Georgia Voters Will Choose: Can Mitch McConnell Keep Threatening Our Pocketbooks and Our Lives?

 

If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler keep their Senate seats, they will help Mitch McConnell undermine Social Security and other safety nets for working people.
If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler keep their Senate seats in Georgia’s Jan. 5 runoff, they will help Mitch McConnell undermine Social Security and other safety nets for working people. Click to see this photo illustration by Kate Meyer full size.

Are you counting on:

A Social Security check every month? One that keeps up with inflation?

Seeing a doctor or hospital that takes Medicare or Medicaid?

COVID relief? Unemployment? Food?

If so, this election probably is the most important decision you’ll make for a very long time. It should be a no-brainer.

So what about the news that mega-rich Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have been making tons of money trading on insider and even classified information? Maybe you don’t believe it. OK. You can disregard that evidence. Or maybe you just don’t like the other candidates, Jon Ossoff or Raphael Warnock, period. That’s fine.

But please understand: this isn’t about the candidates themselves. If you vote for either Republican candidate, the Republicans will control the U.S. Senate. And that means Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, will decide what the Senate does about any of the programs many of us rely on. Including every one I’ve mentioned already.

You don’t have to guess what McConnell and his Republican followers will do. They may try to get you to think about other things, but don’t fall for it. This is your money and your health at stake. And McConnell and his Republicans have made themselves crystal clear about what they intend to do.

MITCH MCCONNELL CALLS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID CUTS AFTER PASSING TAX CUTS, MASSIVE DEFENSE SPENDING[2]

After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said of the deficit, which grew 17 percent to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. McConnell explained to Bloomberg that “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.” The deficit has increased 77 percent since McConnell became majority leader in 2015.

New Treasury Department analysis on Monday revealed that corporate tax cuts had a significant impact on the deficit this year. Federal revenue rose by 0.04 percent in 2018, a nearly 100 percent decrease on last year’s 1.5 percent. In fiscal year 2018, tax receipts on corporate income fell to $205 billion from $297 billion in 2017.

The debt, he said, was very “disturbing” and driven by “the three big entitlement programs that are very popular, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. . . There’s been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs. Hopefully, at some point here, we’ll get serious about this.”

Remember those words: “It’s a bipartisan problem.”

They are right out of the Frank Luntz playbook.

Question: Who’s Frank Luntz ?

Answer: NEXT: Don’t let their words distract you: The Republicans and their backers are after your money.


[1] Source:: AFL-CIO

WHY NOT TO TRUST REPUBLICANS WITH YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY

So what’s this all about?

If you or anyone you care about relies on a Social Security check each month, you should know the answer to two questions.

1. Whose signature was on those checks after the program was launched in 1935?

2. Who’s been trying to get their hands on that checkor even take it awayever since?

Surely you know the answers. But sometimes people:
a) forget, b) take Social Security for granted, or c) believe those
Republicans who say they care about us. 

You don’t have to do any research to answer the
first question. I’ll let the Republican politicians speak for
themselves. When Franklin Delano RooseveltFDRpushed through Social Security during the Great Depression, Republicansthe people who got us into the Great Depression in the first place and who always leave a mess behind themscreamed bloody murder: Social Security will make you a slave! You’ll never get another job! Our democracy will be destroyed!

Listen to these characters: 

 “Never in the history of the world
has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent
business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the
employers providing work for the people.” 
Rep. John Taber (R-NY).

“The lash of the dictator will be
felt, and 25 million free American citizens will for the first time submit
themselves to a fingerprint test.”  Rep. Daniel Reed (R-NY).

“The passage of Social Security
will open the door to a government power so vast, so powerful as to threaten
the integrity of our institutions and to pull the pillars of the temple down
upon the heads of our descendants.” Rep.
James W. Wadsworth (R-NY).

We’re “Fed Up New Yorkers,” so I’ve cited only New York congressmen. Sometimes I think we ought to change our name to “Apologetic New Yorkers” to say we’re sorry that we elect district attorneys who too often fail to prosecute so many terrible people–and that includes some Democrats, too. And apologize that instead of putting them in prison, we keep sending so many of them to Washington. Maybe this time will be different.

