Robbing Your Retirement and Health Security to Pay for Corporate Tax Giveaways

Medicare and Social Security Forms

The tax giveaway bill that’s scheduled to go before the House and Senate this week for final passage is only Phase I in the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell/Koch Brothers war on working families.

They’ve already made clear what Phase II is: An all-out attack on the pillars of our health and retirement security — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Having blown a gaping $1.4 trillion hole in the deficit by robbing the middle class and poor to reward their ultra-wealthy and corporate donors, their next step is to use the deficit crisis they created to fulfill their ultimate goal: The unraveling of America’s safety net.

Maybe that sounds too conspiratorial to you. If so, don’t take my word for it. Take theirs:

  • On December 6th, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” Please note that “entitlement reform” is Ryan double-speak for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said this month, “We’re spending ourselves into bankruptcy. … This country is in deep debt. You don’t help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don’t help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.
  • Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently said, “You also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn’t the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.”
  • And House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said, “The most important thing we can do with respect to the national debt, what we need to do, is obviously reform current entitlement programs for future generations.” Again, “reform” is their code for “cut.”

I’ve got some news for these hypocrites: If you want to fight the deficit, then don’t give away $1.4 trillion to line the pockets of corporations and billionaires already rolling in more money than they know what to do with.

As Atlantic’s Derek Thompson noted, “It’s like a husband who, after years of obsessing about the family’s finances, buys a Lamborghini on a lark, drives home, and rants to his wife about the mortgage.”

But of course, they don’t give a rat’s rear end about the deficit. They just want to manufacture a crisis and use it to send millions of working families and retirees out of the middle class and into poverty.

In fact, if the tax bill becomes law, Medicare will be automatically cut by $25 billion on January 1, 2018. Though that’s just chump change compared to how much they really want to slash this pillar of health security for senior citizens and the disabled.

So again, I urge OPCMIA members to contact your U.S. senators and representatives. Click here to make a call, or you can call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Send them three clear messages:

  • Vote no the tax bill.
  • Oppose any and all cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal investments in America’s working families.
  • And invest in America’s infrastructure — the most effective way to create jobs today and promote economic growth long into the future.

Daniel E. Stepano
General President