Cutting Social Security and Medicare is a Raw Deal

There are Pagan charities but currently they are few and far between. Beside the obvious life saving support Medicare and Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Insurance (SSI) provides, we are getting assistance without having to declare our personal religious creed.

As Pagans, we understand what it’s like to be the target of religious prejudice. Those Pagans who are also disabled and poor get prejudice on all sides. Those of us who do not have wealthy families have to rely on food stamps and local food pantries and charities. Our medical care comes from state insurance programs such as Medicaid or the federal Medicare program. In the small towns, Christian churches step up and operate the food pantries and help centers. Those who truly wish to assist their neighbors don’t mind what religion they are. Other times you have to attend a Christian worship service before receiving aid as a friend of mine did years ago in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Not only did he have to swallow his pride and admit that as a young man coming out of foster care he needed help, he had to “shut up and put up” with attempts at conversion. There are Pagan charities but currently they are few and far between. So beside the obvious life saving support Medicare and Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Insurance (SSI) provides, we are getting assistance without having to declare our personal religious creed.

Federal social programs were first developed in the 1930s as part of President Franklin D. Rosevelt’s New Deal. The Social Security program has greatly expanded over the years to aid more than the elderly, women and their children and Medicare began in 1965. Until these programs were established and improved, the impoverished were cared for based on how charitable local communities felt. That means someone on a whim could decide if you were too lazy or didn’t have the right morals. As Pagans, we know what it’s like for people to make snap judgments about us when they don’t truly know us. This happens to people with disabilities. Often, because I’m not crippled, people in offices look at me strangely when I ask for disability assistance. My husband and I get judged and sneered at for not working and frankly I don’t want to sit down and have a long discussion about my medical history with everyone. With the removal or neutering of government programs, disabled Pagans will once again be put in a situation where they have to explain themselves to the locals in order to get assistance. Maybe that isn’t so bad for Pagans in Chicago, New York, or San Francisco. What about those in rural Southern states or the Midwest?

I’m deeply disturbed with politicians saying Social Security is a drain on our national budget. Once again programs designed to assist the disabled, elderly, and impoverished are on the chopping block. Even President Obama has put Medicare, Social Security cuts on the debt bargaining table. He and others aren’t proposing a cut to beurocratic waste.

Four senior congressional aides said lawmakers are discussing using an alternative yardstick to gauge inflation, known as the “chained consumer price index,” to determine annual cost-of-living adjustments for millions of Americans.

… cutting pension and veterans’ disability payments by $24 billion, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

There are ways to get America out of debt other than taking it from the average citizen in need. Make corporations pay their taxes and stop them from being funded by taxes. Here is just one example. General Electric reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion of which $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. They paid no taxes. G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. New York Times

In March, the Staff of Asclepius included two posts about the US financial crisis and protests against cuts in education and social program.

“US and UK Unite to Uncut Social Benefits”

“America Is NOT Broke” Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI — March 5, 2011

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

Moore’s statement was found correct by aJournal Sentinel PolitiFact check. His source was a December 2010 Federal Reserve Board report stating that the September 2009 net worth for all U.S. households was $53.1 trillion. Forbes released its top 400 wealthiest American’s list that month.

Recently the US celebrated the signing of our Declaration of Independence which states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Ending or cutting major life saving social programs infringes on the rights of the millions who need those programs.

Other links of interest:

Staff of Asclepius “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” Reflections on the Fourth of July and FDR’s Second Bill of Rights.

Wikipedia entry on the US Federal Budget

Social Security Administration “MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY” Questions about SS history and myths on the internet.

Congressional Budget Office

Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation

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