Hey, did you say that it's your you know what?
These days in the USA, if you’re middle class, chances are it's your life savings. Thanks to corporate greed, pensions are gradually becoming a nostalgic memory. As if that's not bad enough, many soon-to-be retirees lost a good portion of their 401Ks when they panic-sold during the 2008 financial crisis. You remember 2008, that's when Wall Street and the banks were bailed out and us ordinary, small enough to fail common folk were left to drown....oops, I mean fend for ourselves.
As if all of the above isn't bad enough for an older person's fiscal health, and if it didn't totally wipe out his or her life savings, a major illness will probably get the job done. In the good old USA,
bad physical health causes bad fiscal health. Although being insured is better than not being insured, in many cases health insurance, Medicare included, doesn't fully cover the medical expenses of a serious illness. One illness can wipe out your life savings or cause bankruptcy.
In many enlightened countries, getting sick doesn't mean going broke because they have nationalized health care that covers just about every contingency. In many enlightened countries, people can retire with dignity. Not so here because our country seems to put corporate profits
before the well being of its citizens. Case in point being the constant attacks on Social Security and Medicare that corporate owned electeds refer to as “entitlements.”
The bottom line is that our country has finally devolved to the point where it, comparatively speaking, not only has few social safety nets, but has electeds that want to either cut or take them away. The question of the day is, are we going to stand for that?
The road to social justice for every American is a long, circuitous one. Over the years, those who have chosen to travel down that road, despite the roadblocks put up by many Republican politicians, have given us many things that we take for granted today. Franklin Delano Roosevelt fought tirelessly to give America Social Security which helps scores of Americans retire with dignity and lets many more know that a severe disability isn't a one way ticket to starvation. Lyndon Baines Johnson used his political prowess to shepherd Medicare through Congress and the Senate, giving seniors and the disabled a healthcare safety net that should be given to everybody.
Social Security and Medicare as rights are both measures of our evolution as a society, much as the elimination of debtors' prisons and the passing of child labor laws were for earlier generations. There was a common thread that ran through all of those steps that brought America forward. That thread was the strong Republican opposition that each of those Democratically supported socio-economic advances elicited. What turned those dreams into reality was that politicians like FDR and LBJ had the will, integrity and political courage to take a stand and fight for them! Voters weren't shy about letting FDR and LBJ know that they wanted Social Security and Medicare.
Today's Democrats seem to forget that their party is the party of FDR and LBJ, a party that has helped us evolve as a society. Many of today's Democratic electeds seem to prefer to pay homage to Ronald Reagan, the father of trickle down economics, something that has lined the pockets of the rich and emptied ours. They would rather compromise with (sell out to) the Republicans than fight for programs that protect our interests. In short, the real Democrats of the past wouldn't call them Democrats.
Programs like Social Security and Medicare have withstood the test of time, the bush tax cuts have only been around since around 2001 and have helped put us in the fiscal mess we're in today. I become disheartened when President Obama and other Democrats call making cuts to Social Security and Medicare or raising the eligibility age in exchange for eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the rich a "Grand Bargain." That's hardly what I would call a "Grand Bargain", in reality, it's a fool's bargain!
I will be interviewing Jon "Bowzer" Bauman who is a spokesman for The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare but is better known as "Bowzer" from the group Sha Na Na on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM ET live on the Working Family Radio Radio Network at http://www.wfrnlive.com You can listen to it live there by clicking on the "Listen Live" icon or by tuning in to any of the affiliate radio stations listed. Jon and the organization that he represents are fighting the good fight to protect Social Security and Medicare from those who would destroy it. We have common cause and I intend stand with them and help them.
Here's a little something I found on YouTube to whet your appetite: