Trump, the GOP and Seniors: Red Lights Are Flashing

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Submitted by: Linda Porterfield 5/28/20

Pay attention Florida.

In Davos Switzerland at the World Economic Summit, Trump suggested he is willing to consider cuts to safety net programs such as social security and Medicare if he wins a second term (New York Times, 1/2020). Shortly after that, COVID-19 began its insidious creep around the world with an avalanche of sickness, mortality, mismanagement and an abysmal lack of concern from our president and the GOP.

While our attention was justifiably diverted to this crisis, other things were happening in the background.
Trump’s 2021 budget was introduced in February. Have you read it? The plan cuts Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars, reduces Medicare spending by $756 billion over the next nine years and cuts Social Security Disability Income by $75 over the same time period (Forbes, 2/2020). The potential impact is party-neutral. Provider choice, health care access, benefit payments and the vital income stream crucial for many to lead a full, unimpeded life would affect all seniors currently benefiting from these programs…democrats, republicans, and independents.

Even more ominous about this budget concerns what is NOT included: nothing about the harsh reality of Social Security running dry by 2036, Medicare going broke in 2026 or any possible rescue plans for these programs now providing life-sustaining assistance to seniors.

And the hits keep coming. The GOP anti-social security caucus is quietly promoting the idea to pay for COVID-19 stimulus relief by forcing the neediest of Americans to borrow from their future retirement benefits! (LA TIMES, 5/2020). If you’ve paid attention to the preceding paragraph you may be wondering “what future benefits?” Aside from the obvious lack of humanity and compassion present in this idea, it is logically equivalent to robbing an empty vault.

Barbara DeVane, Secretary of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, summarizes the feelings of her group: “We have over 200,000 members in the state of Florida working on these and other issues. And we are disgusted by the despicable non-action not only from Trump and his administration but also from Governor DeSantis. “(FL Dems Press Release, 5/28/2020).

There is a well-worn ideological path between the White House and The State House.

From his senseless, disparaging remark during a briefing that “His state was God’s waiting room for ground zero in nursing homes” (DailyMail.com, 5/28/2020), Ron DeSantis has withheld COVID-19 death and morbidity data, fired a respected dedicated public servant refusing to modify data on the state COVID-19 dashboard and delayed imposing closure and stay-at-home orders for the state. You don’t need to read too far back in newspaper and internet archives to reminisce about Florida nursing home conditions, scandals and other hits from a republican dominated legislature that seems apathetic to the needs of 21 percent of the state population.

Seniors in Florida are being ignored by their elected state officials and their president. It’s up to you not to ignore the situation.

There is a huge elephant in the room.

Open the door to dialogue and make your government pay attention. Call, email or visit your state and national representatives. But don’t write. If Trump has his way, the post office may not have the funds to deliver your letter.

Tell your stories and be heard. After all, it’s your money.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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