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Your Entitlements At Risk If You Don’t Vote In Midterm Elections

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As we head towards the midterm elections Nov. 6 healthcare is the “most important” issue to 40 percent of Democratic voters, 31 percent of independent voters, but only 17 percent of Republican voters.

By Al Norman

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, as we head towards the midterm elections Nov. 6 healthcare is the “most important” issue to 40 percent of Democratic voters, 31 percent of independent voters, but only 17 percent of Republican voters.

In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans gained control of the House and Senate, respectively, with strong support from older voters. According to Pew Research, Donald Trump received support from 51 percent of the 50- to 64-year-old voters and 53 percent of voters 65 and older.

But in the 2018 midterm election the role of older voters may be changing. A recent poll by CNNfound that elderly voters were “tilting decisively towards Democratic congressional candidates,” which “would dramatically reverse the recent pattern in midterm elections when the elderly provided a major boost to GOP candidates.”

A poll in late August by the Washington Post/ABCfound “that if older voters were casting their ballots today, they would back Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives over Republican candidates by a whopping 22-point margin.” Democratic Senator Sheldon White House of Rhode Island provides this analysis:

“The Republicans have run enormous deficits up to provide tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires and billionaires. Now that we have this deficit problem we caused with this tax bill, they turn around and they say they have got to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. They’re going to take the trillions of dollars that they gave to the wealthiest Americans, and they are going to pull it out of the health care of regular Americans.”

Norman

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, reported recently that the federal budget deficit ballooned to $779 billion in fiscal 2018. “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said. “It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.”

The “real drivers” McConnell explained were “Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.” That prompted Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to say: “You let the seniors of this state know the majority leader is thinking about cutting Social Security and Medicare, they’re not going to be too happy.”

“We all know,” McConnell told the media, “that there will be no solution … short of some kind of bipartisan grand bargain that makes the very, very popular entitlement programs be in a position to be sustained. … But at some point, we will have to sit down on a bipartisan basis and address the long-term drivers of the debt.”

Do older voters realize that the “debt” McConnell is talking about has been caused by massive tax cuts that the White House proposed, and Congress passed, for corporations and the wealthy? Do they realize that Social Security is not part of the federal budget, but has its own Trust Fund financed by a payroll tax paid by workers and their employers? Some general tax revenues support Medicare — but the same payroll tax funds most of the Medicare Trust Funds. When America slid into the Great Recession of 2008, the Treasury Department created as $50 billion program to insure the banks and prevent a run on mutual funds. Republicans did not talk about the federal “debt” when Wall Street was stumbling.

Using the “deficit” now as an excuse to cut Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid is an election scam. If our leaders were really concerned about federal debt, they would not be bragging today about all the taxes they cut for corporations and the wealthy. President Trump says he has another tax cut for “middle class” people in his pocket — which will add billions more to the federal deficit. The Republican-led Congress has nothing on its agenda for middle class people.

I am an older voter. I have heard seniors brag that elders have the highest voter turnout. But the fact is, at least 30 percent or more of the registered elderly voters in America will not show up at the ballot box on Nov. 6. I can’t think of anything more important than your health care and retirement income. Protect your future by voting in the midterm election, and tell all your friends to follow you to the polls. Older voters have a rare opportunity to protect the programs that FDR signed as part of the New Deal. Trump writes about the “art of the deal.” But it has fallen to us to be the ones to block the “bad deal” that the White House and Congress are hatching.

Al Norman worked for 37 years as an advocate in the elderly home care system in Massachusetts. He can be reached at: alnormaneldercare@gmail.com.

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