Historically, Democratic leaders have created and defended Social Security and Medicare. In Maine today, 94 percent of senior citizens are receiving Social Security benefits and 99 percent of people over 65 are on Medicare. People have paid into both those programs. They have earned those benefits.
There has been a push by some Republicans to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Congressman Paul Ryan's plan called for a trigger to fast-track cuts to Social Security benefits. Congressional Republicans ensured themselves cradle to grave health care benefits while looking to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
Everyone, regardless of political party affiliation, needs health care. Health care is a human right. Not only has Medicare helped to protect the health of the nation's senior citizens, but it has kept many people from becoming bankrupt.
Social Security should not be turned over to Wall Street. A lot of people lost money during the market crash in 2007-08. We can't afford to let Social Security become privatized.
People making more than $106,800 stop paying into Social Security after they reach that amount. That is the cap. If that cap, which benefits only the wealthiest people, were eliminated. Social Security would thrive.
I hope any budget talks do not lead to raiding those two essential programs. Those two programs should not become a piggy bank for tax cuts for the wealthy.
Let us take care of the elderly and disabled citizens.
John Myrand, Lewiston