2011-06-10 / Letters

Republican Lies Continue

Dear Editor,

Dr. Harold Paez asserts in the latest issue of The Wave that “Republicans do not propose to ‘end’ Medicare, Medicaid, and education. Period.” That’s a reassuring soundbite, but it’s also a blatant lie. Converting Medicare into a voucher program would force seniors to pay double what they do now. According to respected economists, that would amount to a $6,000 increase in out-of pocket expenses annually per Medicare enrollee, which would severely undercut the elderly middle-class, many of whom live on fixed incomes. The value of vouchers would increase with time, but in all likelihood, their growth would be outpaced by the sharply rising price of insurance.

Many would have to pay through the nose for doctors’ visits and prescriptions and we would undoubtedly see an erosion in the standard of living enjoyed by the average old person.

Such are the consequences of throwing millions of aged onto the mercy of the private, for-profit insurance industry, which has one concern and one concern only: the bottom-line. And this isn’t ‘Mediscare:’ it’s simply the truth.

The Republicans want to turn Medicaid—a program they never liked because it assists the poor—into block grants given to the states. This would be disastrous. It would cut the total number of dollars spent on the program’s beneficiaries nationwide and allow states to misappropriate federal funding.

We have seen this already in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has pushed through legislation forcing the misfortunate and disabled into H.M.Os, a move that may drive up the profits of his insurance buddies, but harms patients in the process. This was well-documented in The New York Times, which profiled the struggles of one woman whose son has muscular dystrophy and who was placed in an H.M.O. In this new system, her child lost the network of specialists she had managed to cobble together and was subjected to lower-quality care until she found out how to opt out of the program. Under the Ryan plan, one woman’s nightmare may become a national tragedy. Of course the reactionary overreach of the Republicans doesn’t stop there. They do, in fact, want to shred environmental protections. Conservatives have introduced bills to fire EPA inspectors and knock the teeth out of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Senate Republicans even proposed legislation abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency altogether. Oh, and Dr. Paez, they also want to get rid of the Departments of Energy and Education. And then there’s the war on collective bargaining, which is not about “local changes” and fiscal solvency. Rather, it’s about depriving the middle class of a political voice, denying union members a seat at the table, and infringing on the fundamental rights of all human beings. If one does not have a say over the condition of his labor, then what is he? He is a slave.

This is the exact aim of the megacorporations and the leaders they buy: autocracy at the job site and plutocracy on the national political scene.

More on those big companies: they are most certainly not under-taxed. Of course, Republicans choose to engage in disingenuous rhetoric on this subject. They are right that America’s technical tax rates are the highest in the world. However, they fail to mention that most giant corporations have found ways to avoid paying anywhere near the 35 percent rate. Some, such as Bank of America and ExxonMobil paid nothing in taxes last year, GE even received millions in tax benefits.

Wealthy individuals are also living high on the hog: the top one percent collect 22 percent of the nation’s annual income, an indicator of the US’s startling economic inequality. No wonder most Americans view the Ryan plan’s proposal to slash taxes on rich corporations and people as wrongheaded, inequitable, unjust, and unaffordable. It’s also nonsensical, just like the rest of the voodoo economics that Republicans have been pushing since Reagan.

For the next two years, the conservatives will continue in their attempts to dismantle the New Deal and the Great Society, to destroy the social safety net, to undermine the middle class, to protect their corporate backers. In November 2012, when this letter writer will first vote, there will come a day of reckoning.

That first ballot I cast will be one for fair play, for help to the disadvantaged, for protection of the environment, for defense from corporate greed and excess, for President Obama, for the Democratic Party, for American values.

DANIEL SOLOMON

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Medicare as it presently

Medicare as it presently stands is doomed for failure in a short march of years. The demagoguery by both democrats and republicans are presently at a fever pitch. Why is there no clarity on the subject. Seems simple enough, the needs and expansion of this entitlement far outstrips the government's ability to pay for it. Let the arguments about where the deck chairs should be placed on the Titanic commence. Put this in the hands of the republicans, it will be downsized and cut. Put it in the hands of the democrats and it will be continued till economic failure. Pick your poison, but either way, if your hitching a wagon to the medicare horse, be prepared for disappointment.


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