I was very upset when I read that Kerry, who has been appointed to the “Super Committee” was talking about cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, so I called his office. The results were not reassuring.
I told the woman who answered the phone that there should be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. She then read me a script saying that revenues have to be part of the package and that we have to make sure that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are solvent, and that there was a coming demographic problem with the aging of the baby boomers. So I told her that there was no problem with Social Security, and that Social Security was solvent until 2037. She then said that there was a problem with Social Security after that. Then I told her that this projection was based on an extremely pessimistic view of the US economy – that it would grow more slowly than it has ever grown in the last century, including during the Great Depression. At this point, she decided that she couldn’t talk to me any more since she had nine other callers on hold. This, in spite of the fact that she answered my call on the second ring. She said I should email Kerry. I pointed out that Kerry limited the size of the emails he would receive, and she said that I could attach anything I wanted to the email. I told her that I had more to say and that she needed to listen to me. Then she hung up on me.
I was going to tell her the following:
1. Social Security is solvent.
2. Medicare and Medicaid would save enormous amounts of money if we had Medicare for all and could negotiate with drug companies on prices of drugs.
3. The top 1% of earners (over $450,000 per year) used to have about 8% of the total income in the 1970s. Now they have nearly 24% of the total income, and the top 0.1% has 11% of the total income. This is where the money needs to come from, as well as from increased corporate taxes.
4. I was also going to refer her to the comprehensive reports on Social Security and health care on the web site of the Sudbury Democratic Town Committee (sudburydemocrats.org). I even mentioned the web site before she hung up.
It seems that in Massachusetts we have a unique opportunity to shape history. Kerry is our senator. We should be calling and visiting his offices and putting other pressure on him to encourage him to play a positive role on this powerful and dangerous committee. Perhaps we could pay weekly visits to his office to enlighten him on these issues and discuss them with him or his staff.
August 11, 2011