We have bullies in politics today. They’re eager to hurt the poor, the disabled, the unemployed, seniors, even children, justifying their nastiness by stereotyping their targets as “takers,” parasites leeching off hard working Americans.
Very few people on the lower rungs of life’s ladder wish to be there.
Most unemployed people hate being jobless. Children never asked to be born into poor families. Disabled folks don’t want to be handicapped. The poor don’t like being trapped in a cycle of poverty. Seniors don’t enjoy getting ill.
But to hear the bullies tell it, every last American who relies on food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicare, Social Security or any other social safety net program all made lousy life choices and richly deserve their fate.
Three bullies are running for the Senate seat Saxby Chambliss is vacating.
Representatives Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey all want to kill Medicare, a program that has saved countless American families from financial ruin.
They all supported Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget bill which, according to the Wall Street Journal, “would essentially end Medicare, which now pays for most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.”
Broun proudly told a radio interviewer that he owns the most conservative House voting record of the three Senate candidates. He didn’t mention his support for cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) in half. Food stamps help feed 47 million Americans, nearly half of which are children.
“They (Gingrey and Kingston) want to be Paul Broun,” boasted the congressman.
Ahead of voting for Ryan’s budget, Kingston said, “It’s going to be a tough, serious budget …”
How tough and serious?
“I think we should go back to Social Security, take it off budget, dedicate the funds, put personal accounts on it,” added Kingston. “On Medicare, I think something like vouchers, where people actually have an incentive to save money.”
Here’s the translation of Kingston’s double talk: Social Security would be privatized and handed over to Wall Street, the same awful scheme George W. Bush tried to foist on Americans in 2005.
Medicare would be replaced with a voucher worth a few thousand bucks seniors could use to buy health insurance. Good luck.
Seniors and the disabled aren’t the only ones Kingston picks on. He attracted national attention when he said the children of poor families should sweep school floors in exchange for lunches so they get, “the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
When Gingrey was confronted with his anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare positions during an interview, the congressman lashed out at Democrats who want to repair and strengthen both programs so they continue to serve seniors for decades to come.
“Democrats are doing a pretty good job of continuing to scare seniors,” griped Gingrey.
Cobb County’s 70,000 seniors and those over the age of 40 ought to be very scared — of voting for any of these three in November, according to Jason Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Under Broun, Gingrey, and Kingston’s anti-Medicare plan, seniors would pay more for health care and millions would be forced onto a voucher program when they retire,” said Barasky. “It’s shameful (they) would put an end to Social Security by supporting a plan so dangerous for more than 1.5 million Georgia seniors who depend on these benefits.”
If Broun, Kingston and Gingrey were serious about cutting spending they wouldn’t be going after America’s most vulnerable. They could start with the Pentagon’s obscenely bloated budget.
As with all bullies, however, they know it’s a lot easier to attack the defenseless.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.