Entitled And Minimally Knowledgeable

Today I’m going to address two Trump/Republican claims that simply drive me crazy because they are complete malarkey. Come along and let’s explore.

The first is the use of the word “entitlement” as if it were a dirty word and an example of “those people” living off of the hard working Americans. Included in that collective word are Social Security and Medicare.

I remember back in about 2014 speaking before a sizeable group many of whom were fairly devote Baptists so I kept my potty mouth in check but not my passion. As always I spoke without script or visual aids and with extremely minimal bullet points probably scribbled in the margin of the program. I got onto the subject of entitlements and said something to the effect of: You bet you are entitled; you earned them and you are entitled to them.

I received my first paycheck in 1968. There were deductions for Social Security and Medicare. The same can be said for every paycheck or direct deposit I received the rest of my working days. Today I am retired and those programs allow me to be so with some modicum of dignity. They are not something some benevolent (or in their mind exploited) souls give me; they are deferred income I earned! You are damn right I am entitled to them! (I wouldn’t have used even that mild oath in front of the audience that night but my passionate defense of what they had earned did generate an emphatic “call and response” led by a good friend of mine who happens to be a member of the clergy.)

With the passage of the Trump Tower Tax Cut it is only a matter of time before the Republicans try to cut both Social Security and Medicare benefits (among other programs). After they irresponsibly added $1.5 trillion to the national debt in order to finance a tax cut for their financiers and themselves it is inevitable that the federal government is going to run into a cash crunch. They won’t take back the unnecessary tax cuts or plug the loopholes that benefit people like President Trump and Senator Corker. Instead they will try to take deferred income away from Grandpa and Gramma. Why should retirees have their (albeit) forced savings taken away from them so those who already have plenty get even more?

Now we come to the actions of several senior people in the 2016 Trump campaign who had interactions with the Russians. (I’ll leave motivation and content to another day.) Simply the contact alone constitutes a crime that never should have occurred.

In 2012 I was paid staff on the Obama campaign. I was at the lowest level of paid staff and was relatively powerless. (Nonetheless that is one of the things I did in life which I am proudest of!) Had I – a low level guy – been contacted by a foreigner about meeting with the intent of them helping the campaign I would have refused the meeting/offer. I then would have either contacted the FBI or contacted my immediate superior who would have contacted the FBI. We were the two bottom tiers of the campaign staff and we knew that as well as we knew our names.

If Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner didn’t know that then I have to ask: What did they know and how could they be at a senior level of the campaign? Did anyone in the Trump campaign know anything or did they just feel entitled and above the law? Ignorance is not an acceptable defense in American law. At a minimum the trio, (and probably several others), are guilty of campaign law violations.

I’m not worth millions or billions and I have never been at the senior level of a national campaign but I know what came out of my paychecks for decades and I know basic campaign law.

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