From Ronald To Ron +

A couple of things motivated me to write today’s article. Perhaps most prominent among them was Paul Krugman’s opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, The G.O.P.’s Long War Against Medicare and Social Security.

The right wing, via its disinformation machine (which is spearheaded by Fox News), has been attacking Joe Biden for confronting the Republicans during the State of the Union about wanting to severely cut or end both Medicare and Social Security. Fox has gone so far as to call the attack debunked; actually, it is the exact opposite of debunked – it is documented.

This attack on social safety net programs is nothing new. Dr. Krugman traces it back to Ronald Reagan. I am hoping my grandchildrens’ generation can save both democracy and the planet. They also comprise a sizeable portion of the New York Times’ readership. I would go further back to the Republicans of the FDR era who opposed to initial institution of Social Security but to my grandchildren’s generation that almost like talking about dinosaurs. Reagan is close to ancient history. Oh, and there wasn’t a lot of Republican support for LBJ’s Great Society programs which included Medicare and Medicaid.

I want to divert a tad for a moment. The Republicans have taken to calling both Social Security and Medicare “entitlement programs”. They do so because that verbiage tested well (for their deceptive ends) in focus groups and make them sound like giveaways. Here is the reality: Yes, they are entitlement programs. I earned and paid for them and I’m entitled to them. They are nothing more than deferred income. I paid for them and I’m just getting my money back. It is that simple!

As to the future the ACA, best known as Obamacare, provided for Medicaid expansion as long as the state accepted the federal money. The thought was what state would refuse an economic boost that simultaneous provided an opportunity to give access to medical care to more to its citizens. To date I believe 11 states (all red states) have not done so. Florida is among them. The “nickel tour” contrasting the oft conflated Medicaid and Medicare is that Medicaid is for the poor and Medicare is for the elderly. (That’s not 100% accurate but certain sufficient for this column.) Florida is a very populous state and poverty certainly exists there. Florida’s Republican Governor and 2024 presidential wannabe, Ron DeSantis, is a staunch opponent of expanding Medicaid in the Sunshine State. Remember although at this writing undeclared, DeSantis is considered to be the most likely Republican to knock Donald Trump off in the 2024 GOP primary thereby becoming the Republicans’ 2024 standard bearer.

The New York Times, like most newspapers, utilizes a paywall. You may not be able to gain access to Dr. Krugman’s article if you are not a digital subscriber. While he covered things both in more detail and more eloquently, I feel I did a good job of communicating the basic message here. (I still suggest reading his piece.)

Here is the important message you need to receive: despite their claims to the contrary today’s Republicans, like their predecessors, are opponents of all New Deal (Social Security) and Great Society (Medicare and Medicaid) programs. What other political party would hold a Rose Garden party to celebrate a partial victory (and thankfully ultimate failure) to repeal health care for tens of millions of their fellow Americans? Things haven’t changed over the past almost 90 years and there is no sign that they will change in the foreseeable future.

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