Social Security, Medicare, veterans, health care are all on chopping block
By JEFF JOHNSON
(Dec. 6, 2017) — Last week I wrote an article for The Stand that warned that the Republican/Trump tax plan was not only a shift of our country’s commonwealth to the individual wealth of corporate donors, but was also a set-up for defunding Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, health care, and privatizing our federal government and our natural resources.
When you pass a massive tax giveaway bill that increases the national deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, there is not much left for taking care of the needs of everyday people.
Before the ink was dry on the Senate bill and before the Senate and House bills go to a conference committee for reconciliation, Republican lawmakers are crowing about the need to slash our New Deal/Great Society earned benefit programs and social need spending.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said, “You also have to bring spending under control…The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare…”
“We’re spending ourselves into bankruptcy… We’re in trouble. This country’s is in deep debt,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “You don’t help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don’t help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.”
Hatch went on to say that Congress hasn’t reauthorized CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), “BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE MONEY ANYMORE.”
He then punctuated his real feelings about everyday people by saying, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said, “I think not having an estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze, women, or movies.”
These men don’t live in the world of working people who struggle to put bread on the table and to pay the rent. They don’t live in the world where American children get one decent meal a day – in their public schools. They don’t live in the world where seniors quietly suffer in pain and hunger. Their views reek of the greed and ignorance that satisfies their corporate and wealthy donors.
Well, shame on these men and every other Republican lawmaker that voted on the House and Senate tax bills. If we don’t have the money to pay for the CHIP program anymore it is precisely because the tax shift bill you just passed GAVE THE MONEY AWAY TO YOU RICH FRIENDS!
But this doesn’t have to be. All we need are enough Republicans of good conscience to join the Democrats in Congress to vote “no” on whatever tax compromise bill comes out the conference committee.
As a labor movement let’s see if any of our Congressional Republicans have a good conscience. Let’s see if Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse or Cathy McMorris-Rodgers actually live in the world of working people. Let’s see if they actually give a damn.
Over the next two weeks please organize your members to call-in, email, visit, and picket their offices until we prick their conscience. You can contact your U.S. Representatives by clicking here or calling 1-844-899-9913.
Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State, representing the interests of more than 600 local unions and 450,000 rank-and-file union members.