The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Don’t Touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!

May 30, 2011

In a heavily Republican district in New York state, a Democrat won a special election to fill a vacant Congressional seat.

The Republican campaigned by defending a Republican plan to privatize Medicare. The Democrat, Kathy Hochul, campaigned by attacking the Republican plan.

Hochul won, and she won by a very comfortable margin.

The Democrats were ecstatic – they had found their campaign issue for the 2012 election.

It’s certainly true that people are worried about Medicare, as well as Social Security and Medicaid.

They have reason to be. The political establishment has been sharpening the knives, spewing scare talk about budget deficits. A special “deficit commission” was set up to offer recommendations – which included big cuts in Medicare, big cuts in Medicaid, and big cuts in Social Security. The so-called Gang of 6 – three Democrats and three Republicans, until one of the Republicans dropped out – have also been working on a plan to “cut the budget deficit.” Isn’t it amazing, they too want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are at risk, and everyone knows it.

It’s understandable someone might want to vote against a person who openly proclaimed his intention to reduce Medicare to shreds.

But what does that get us, if the person put in office turns out to be someone who also will gut Medicare? Hochul may have attacked the Republican. But she didn’t say, “leave Medicare alone, don’t touch its benefits, don’t require bigger co-pays, don’t increase Medicare B and Medicare D premiums.”

No, she was only making election propaganda.

Last month Obama may have rebuked the Republicans – after all, he had to put on a little show. But he, too, then trotted out the budget deficit.

What did he offer up for cuts? What else, but Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which he said account, along with military spending, for two-thirds of government spending. And he wasn’t offering to cut military spending!

No, he spun us another yarn about the budget deficit!

Budget deficit? Social Security didn’t create the budget deficit. Medicare didn’t create it. And don’t even talk about Medicaid, which exists only because the medical system, run for profit, prices care out of the reach of many people.

The politicians created this budget deficit. Democrats and Republicans alike created it, throwing away trillions to the biggest banks in the world, billions to massive insurance companies, billions to the executives and bondholders of the auto companies, billions in tax breaks to oil companies, billions in pharmaceutical research paid by the government, billions in engineering research, billions to big mining companies that strip government land.

The Democrats and Republicans created this deficit by throwing away several trillions in wars aimed at imposing U.S. corporations’ claws on the world’s oil. They created it by giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the world. They created it by letting people worth hundreds of billions, if not a trillion dollars, pass all their ill-gotten gains on to people who did nothing for that money – and pay no taxes, to boot.

Don’t talk to us about budget deficit. Let the ones who created it pay for it.

And get their dirty fingers out of our pockets. Don’t touch our Social Security, don’t touch our Medicare, don’t touch our Medicaid. Those programs were won by our parents, our grandparents and our great grandparents in the vast social mobilizations of the 1930s, 1960s and ‘70s. Leave them alone!