When People Tell You Who They Are, Believe Them

hats off to Mike Lukovich

Most people recognize that line from Maya Angelou. It has been repeated frequently during the past few years. Republicans threaten to do things – like assault the capitol of the US and then do them. Before the action many people many ordinary people scoff at their threats saying things like “They wouldn’t do that” or “They (whoever that is) wouldn’t let that happen.” 

Here we go again. I am listening to my neighbor talk to my wife. The neighbor has recently suddenly been surprised by news that the Republican Party is planning to hold Social Security and Medicare (and Medicaid) hostage in their continuing saga to end any social safety net. The vehicle once again for this hostage taking is the insane debt ceiling. This is what? the fourth iteration of this tactic.

Previous iterations of the tactic of holding Social Security and Medicare hostage for the debt ceiling have backfired disastrously on the Republican Party. Why would they go to that well once again? Maybe because there are some extreme far right radical Republicans who are true believers, who believe that despite something like a 75% approval for Social Security, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President will fold to their demands.

I tried to educate our neighbor on the lengthy history of the GOP trying to end Social Security – or at least trying to turn it into a means tested welfare program. She was truly surprised. I pled with her to please write your member of congress and tell the not just no but HELL NO! on holding Social Security and Medicare hostage.

I will ask you all to contact your member of congress also now on creating a hostage situation using safety net programs. Contacting your member of congress is simple. Go to google and type “contact {members name}. Google should pop up several methods of contact. I suggest using their congressional contact form so there is a record.

Also I would suggest asking for a response. My MOC (member of congress) is Mariannette Miller-Meeks. I have written her office 4 times and always request an answer. I have yet over 2+ years received a response. But there is a record. Oddly, I do get her Sunday brag sheet each week.

Due to the ability of the Treasurer of the US to move funds around, the debt ceiling may not become a crisis until June or so. Yet NOW is the time to start contacting your MOC. Most congress members do at least get a feel for what topics are hot and how these hot items are trending.

My neighbor asked me what they are supposed to do if Social Security is cut off. I told her that you can move in with your kids. So you might want to tell them also to please write the MOC to stop screwing with Social Security and Medicare. They have a stake in this also.

Besides moving in with your kids, I told her that going back to work is another option – or addition – to their choices. My neighbor can barely walk herself after a couple of hip surgeries. Her husband recently slipped on some ice and broke his hip. Not sure with that what their employment chances might be. Maybe Amazon?

As Maya Angelou noted so many years ago – when someone tells you who they are, believe them. The Republican Party – the whole damn party – is out to end any and all safety nets. In addition at a state level they are determined to dismantle any public programs with the public school system being target #1.

But Republicans will counter that Social Security and Medicare are going broke. We can’t stop that. – we must do something!

Bullshit! to use an old farm term I learned growing up in Iowa. Simply extending the FICA tax beyond it current upper income limit (about $147,000) would more that make up any shortfall. With Medicare, ending the fraud in the Medicare Advantage (which is neither Medicare nor does it have any advantages) program would go a long way toward sealing up much of the money leaks.

NPR did a story on the fraud in the Medicare Advantage system in December. This is an article worth the reading time. Here is a quick excerpt:  

“The costs to taxpayers from improper payments have mushroomed over the past decade as more seniors pick Medicare Advantage plans. CMS has estimated the total overpayments to health plans for the 2011-2013 audits at $650 million, yet how much it will eventually claw back remains unclear.

Payment errors continue to be a drain on the government program. CMS has estimated net overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans triggered by unconfirmed medical diagnoses at $11.4 billion for 2022.”

And when we talk about clawing back over payments we should also think about what our government should be doing to get taxes owed but ignored by the wealthy. The republicans public reason for holding Social Security and Medicare hostage is because of our national deficit. Our national deficit is mostly made up of huge tax cuts for the rich and lack of enforcement on the rich for refusing to pay taxes.

Please write your MOC and tell them to keep their hands off of OUR Social Security and Medicare.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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