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Cut Social Security and Medicare? Sure, after the last boomer is dead

April 24, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, a trustee of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, during a news conference in Washington.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, a trustee of the Social Security… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

OK, so Social Security is going to be in trouble in, oh, 2033.

And Medicare?  Uh oh, 2024.

Hmmm. Let's see. That's close but probably OK on Social Security; not so good on Medicare (especially with my -- how to put this? -- non-vegan lifestyle).

What? You weren't thinking the same thing? Tell me you didn't read The Times' article Tuesday and then do the math, trying to figure out if the two safety-net programs will be around long enough for you?

Because that's what it’s all about.  Tea party types like to harrumph about the debt their kids and grandkids are going to have to shoulder. That's nonsense.

For the boomers, it's all about us, baby. Always has been. Always will be.

Our parents were the Greatest Generation.

We're the Greedy Generation.

Want to cut Medicare? Want to whack Social Security? OK, sure. Just not for us.

Like the GOP’s plan to give out tax breaks or vouchers to pay for Medicare? Heck, you can give out Green Stamps for all we care.

But you'll have to pry those benefits from the cold, dead fingers of the last boomer.

Now, yes, to be honest, this doesn't make me feel good. I remember JFK saying, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

But here’s what Republicans have taught me about the United States of America of the last 40 years: Get yours.

It works for taxes. What’s your fair share? Whatever you can get away with.

And it works for the safety net. Who deserves it? I do. Who’s a lazy freeloader? Everyone else.

So here's a quote from The Times’ story:

"Leaving Medicare and Social Security on auto pilot and allowing them to continue to grow beyond their means is no longer an option," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. 

And here’s what I hear: "Blah, blah, blah, because it'll be there for me (and Mr. Hatch too), and that’s all I care about."

It doesn't make me proud. It doesn't seem right. It seems, well, small.

But it's the free-market, don't-tax-the-rich, praise-the-1% America we live in today.

So much so that, if we get a President Romney, he may well use JFK's famous line in his inaugural address.

Except he'll stop with just that first part -- "Ask not what your country can do for you."

And he'll really mean it.

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