Tag Archives: social security

Collins Demagogues Social Security

15 Jan

This letter to the Buffalo News bears special attention. Thanks to Bruce Kennedy of Orchard Park for taking the time to write it. It highlights the rhetorical nonsense and outright lies that Chris Collins utters without apology, accountability, or irony. 

If I am looking for misinformation or half-truths, there are radio personalities and television networks I can tune into. I expect more from my elected congressman.

Rep. Chris Collins, on a radio program recently, was making the case that we have to cut Social Security benefits in order to lower the federal deficit. This is a talking point that is repeated over and over again as a political scare tactic. The only problem is that it is untrue.

Pause here to remember that all politicians love usually to pander uncontrollably and shamelessly to seniors. During the two Hochul races against Corwin and later against Collins, the Republicans had their support for the Paul Ryan budget hung around their necks to shame them, like the kids whose parents make them stand on the corner with a cardboard sign reading, “I lied”. The issue at the time was Medicare, the wildly popular and efficient single-payer plan for senior citizens.

The Republicans were pushing a plan whereby people under the age of, say, 55, would receive fewer and weaker Medicare benefits when they reach the appropriate age, while current seniors’ plans would be unchanged. This two-tier proposal was especially egregious when you remember that Medicare isn’t some government handout, but a plan that you pay into your entire working life. You’re not some welfare bum, but a customer, in “run things like a business” parlance. 

The Social Security Program is totally financed by a designated tax (FICA). The program does not add a penny to the federal debt and it never has. Social Security in fact is prohibited by law from spending any more money than it has in its trust fund.

Also, it is a social insurance program, not an entitlement, as he referred to it. I assume Collins has subscribed to the theory that if you shade the truth about an issue enough times, people begin to think it has to be the truth. It is a representative’s job to inform the public, not to misinform. When you misinform on important issues, it is a disservice to your constituents.

Collins, of course, is a hyper-partisan borderline tea party public sector millionaire, as he called it. Collins is the least bipartisan rep from New York. He is the 2nd least productive rep from New York. He was for the disastrous shutdown before he was against it. He’s here denigrating Social Security as just another welfare handout that the government just can’t afford anymore, and that he and his nihilist Republican colleagues need desperately to “reform” through abolition and privatization. 

Problem is, there’s no one to credibly run against this congressional trainwreck. However, the new district boundaries help to expand the list of potential candidates. Collins will be largely self-funded, and supported by corporate interests and big right-wing PACs. His opponent would need name recognition, an ability to self-fund, a positive public image, and an way to challenge the myriad Collins lies and anti-regular-person positions and policies.

Know anyone? Tick tock.

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Republicans Fight to Guarantee Your Right to Contract Cervical Cancer

13 Sep

Last night, the Republican candidates for President held a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express.

As with all prior Republican presidential debates, I power-ignored it. I ignored it with extreme prejudice. I couldn’t have possibly ignored it more. There isn’t a chance in hell I’ll ever cast a vote for someone who panders to the Tea Party types, so there’s hardly a point in watching these spectacles – these battles to see who hates science more, who is the strongest believer in the  notion that the world is 4,000 years old, who hates Obama most, etc.

But watching CNN this morning, they’re un-raveling last night’s performance, and two exchanges stand out.

On the one hand, there was the fact that Texas Governor Rick Perry mandated HPV vaccines for Texas girls, from which parents were able to opt out if they wished. HPV is thought to be the main cause of deadly cervical cancer, and stopping the spread of the virus will clearly save lives. As one might  predict, the Santorum piety wing of the party on the stage hammered Perry for what might very well be the most honorable thing he’s ever done – implemented a state policy to try and save girls’ lives. Santorum and Bachmann in particular were appalled at this “big government” innoculation and fought valiantly for the right of girls to contract a deadly cancer.

To big cheers.

I’d like to thank Bachmann and Santorum – and that audience – for reinforcing why I’m no longer a member of that party.

The other issue is Social Security. Made solvent through 2030, Perry has been going around scaring the living shit out of people paying into the system, calling it a “ponzi scheme” (which implies that it is constantly on the brink of collapse), and proposing to revery the plan to the states.  It’s objectively not a ponzi scheme, and isn’t on the brink of anything. Reverting social security to the states would turn one big bureaucracy into 50 big bureaucracies and hardly makes any sense. But they’ll discuss this sort of rank idiocy on the TV, and the Rush Limbaugh adherents will applaud wildly.

I hate what national politics have become in this country. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I cannot stand the race to the intellectual bottom and the cretin-pandering. We need a second enlightenment.

Promoting cancer and scaring seniors, and reneging on a social contract engaged in by every American? It’s downright sickening.