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Politicians Target Social Security and Medicare to Pay for Tax Cuts
Insight from Tom Nash

January 12, 2018

Reasonable minds can disagree here regarding what to do with Social Security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP ( children’s health insurance ). Because I have advocated for the interests of families with those issues for over 40 years, I have opinions. And I find it important to share them, although the latter can be a tricky business proposition, particularly in today’s polarized climate. In that vein, all should know I am always happy to hear from others and learn about their experiences and their views.

It appears that Washington politicians are poised to put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block. The ink wasn’t even dry on the newly enacted 2017 tax bill—which showered the ultra-rich and corporations with enormous tax cuts that will, by even conservative estimates, add more than one trillion dollars to the national debt—when key Republican leaders like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin began beating the drums for cuts in programs that primarily benefit elderly and disabled Americans. Politico, a journalism website which covers U.S. politics and policy, wrote that in an interview with Senator Rubio, he said, “We need to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.” “Of course, by ‘structural changes,’ he really means cutting benefits,” says Politico.

We first raised the alarm about these potentially devastating cuts in last month’s blog article, The Trickle Down Tax Scam: “After months of secrecy and an all-out-effort by Republican Congressional Representatives and Senators to ram through what they have been billing as ‘tax reform,’ we now know what it really is—a ‘tax scam’, with particularly harsh consequences for those with health problems. Unpaid-for tax cuts yield deficits going up, then GOP demanding coveted SSDI/SSI and Medicare/Medicaid spending cuts … to address the very deficits they create today to help the wealthy.” Regrettably, our prediction appears to be coming true even sooner than we imagined.