UPDATE to original post:
An aide in Rep. Young’s office telephoned me a few hours after I posted this entry. He was very polite, and we had a good long discussion. He reported that their records showed that they had responded at least four times with mail to me regarding my communications. However, it turned out they had two addresses for us. One was correct, the other was totally wrong, in some small town somewhere in Southern Indiana. I have known for some time that there is at least one other person with my name, including apparently the same middle initial, here in Indiana, and I suspect that is where the mail may have gone. So that is now corrected in their data.
I did point out that we got the Congressman’s mail with a misleading questionnaire and poll asking for feedback on Medicare. I said that I planned to write an entry on it, and that I would fax them my comments later in the week.
During our conversation, I took the opportunity to reiterate some of the key points I have sought to make, especially the issue that vouchers for Medicare is a none starter. As I pointed out, old age is a preexisting condition, and for-profit CEOs of private insurance companies prefer their profits. I pointed out the unavoidable fact that Medicare’s overhead costs are only five percent, while private insurance costs run from 20% to as high as 30% or more, for profit and for the outrageous salaries paid the CEOs of the companies. Not only would costs to senior citizens increase, but no for-profit insurance company will want to sell policies to provide adequate coverage. Cost to seniors for medical expenses would quickly completely outstrip the entire average income of retired and aging citizens, certainly the average social security payments.
The aide tried out the Republican talking point that the planned changes would affect no one over age 55. My response was pretty blunt, namely, that I considered that an insult, since it presupposed my reaction would be a totally selfish one, that since I’ve got mine, I do not care about anyone else. I pointed out that I did in fact care, not only for my children, but for my grandchildren, and they should have the same access to the same insurance and coverage. I suggested that it was shameful of the Republicans to use a talking point that basically appealed to the most selfish and lowest motives.
I reminded the Representative’s aide that both Social Security and Medicare would be made sound for the foreseeable future just by taxing above that $180,000 cut off point. I also suggested that arresting doctors who cheat on Medicare for millions of dollars, as was reported in one instance just this week, would go a long way to helping the problem. Go after the criminals, not the old who need medical care.
I want to give credit to Rep. Young’s office for calling me and discussing these issues, and straightening out our address information.
Also, if he is serious about actually ending the kind of corporate welfare that sees the U.S. government continuing tax subsidies for the oil companies, which are wallowing in record profits, and the many subsidies for things like sugar, I support him 100%. That day cannot come too soon. Why do we have such munificent corporate welfare for the rich, anyway, when the middle class is dying, and there are not enough jobs to go around? Only because those corporations pour money into the pockets of the members of Congress. That, and no more.
From the June 29th Bloomington, IN Herald-Times:
Eliminating federal subsidies and entitlement programs in many forms is a big part of reducing the deficit, Young said.
“I don’t want to vote to raise (the debt ceiling),” Young said. “I only will vote for it if it is paired with significant spending concessions.”
These might include eliminating earmarks; agricultural subsidies including sugar, ethanol and cotton; and energy subsidies — even green energy incentives. Young said it’s best to “leave it to the marketplace” rather than have entitlement programs “driving fiscal imbalance.”
Commenting on President Barack Obama’s recently announced plan to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer, Young said “I want more information. The speech was short on details.”
I have, since he took office, repeatedly faxed Young my comments on the budget, the deficit, the threats to Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, with ample charts and data clearly laying the current deficit at the feet of the Bush tax cuts for the super rich, and the subsidies for and lack of enforcement of taxes on the corporate oligarchy, which is in the last stages of owning the best Congress they can buy in the history of our nation.
I have received NOT ONE SINGLE LETTER to me, a constituent, from Young’s office, in response to my faxes. Not a single response.
What really irks me is the fact that, having recently retired, is that I have been paying over 6% on both Medicare and Social Security, and my employers have been paying same, ever since the 1960’s, when I started working while still in my teens. I have never been unemployed. I have seen actuarial estimates of the value of contributions under these circumstances that suggest the accumulated value of my investments in these savings programs is somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars or more, each, in terms of my equity stake on the accumulated dollars based on payments and calculated increase in investment value.
Yet Young and his colleague Ryan of WI and the rest of the Republicans now tell me I and my fellow citizens are welfare queens who are draining the nation’s budget. All the while continuing their willingness to bail out the criminal banks, hedge fund managers, and Wall Street minions from their failed experiments in creative and corrupt business practices and mortgage bundling that has destroyed the value of real estate and home ownership in America to the point that almost HALF of all mortgages are estimated to be under water, owing more than value of the house, within another year.
The Congressional Budget Office issued a report last week that clearly states that if Congress DOES NOTHING for the next ten years, but just allows the current massive Bush tax cuts for the most wealthy to expire, the deficit will disappear in just 10 years.
Further, if Congress will also just extend Medicare and Social Security taxes beyond the current ceiling and tax on income amounts above $180,000, any problems in both programs are covered for the foreseeable future.
Further, if we get our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and quit spending billions off the books on wars that are only creating enemies, and not solving the problems facing the nations, the second cause in addition to the tax cuts for the super rich, will reduce the deficit almost overnight.
Besides, this is not a deficit problem. It is a revenue problem. And it is due to the super rich and corporations not being willing to pay their share. Americans are currently paying the taxes at the absolute lowest rate in 100 or more years. And the rich and the corporations are hoarding that cash, and not investing in research and development, and job creation.
If there is any theory that has been amply disproved in economics at this point, it is the insane trickle-down wealth theory. These disastrous tax cuts have resulted during the Bush presidency in an environment that netted absolutely no new jobs, and produced an economic recession that threatens to be rekindled and made worse again if the Republicans proceed with their absurd threat not to raise the debt limit. Which limit, by the way, is probably unconstitutional, anyway. The Constitution is pretty patently clear on the fact that U.S. commits to make good on all its debts, no exceptions, no loop holes. The so-called debt limit is a meaningless exercise in voting for show by Congress.
And the result of all this? Massive deficits, not to mention a crumbling infrastructure of bridges, waterworks, and essential services nationwide, estimated to need at least three trillion dollars to keep from collapsing into ruin. And an economy so stalled it is not creating new jobs, and the middle class is threatened with extinction. The transfer of wealth to the super rich only goes so far. Once you kill the consuming middle class, the whole engine of the economy collapses. And that is what is happening.
You get what you pay for. I don’t mind paying taxes when what I get is roads, bridges, police forces, assured medical care and a place to live safely in my old age, services for the poor and indigent rather than leaving them to die in the streets, all for me and all my fellow citizens. I sometimes wonder if the current wave of fundamentalists missed the Sermon on the Mount, and just who the blessed are, and what we are supposed to do for our fellow human beings. Like it or not, in our modern world of international relations and massive populations, government is not the problem; good government is the only solution. Unfortunately, it appears to be the Republican philosophy to destroy government, not make it work for the good of all.
Our nation is rapidly sinking into third world status in regard to health care and infrastructure and the working environment and security of its citizens.
And Representatives like Young of Indiana are driving us further into the ground with their wrong, factually inaccurate, and demagogic policies every day, meanwhile telling us that by beating up on the poor, the elderly, women and orphans, the epitome of Snidely Whiplash in action, they will solve the nation’s economic problems.