But back to the question: who tried to kill Social Security in the crib and who’s been trying to kill it ever since?

Almost all Republicans in Congress opposed it. But having failed to kill it behind closed doors, when it came up for a public vote and voters could see for themselves what was happening, most of the Republicans had to go along. Still, one-third of them voted “no.” (Only 2 percent of Democrats voted against it—because it wasn’t generous enough.)

So FDR and the Democrats pushed through Social Security over fierce Republican opposition. That’s just a fact. But maybe you’re thinking that’s ancient history. Think Social Security is safe?

Please. The Republicans have never given up on trying to take it away. Along with every other government program that gives people minimally decent lives during their working years and in retirement; something that every developed Democracy has been doing for years.

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS AND SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security passed in 1935. Four years later, 75 percent of Senate Republicans tried to kill legislation providing benefits to dependents and survivors.

In 1950, 79 percent of House Republicans and 89 percent of Senate Republicans voted against disability insurance, defeating Democratic-sponsored legislation to expand Social Security to the disabled.

But by 1955, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower was fed up with the Republicans who wanted to abolish Social Security. He called them “stupid.”  Some of them might have been stupid but they were also vicious. The people who elected and reelected them? Maybe it’s okay to vote for the political party that fools you once—but vote for the same Republican Party again and again?
In 1956, though 86 percent of Senate Republicans still opposed disability insurance, Democrats finally pushed it through.

Question: Do you know who the Senate majority leader was in 1956?

Answer: Texas Democrat LBJ. That’s Lyndon Baines Johnson, for young folks.

Question:  Who was the House speaker who pushed it through Congress?

Answer: Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn.

But Republicans never stopped trying.  In 1964 Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate, backed by Ronald Reagan, who would eventually become president, both proposed that Social Security should be made voluntary. Sounds great, right? Make it voluntary in the name of “freedom.” But they understood that making it voluntary eventually would strangle the program. (That’s like the
“means” tests Republicans always propose. It sounds so reasonable. But once you limit the program to low-income people, it strips away the political support it gets from a large segment of the population.)  As I said, some of these Washington Republicans may be stupidjust as president Eisenhower saidbut they’re also vicious.  

In 1965, when LBJ was president, he was determined to get Medicare through Congress. And 93 percent of House Republicans and 62 percent of Senate Republicans voted to kill Medicare.

Americans finally got Medicare, and it was over the cold, dead bodies of Washington Republicans. And you know they’re always trying to cripple it.

Question: Do you remember who was president in 1977?

Answer: A peanut farmer from Georgia. A Navy officer who served under Admiral Hyman Rickover, founder of the nuclear submarine force, and a true Christian, Jimmy Carter was our 39th president. He proposed semiannual Social Security increases. But he couldn’t get Senate Republicans to go along. He couldn’t even get them to go along with an increase in the Social Security payroll tax to keep the system solvent. House and Senate Republicans blocked him. Their strategy wasand continues to beto bankrupt the program, or if they can’t do that, get a piece of those checks for Wall Street. That’s what the mega-rich people who finance these Republicans want. And that’s who Republicans take their orders from.

The Democrats are no angels. That good old boy Bill Clinton took plenty of money from Wall Street. Chuck Schumer did, too. But the truth is that the Democratic Party has too many people who count on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and unemployment insurance, and yes, food stamps—so Democrats will never, ever mess with those benefits. They’ll try to increase them. It’s just the opposite for Mitch McConnell’s senators. But first, a little more history.  

In 1981, Ronald Reagan proposed $35 billion in Social Security cuts over five years. Among other things, he would have  retroactively eliminated the minimum benefit for three million recipients. He had the power of the White House. And he was popular. The Democrats had to compromise. Congress ultimately enacted $24 billion of the proposed cuts.

But Reagan was just warming up. He proposed $200 billion in Social Security cuts over the eight years from 1982 to 1990. The cuts included reducing early retirement benefits; tightening disability eligibility standards; delaying cost-of-living adjustments;  and a 10 percent eventual reduction in benefits for all new retirees. Thankfully, the Democrats stood their ground and that one failed.

