It is interesting to see just how many people do not consider government programs, subsidies or flat out socialistic programs as government involvement. Of course – we’ve all heard the stories of people who say “Don’t let government touch my Medicare” or something to that affect.
And the Republican party has tried very, very hard to talk about spending cuts in generalities. In one moment – they attack Democrats for “cutting $500 billion out of Medicare” which isn’t true actually…and in the same moment – they talk about needing to cut Medicare and Social Security. Government programs like Social Security and Medicare are of HUGE importance to Seniors – both present day and future. The Republican strategy is to convince present day seniors (who vote in large numbers) that their coverage will not change at all….and at the same time – they’ll be trying to convince everyone pre-55 years of age that the programs need to be privatized.
Here’s the rub – if a Senior Citizen won’t be able to make it with the new and improved plan that would only affect future seniors…why should anyone who plans on living beyond 65 be willing to accept such a bad proposition? Republicans are trying to convince the average person that Social Security isn’t going to be there for them…and creating this doubt will make it easier for them to privatize the program and put your savings in the hands of the financial services industry.
After all – what could go wrong with putting your entire nest egg into the stock market?
Cornell University’s Suzanne Mettler points out that many beneficiaries of government programs seem confused about their own place in the system. She tells us that 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.”
Presumably, then, voters imagine that pledges to slash government spending mean cutting programs for the idle poor, not things they themselves count on. And this is a confusion politicians deliberately encourage. For example, when Mr. Romney responded to the new Obama budget, he condemned Mr. Obama for not taking on entitlement spending — and, in the very next breath, attacked him for cutting Medicare.
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