| Senate Republicans and Tea Party House members held the nation hostage on a debt ceiling bill. They demanded severe cuts to social programs and refused to raise taxes on the rich in order to continue paying for the out of control spending they did while in the White House. $15 trillion of debt was run up by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and then George W. Bush and then Republicans in Congress who voted for all that debt refused to pay it when the debt ceiling was reached. Their failed economic policies and refusals to regulate business resulted in a global financial meltdown which has crashed the economies of countries such as Ireland, Greece and Spain.
Now they enjoy casting the specter of Greece before us and use it to fear monger over the deficit. A deficit they created. The difference between America and Greece is that we can afford to pay our debt. Greece cannot. It isn't comparing apples and apples.
The agreement to extend the debt ceiling was reached by setting a fiscal armageddon date: January 1, 2013 when across the board cuts would usher in an era of austerity. Austerity has yet to work anywhere and actually depresses economies. Republicans are ready and willing to throw our recovering economy back into depression in order to gut entitlement programs. They see this as their opportunity to finally gut your Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These are programs which are the most successful in our history. Republicans however, are hell bent, as they've been for decades, to end them.
Heaven help us have successful programs for the poor, elderly, disabled and orphans. Before Social Security half of all senior citizens lived in poverty. That has been the real success of the program. Our elderly, disabled citizens and orphans have been able to live with some self sufficiency and dignity due to SS. It adds not one red cent to the deficit and should have nothing to do with deficit reduction negotiations. The only reason it is is because Republicans see an opportunity to gut and/or end the program.
We can actually expand Social Security benefits and extend its solvency for 75 years by lifting the income cap upon which payroll taxes are collected. People who earn millions and billions per year pay FICA taxes on only the first $110,000 of that income. Therefore you pay a higher tax rate than they do.
Republicans ran this year on the issue of Medicare by scaring senior citizens that they'd protect it against President Obama's cuts. While ballots continue being counted from the election Senate Republicans such as Lindsey Graham are already using extortion to gut Medicare and Social Security. They also used the threat of Democratic cutting in 2010 then voted in the House to replace it with a privatized voucher system.
40% of senior citizens, according to exit polls, voted for the Romney/Ryan ticket dedicated to gutting both Social Security and Medicare. They did so because the GOP lied about the issue. This is no excuse for not being an informed voter. There is no defense against willful brainwashing. Still, with the electoral college not yet even meeting to be on television demanding cuts to entitlement programs is shameful.
Grover Norquist's anti-American anti-tax pledge is shameful because it forces Senators and Congress members to violate their oaths of office. It forces them to put partisan ideology ahead of the country. John McCain's "Country First" slogan was a fraud. Any candidate who signs the Norquist tax pledge is unfit to serve.
Medicare is in financial trouble long term because our private health care system s broken. Medicare isn't the problem: private health insurance is driving costs upwards. A single payer Medicare for All system fixes everything. Both programs need expansion, not gutting.
This entire "fiscal cliff" discussion is a failure. The deficit isn't the problem, a lack of jobs is what is issue #1. Putting people back to work will eliminate the deficit by raising income tax collections. The deficit was caused by three main factors, all Republican failures: the Bush tax cuts for the rich, two wars which weren't paid for and the economic collapse. We can fix things by allowing the tax cuts to expire, ending the wars and following proven economic recovery models. There is no need to gut entitlement programs.
They aren't "entitlement" programs anyway. You've paid into both for as long as you've worked. You're invested in Social Security and Medicare, you've worked for them. The rich aren't entitled to tax cuts or wars for which the poor fight and die. They aren't entitled to an unregulated, chaotic, boom and bust capitalistic economy. Now those ARE entitlements.
Republicans cannot be trusted with your financial security. If you voted Republican then perhaps you deserve to lose your Social Security and Medicare. Even extreme Tea Party members won't give up their benefits. I've been at their events with a small BBQ grill and signs saying I'd burn their Medicare and Social Security cards and none of them would do so. Let's take their benefits away since they're hell bent on destroying the programs. One solution is obvious: if you're a registered Republican you don't get Social Security or Medicare.