Here’s a Viewpoint article by Mary Hatch that appeared in the February 22, 2023, issue of the Mecklenburg Sun titled “That time again“.
It’s that time again. The Congress is now owned by the GOP and instead of the insurrection, their new form of domestic terrorism is directed towards the “handouts” (not really a handout) to seniors who receive Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits and any other form of “handouts” the GOP throws into the pot. They want more tax cuts for the rich because I guess the millionaires and billionaires need more yachts and jet planes.
Consider Trumps “handouts” to the rich — tax cuts that mostly benefitted the top one percent of Americans making over $400,000 (per the Tax Policy Center). So, the way this new insurrection plays out is they refuse to raise the debt ceiling on money that was already borrowed and approved beforehand. This would be the only time in history the debt ceiling has not been raised. Since the debt ceiling was initiated in 1917, it has been raised 78 times since 1960: 49 times under GOP presidents and 29 times under Democrat presidents (three times under Trump, and two under Biden). Here are some more of the “handouts” for seniors and middle class households that Republicans’ want to gut: GOP wants to raise prescription drug costs for millions of seniors (Axios 9/23/22), increase health insurance premiums for 13 million people with three million becoming uninsured; eliminate tax credits that will save Americans thousands of dollars if they weatherize homes, install efficient heating and cooling systems, and solar; increase student loan payments affecting 40 million Americans, and the list goes on.
The GOP has been working on this onslaught for years and has taken money from right-wing lobbyists and think tanks such as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Koch Brothers, and Pete Peterson Group. If the GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling here is what will happen. A government default puts all federal programs at risk including Veterans’ benefits, federal law enforcement and public health, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and defense spending. It will cause chaos in global financial markets that consider US Treasury bonds to be a safe harbor investment, and our stock market would plunge.
Here are the list of GOP senators and representatives who want to either reduce, privatize, sunset, or gut federal programs that also benefit the middle class: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would use the debt ceiling for forced cuts to critical programs. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chairman of the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee wants to sunset Social Security and Medicare after five years. He calls this his “rescue plan.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the top Republican on Senate Budget Committee, promised “entitlement reform is a must.” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) wants to raise the retirement age. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) wants to cut “entitlements” (Social Security and Medicare). Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) wants no benefits for people with incomes or assets above a certain level (what level)? Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), ranking Republican member on the House Budget Committee, wants to cut “entitlements” and will hold the debt ceiling hostage. He wants to raise the retirement age and privatize Social Security. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) wants to put Social Security and Medicare to vote every year. What we all need to do is to cut their salaries and health benefits if they want to gut ours. Again, who are they representing? We need to take these out-of-control people seriously. Please exercise your voting rights.