In 1985, the Senate Republicans passed a bill that entirely eliminated Social  Security Cost of Living Adjustments.  The only reason you don’t know that piece of history is because the Democratically controlled House killed the proposal.[1]

I don’t know how many of you recall the Republican tactic to end Social Security by trying to convince younger workers to put their Social Security payments into the stock market. Republican President George W. Bush led the fight to “privatize” Social Security. He even put it in his 2007 budget. That one failed—and in the next section, I’ll tell you more about it.

That’s a brief history of Social Security. No spin; just facts! 

BRINGING THINGS UP TO DATE, HERE’S DONALD J. TRUMP

On Aug. 8, this year, he signed an executive order instructing the Treasury  Department to allow employers to defer payment of payroll taxes for employees who make less than $100,000 each year. The order also instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to figure out how to eliminate the obligation to later pay those deferred taxes.

Trump: “If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. I’m going to make them all permanent. In other words, I’ll extend it beyond the end of the year, and terminate the tax.”

And here’s how he explains what he’s doing:

Trump: “On Saturday, I took executive action in a signing to save American jobs and support American workers. I signed directives to give a payroll tax holiday, with the understanding thatafter the election, on the assumption that it would be victorious for an administration that’s done a great job. We will be ending that tax. We will be terminating that tax.“

With a stroke of the pen, Trump cancels the payroll tax -- and guts Social Security
With a stroke of the pen, Trump cancels the payroll tax — and guts Social Security

“On the other hand, the other group [i.e. Democrats] wants to raise taxes, and they may want to leave it where you pay it. But the payroll tax is a big deal for people. It’s a tremendous saving for people. And we’re going to be doing it. And we intend to terminate it at the end of the appropriate period of time.”

Isn’t that great? To support us workers, with the stroke of a pen, we’re going to get a “tax holiday.”

Trump knows how to sign his name and he talks a great game, but I doubt he even knew that Social Security is financed through the payroll tax. Maybe you don’t, either? In 2019, 89% of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurancei.e. Social Securitywas financed via payroll taxes that amounted to $944.5 billion.

So, let’s take a holiday and eliminate the payroll tax. And goodbye Social Security. You don’t even have to say the words. What a con man! And so are all the Republican con artists who will take our Social Security away as sure as you’re breathing—if you still are when this pandemic is over.

But whether this vicious fool knew it or not, someone did. Those nameless Republicans who gave him his executive order to sign and his talking points to speak? They knew it, all right.

And whether you know it or not, we were a whisker away from losing our Social Security checks. Maybe not the people already getting themthat might be a step too farbut surely those who come after us.

All this in the name of working people who Republicans care so much about.

These hours-long lines are Georgia residents waiting for a charitable food distribution
These hours-long lines are Georgia residents waiting for a charitable food distribution

Question: Do you know what these car lines are about?

Answer: Those people in cars that stretch as far as the eye can see? They’re food lines. Because Republicans who control the Senate and Trump in the White House wouldn’t go along with a pandemic relief payment that the Democrats in the House passed.  It would destroy the incentive to work, they said. Besides, they said, the country can’t afford it. What could the country afford? Remember that $1.5 trilliontrillion with a “T”tax scam? More than 80 percent of which went to the superrich and big corporations?) 

DID I MENTION THAT TRUMP WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE?

That’s him with his golf cart. And that’s us in our food lines.

While we wait in food lines, Trump golfs.
While we wait in food lines, Trump golfs.

So now let’s look ahead a few weeks. You’re still going to vote for someone who will vote for Mitch McConnell to be majority leader? That’s the only vote that counts, you know. Come on, folks. One way or another, these Republicans are going to kill us and our kids too.

I’m not even going to talk about Medicare and Medicaid. Don’t you know that all these programs, including the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which ended the Insurance industry scam of collecting premiums and denying payments when you’re sick—(Sorry, you have a “pre-existing condition”)are always in the Republicans’ cross-hairs? If not, then I’ll just remind you again of that proverb about a fool and his money.

But please don’t be too insulted.  Republican propaganda is some of the best in the world. And we’ve been targeted by it for years. And that, as you’ve seen above, is what Mitch McConnell is still doing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *