your Medicare. Remember, you are going to be a Granny or a Gramps some day and Medicare should be there for you too.

And while you are at it, would you also suggest to your Republican Representative that the GOP stop the pretense and junk its brand since it long ago gave up being the Grand Old Party. They should merely call themselves what they’ve become: the SOBs or the Save Our Billionaires club.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.

 

 

 


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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