by Karl Stark | August 05, 2011
Medicare and Medicaid turned 46 last weekend, and what better way to celebrate than by flatly announcing that you’re going to break the programs’ promise to millions of Americans? That’s just what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told the Wall Street Journal this week. According to Cantor, we should “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many.”
Here’s the clip on YouTube:
Cantor and other Republican leaders are relentless with their attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Whether they’re proposing benefits cuts or privatization, Republican leaders are using every opportunity to undermine these critical programs, rather than making them stronger as a recent Medicare Trustees Report called for. Medicare is not in immediate crisis. In fact, the program was greatly improved by provisions in the Affordable Care Act that increased both eligibility and savings.
If Cantor is looking for a scapegoat, he’d be better served turning his sights on the Bush tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires. According to the Congressional Budget Office, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will increase deficits by $2.7 trillion between 2011 and 2020. Additionally, the Center for American Progress has identified more than $1 trillion worth of wasteful spending hidden in the federal tax code that benefits the rich and corporations.
If “promises are not going to be kept” to the American people, it’s because Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republican leaders refuse to eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies for millionaires, billionaires and prosperous corporations. After holding America’s economy hostage to their reckless demands in recent negotiations to prevent government default, House Republican leaders are doubling down on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal – which would end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them – despite unceasing opposition from the American people.
According to recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 68 percent of Americans disapprove of this Republican approach to the deficit, and 65 percent disapprove their handling of job creation and taxes. But that doesn’t seem to matter to these Republican leaders. It also doesn’t seem to matter to them that millions of Americans who have been paying into these programs would be hung out to dry. All that matters to Cantor, Boehner and the other GOP leaders in Congress is that millionaires and billionaires get their tax loopholes and write-offs for corporate jets. Good grief.