Republicans openly “anti-elderly party.”

Republicans openly “anti-elderly party:”   Republican presidential candidates are pushing cuts to Social Security and an end to Medicare: Gov. Scott Walker wants benefit reforms applied to anybody born later than 1967. (Reform = cuts) Sen. Ted Cruz: “Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” wants increased retirement age, benefit cuts and privatization. Mario Rubio: Raise the retirement age, impose cuts; young must accept Social Security; our Medicare is will be less than our parent’s.” Jeb Bush: Push the retirement age back to 69. Chris Christie wants a minimum retirement age of 64, reduced Social Security benefits for seniors making more than $80K/yr, and eliminate them for over $200K.                                                                                                            •     Eliminating Social Security benefits would barely affect millionaires’ let alone billionaires’ income. GOP reform is a slight-of-hand reform––meant to distract from better alternatives––which asks the wealthy to pay the same percentage as everyone in payroll taxes, but the wealthy earn most money off dividends not payroll. The Republican House has repeatedly passed budgets that cut Medicare, replacing losses with vouchers for private insurance that impose a severe financial hardship on the average enrollee.                                                                                                           •     GOP’s benefit reform is being used to detract from a simpler and fairer approach where all interests would profit: Wall Street would have more retirement income to manage (costly fee), and health insurers would receive a flood of new customers. Benefit reductions cost retirees dearly, at a time when they can least afford it. Half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings and older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit plan or non-retirement savings, to draw on in retirement.                                                                                                               •     Congress could resolve Social Security long term solvency simply by lifting the current cap on the payroll tax which funds Social Security, which now exempts all annual income above $118,500––including that of millionaires and billionaires. Congress could also resolve healthcare costs by reducing the perverse profit motive incentives allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with Big Pharma. Instead, Republicans ignore the best solutions, spinning cuts or lifting the retirement age as a lesser evil and creating more crises for the elderly.                                                                                                •     The retirement crisis comes from decades of wealth shifting from the middle class to the wealthy. Wage stagnation has Americans living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to save. Large employers have cut back on traditional pension plans. Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older. Social Security compares poorly to similar programs in most developed countries, but Republicans want to protect high earners and help corporations at the expense of ordinary retired people. That’s the GOP anti-elderly, pro-wealth agenda of today’s Republican Party.

 

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