[See later update at end of this post.]

Shelli Yoder, challenger for IN-09 House seat, debated the incumbent GOP representative Todd Young here in Indiana yesterday.

I am disgusted at her buying into one of the most dishonest GOP and right wing talking points regarding Social Security and Medicare, and saying she would consider means testing. Frankly, her saying this was just pandering to the right for a few votes, dishonest, and demonstrated her total lack of understanding of what these two programs represent to Americans who are retired and aging.

Yoder and Young agreed the national deficit is a problem but strongly differed on ways to solve the issue. Some of these differences included when Medicare would go bankrupt and how involved the federal government should be on higher education spending.

Yoder said she would be willing to consider means-testing, meaning wealthier Americans might receive fewer benefits or no benefits at all.

“I came out and I said I would want to look at it. I’m not closed off,” Yoder said. “I know that some have said that means-testing would be a way of discriminating, and this really put my feet to the fire.”

I am disgusted.

Young will destroy Medicare and Social Security completely. He voted to destroy Medicare already, and replace it with a voucher system that will raise costs to seniors by nearly $8,000 a year almost immediately, assuming they can even find a private insurer who will cover them, which is unlikely. That is the GOP game plan. They hate for government to succeed, and these two programs represent the best programs of the past century for the American people.

Yoder, however, disappoints completely. Let me remind Yoder that at age 66, and recently retired, my drawing on Medicare and Social Security is drawing on funds that I PAID INTO my entire working life, from the time I was still in high school, from the mid-1960’s, and I worked that entire time and was never unemployed. Neither is a welfare program. Both are savings programs, into which Americans pay by payroll taxes. Those are our saved monies, not the government dole.

If you vote for means testing, you are suddenly stealing money from me that I saved for my retirement by deductions in every paycheck I ever received. I have to wonder if such a change in the program could even withstand the most simple legal challenge, which will, I guarantee, follow any such effort to change the program.

The whole point of both programs is to sequester the money to keep it safe from the vagaries of the marketplace, and protected by the government. And Medicare runs at a mere 5% overhead cost. Only the passage of the health care act forced the private insurers to quit stealing consumers blind by forcing them to not charge overhead greater than 20% for profits and CEO bloated salaries. Some companies were charging 25 – 35% as the norm, and some were ripping customers off at the 50% rate.

I will just vote a straight Democratic ticket, and hold my nose from the foul smell of Yoder’s remark offering to steal from my retirement savings accounts, Social Security and Medicare, hoping that she will see the light if elected, and not vote to steal from my retirement savings.

The bottom line is, the current deficit is due to two wars and the Bush era tax cuts for the super wealthy. End of discussion. And Social Security is NOT EVEN PART OF THE DEFICIT! It is a separate trust fund. The fact that the government has chosen to rob the fund does not change the fact. Social Security is not a part of the deficit of this nation. Those wanting to destroy it are simply lying when they include it in the deficit issue and problem.

And that is stealing from YOUR savings accounts, too. And what I cannot understand is why nearly half of Americans seem willing to let themselves be robbed blind by the corporate plutocracy that is taking over this nation.

Are you OK with having your Social Security and Medicare Savings Taken Away so the Plutocrats Can Keep their Huge Tax Cuts?

As a commenter on the HearaldTimes web site pointed out:

Ms. Yoder made it clear that social security and medicare are trust funds, not entitlements as Mr. Young states. However, look at what individuals pay into these trusts over their lifetimes and you will see that their return is far greater than what they ever pay in. At some point means testing may be required to fulfill promises to all American workers. If ever such a measure were added to these trust funds, there would be grandfathering for seniors of certain ages.

What impressed me during this debate is that Ms. Yoder always answered the questions asked, unlike Mr. Young. This was a breath of fresh air after watching so many debates where candidates wax on about whatever they want. And when correcting Mr. Young, Ms. Yoder was direct and polite. Say what he will,Mr. Young voted to reduce funding for Head Start and Pell grants and Veteran benefits. Whom do I trust, Ms. Yoder.

As for those who support Social Security but still are ‘willing to look at means testing to save the program’, I have the following to add. Some have suggested we all pay into the fund, but we get to draw from it after retirement ‘only if we need it’.

Say what??

Why should anyone be willing to pay in to a fund that they will be denied the proceeds of when they retire? That whole argument is nonsense. And is absolutely contrary to the original intent of social security.

It is a right wing talking point, and typical lie, that the program was established just to help out desperate workers in the Depression. That is crap, and the language of the original legislation makes it crystal clear, that it is a retirement program for all retirees to be drawn on based on amounts they have paid in during their working years. The fact that I draw twice the amount my wife draws makes this crystal clear. Benefits are already proportioned based on life long contributions.

No, it is NOT necessary to means test to stabilize the program.

If you do not pay into savings accounts, you have no savings. If you need more savings for retirement, you put a few extra dollars in the account every paycheck.

This is so blindingly obvious. It pains me to see even Democrats falling for this fallacious line of thinking.