In recent months, this senior has received two glossy flyers from our own representative in Congress, Scott Tipton. Both flyers tell me how Mr. Tipton is fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare for seniors. His feel-good message is supposed to reassure me that he really is my champion in Congress.
But then I read the fine print in his flyers carefully, and I realized that Scott Tipton is not telling all of us, as the late commentator Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story. Follow me closely now as I explain.
In this fine print, Mr. Tipton states that he is protecting both Social Security and Medicare for seniors now enrolled in these programs. So far, so good. But then he states that he is protecting these programs also for those whose age places them within ten years of qualifying for both programs. Do you see a problem with that statement? Here it is.
This subtle statement raises one very important, unspoken question. Does Scott Tipton support Social Security and Medicare for anyone younger than the two groups of people described above? Both his flyers say absolutely nothing to answer this question, and there are two good reasons for this deliberate omission.
The first is that Scott Tipton wants to privatize Social Security for all younger Americans. In other words, he wants to destroy one federal system of impeccable integrity which always has guaranteed seniors at least a floor of financial support to survive their old age. Scott Tipton wants to tear up a solemn contract between generations in which the younger support the older in their declining years, with the assurance that they themselves will be supported when their time of need comes. Now he wants to abandon all those younger generations.
Instead, Scott Tipton wants everyone to invest only for themselves to protect their old age, and where will that leave them? The massive financial debacles of the past decade which nearly destroyed our economy provide the answer. The Bernie Madoffs and all other Wall Street thieves would plunder the Social Security trust fund and victimize new seniors in the largest financial scandal of American history ever seen.
The second reason is that Scott Tipton wants to replace Medicare with nothing more than vouchers which new seniors would use to buy private health-insurance plans. He never has said how large those vouchers would be. Would they cover multiple bypasses of diseased heart arteries, which can cost $100,000? Would they cover brain-cancer surgery for one Albuquerque firefighter, which will cost $1,000,000 as reported lately on local TV?
And when new aging seniors with ever-increasing health problems try to buy private health insurance with Scott Tiptons tiny vouchers, what insurers ever will accept those new seniors with all their pre-existing conditions? Scott Tipton proposes nothing but more of the same health system which considers such people to be lepers and abandons them in droves now.
Now you can see that Scott Tipton is no champion of Social Security and Medicare. He and all other Republicans in Washington want to destroy both programs instead. Scott Tiptons glossy flyers are his calculated attempt to placate us seniors into thinking we have nothing to worry about, and that we need not be concerned for anyone else. But some of us still care about all younger generations who will follow us.
James F. Andrus is a resident of Cortez. He provides weather reporting for the Cortez Journal.