Social Security and Medicare are insurance programs, not welfare—funded by equal worker-employer payroll tax deductions.
Self-employed workers pay what’s called the Self Employment Contributions Act (SECA) tax.
Both programs are federally established contractual obligations to eligible recipients, the most essential of all US social justice programs, along with Medicaid for disadvantaged Americans unable to receive medical care when needed any other way.
Established on August 14, 1935, the landmark Social Security Act became law during the depths of the Great Depression.
Known as the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI), it provides retirement, disability, survivorship, and death benefits to seniors and other eligible recipients.
Despite phony claims otherwise, it’s not going bankrupt. When properly administered, it’s sound and secure, needing only modest adjustments at times to assure it.
On July 30, 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Social Security (Medicare) Act, enrolling Harry and Bess Truman as its first recipients.
Medicare is the nation’s largest health insurance program, covering 68 million Americans—about one-fifth of the US population, others on their own for increasingly unaffordable coverage.
It’s why tens of millions are uninsured, most others way underinsured in the world’s richest country, the only developed one without some form of universal coverage, a fundamental human right ignored by both right wings of the one-party state.
The program is for US seniors and individuals of all ages with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant).
Trump regime hardliners and likeminded congressional members want both programs eliminated by starving them of funding.
Claiming it’s needed to reduce the growing national debt ignores countless trillions of dollars poured down a black hole of waste, fraud and abuse for militarism, the Pentagon’s empire of bases, endless wars, and lavish handouts to Wall Street and other corporate favorites.
On May 4, Social Security Works.org denounced the Trump regime’s diabolical aim to kill Social Security by underfunding it.
The same goes for killing Medicare—Medicaid to follow if GOP and undemocratic Dem hardliners get their way.
They want maximum federal funds going for smashing nations, homeland police state control, and more greatly enriching US billionaires, millionaires, and corporate America—at the expense of world peace, equity, social justice, and the rule of law, notions they abhor.
A press release by Social Security Works president Nancy Altman responded to Trump, saying: “We’re not doing anything (for ordinary Americans in need) without a payroll tax cut” that’s all about wanting a stake plunged through the heart of Social Security and Medicare as a step toward killing both programs”—Altman explaining the following: “More than 30 million Americans are newly unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Their paychecks are gone, but their rent, utility, grocery bills and other expenses still must be paid.”
“Seniors in nursing homes are dying at alarming rates.”
“Hospitals are desperate, as are state and local governments.”
“Americans everywhere need immediate assistance, but Donald Trump has now vowed that they won’t get any—unless Congress bows to his demand to cut” payroll taxes.
In March, Trump said if reelected “[w]e’ll be cutting” worker/employer funded Social Security and Medicare insurance programs he falsely called entitlements.
Badly needed help for growing millions of unemployed Americans is held hostage by Trump’s unacceptable demand to cut payroll taxes.
Altman: “Trump’s actions are a war on seniors. He wants to open up the economy, even though COVID-19 is disproportionately costing seniors their lives.”
“Now he is insisting on threatening Social Security (and Medicare) which most seniors rely for their food, medicine, and other basic necessities.”
During the 1930s Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt and Congress created Social Security.
In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson and congressional members established Medicare.
As a recipient of both programs, I and other seniors like myself understand their importance.
What FDR, LBJ, and Congress created long ago, Trump and other hardliners infesting Washington want destroyed.
These programs and other social ones need strengthening, not elimination.
Reelecting Trump and a GOP-dominated Congress may be their demise.
By no means am I endorsing undemocratic Dems, far from it.
The nation I grew up in long ago no longer exists, just a distant memory of a time when a youth like myself with nothing special going for me had opportunities unavailable to most young people today.
With things more likely to worsen for ordinary people in the US ahead, not improve, an appropriate epitaph for the nation might read: Here lies the American dream, dead, buried and gone, replaced by a society unsafe and unfit to live in for the vast majority of its people.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.