On the 75th birthday of Social Security, the American people got a choice from the two parties: Democrats resolved to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while Tea Party Republicans urged an end to these vital programs as we know them.
From speeches to rallies from sea to shining sea Democrats seized this moment to celebrate inter-generational compacts that secure our commitment to each other. I believe that Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid are as all-American as motherhood, baseball, and chocolate cake, so it was with pride that I stood this weekend at our Democratic National Committee meeting with my baby in one hand and policy paperwork in the other to argue for a resolution urging the President's Fiscal Commission on the Deficit to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Benefits. The DNC resolution, led by retired steelworker and veteran Robert "Big Red" Rankin, placed a marker down on the side of dignity and security for America's working families by protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The full text of the DNC resolution is:
Resolution Urging the Fiscal Deficit Commission to Protect the Critical Benefits Provided by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as They Conduct Their Important Work to Reduce the Deficit
WHEREAS, President Obama, by Executive Order in February 2010, created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Commission) and the Executive Order directs the commission to reduce the annual deficits to 3% of the national economy by 2015; and
WHEREAS, we fully support the President on the critical need to reduce the nation's budget deficit; and
WHEREAS, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), most of the projected budget deficit over the next ten years results from President Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans and the effects of the worst recession since the Great depression; and
WHEREAS, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are three of the most successful federal programs in existence; Social Security has helped generations of Americans retire with dignity, has a $2.5 trillion surplus and has never contributed to the federal deficit; Medicare has helped reduce poverty among seniors by two-thirds since its inception in 1965; and Medicaid provides essential care for millions of Americans;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Democratic National Committee recommend that the Commission do everything possible to protect the important programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
At the same time that Democrats were protecting Social Security, Tea Party Republicans led by Dick Armey were out to privatize it. Indeed, no sooner had I arrived home from the DNC meeting than I tuned in to the Tea Party maven go on MEET THE PRESS where Armey urged Republicans to have the "courage" http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0810/Armey_GOP_needs_courage.html?showall to co-sign the Paul Ryan Roadmap to privatize Social Security, voucherize Medicare, and block grant Medicaid.
You remember the Ryan Roadmap, right? That's the top House Budget Committee Republican repeating the same privatization path that was proposed by President Bush and soundly rejected by the American people in 2005. http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=8521
You would think after all the complaints about Wall Street recklessness causing Main Street pain that privatizing Social Security would be off the table - but you would be wrong.
So the next time someone asks you about the difference between the parties, just remind them that when Social Security turned 75, Democrats celebrated while Tea Party Republicans grabbed the ax.
Democrats resolved to preserve the Social Security Trust Fund, which is running a 2.5 trillion dollar surplus without adding a single penny to the federal deficit, while Tea Party Republicans urged privatizing a third of it, allowing Wall Street to once again wreak havoc on retirement. Democrats resolved to protect Medicare while Tea Party Republicans urged voucherizng it, leaving seniors to the mercy of the market. Democrats resolved to protect Medicaid while Tea Party Republicans urged block granting it, reducing the commitment to our seniors.
When faced with this choice, I believe the American people will stand with Democrats who resolved to reduce the federal deficit without raiding the Social Security Trust Fund or balancing the budget on the backs of our seniors, and reject Tea Party Republicans who urged putting retirement programs - not billionaires' tax cuts - on the chopping block.