Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romney's Anti-Entitlement Position, Decision Delay, Retirement Security

Just Say "No" To Entitlements

"It's an old theme by now, going back to Reagan and his war on welfare, but this time it's Romney's war on entitlement.  His new campaign refrain is to blame the poor for feeling 'entitled,' for saying, 'They owe me, I'm entitled,' while they sit back with their big screen HDTVs, their delivery pizza, laughing at the poor suckers who are getting up at six and working for a living.  It's Reagan's campaign theme from 1980: 'Send the welfare bums back to work.'"

"As a Senior Citizen I have both Medicare and Social Security, one I pay something for and the other I earned by 40 plus years of teaching.  It's not a reward in any shape or form, and I resent the implication."

Obviously, we agree and have been calling Medicare and Social Security "pre-paid public benefits" for a very long time.  We pay for them in advance with "premiums" -- AKA payroll taxes.  And that's how some Republicans try to say "Oh, it's 'premium support'," when they try to trick us.  Almost everyone is on to the name changing game, so they will use it less when it comes to the better understood programs.  But beware; the spin still will happen on things we don't know as well.

Awaiting Part 2

"When Congress handily passed a bill to set payroll tax rates, jobless benefits and Medicare doctors’ fees for the next two months, it seemed to end an epic political struggle between President Obama and Republicans on Capitol Hill.  In fact, that was just the beginning.  Every issue in dispute remains unresolved, waiting to be addressed when Congress returns next month for an election-year session in which agreements could be even more elusive."

Where Do the Candidates Stand on Retirement Security?

"The Republican Party has staged a mind-numbing 18 presidential debates this year, and more questions and answers lie ahead as the primaries and general election get into high gear in the new year.  The future of Social Security and Medicare will be central issues in the 2012 election."

"The ongoing debate about income inequality also is tied to retirement policy, since the erosion in middle class wages affects 401(k) savings, pension benefits and the ability to retire at all."  "Yet these issues have yet to receive a serious airing in the debates, aside from accusations about Social Security Ponzi schemes and general threats to replace Medicare with vouchers."

These seven questions are pointed, and we need to hear the answers from the Republican Presidential hopefuls ... and from the President himself.  The Medicare question comes from Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center: "Over the past year, there have been many Medicare proposals that may be described using different terms, including privatization, vouchers, premium support and defined contribution, but they all would significantly change the Medicare program.  Would you support a proposal that would privatize or partially privatize the Medicare program or change Medicare into a voucher, premium support, or defined contribution plan?  Why or why not?"  This is a fair question that ought to be answered directly and without obfuscation.  We know all too well that "the devil is in the details," but don't say that.  Just say as clearly as you can whether privatization and/or some form of "voucher" would be a part of your administration's work program.  That shouldn't be too difficult to do.

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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