On Saturday the SCDC received an e-mail from a concerned citizen. This person, a Republican, asked how we can “let Paul Ryan know this voter is against his plan to change social security, Medicare and [Medicaid]”. It was a great question, and I would like to respond to this person openly.
Paul Ryan is a big part of the problem. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, crafted the Republican budget in 2012, known as the “Path to Prosperity”.
In it, he championed the privatization of all three pillars of the social safety net. Social Security would be turned over to Wall Street firms, where retirement savings would ebb and flow with the market. Medicare benefits would become “coupons” that seniors can use to help pay for their own insurance plans through the private market.
This also features prominently in the 2016 GOP platform.
With the Republicans in control of all branches of government, Paul Ryan must be feeling pretty good now. But Ryan is not the main concern. Instead, we now have two bigger problems.
One: There is no Democratic president or Democratic-controlled branch of the government, in place as a check against this. Last month, voters across the country elected Republicans to lead the country.
Two: Installing Donald Trump as president allowed him to fill his cabinet with people who are eager to implement Ryan’s plans. Tom Leppert, Trump’s pick for leading the Social Security Administration, once released his own plan calling for the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.
Tom Price, Trump’s pick for leading the Department of Health and Human Services, is a strong proponent of the privatization of Medicare.
Elections have consequences.
So what can we do? I offer the following:
Rebuke the Trump Republicans by electing Democrats in 2017 who will maintain and strengthen the social safety net at the State level.
Write to your congressman. We should be grateful for selecting Josh Gottheimer to represent a large portion of Sussex County. Tell him you are behind his support for these programs. Then write to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen and tell him if he lays a finger on these, voters in Sussex County won’t forget or forgive.