The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 26, 2013

Your View: Social Security, Medicare have not contributed to deficit

It’s no secret that the Republican Party has opposed Social Security and Medicare from their inception. But its strategy for destroying them is not well understood.

Beginning with the Reagan Administration, its strategy has been to use tax cuts and runaway military spending to deliberately run up the national debt and to use that debt to scare Americans into believing that entitlement programs are to blame and must be cut. Republicans themselves proudly refer to this strategy as “starving the beast.”

For the record, Social Security and Medicare have not contributed a dime to the deficit. According to the latest Social Security/Medicare trustees’ report, Social Security has a $2.6 trillion surplus held in U.S. treasuries backed up by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

It will be able to pay 100 percent of all benefits for the next 25 years. It is true that it is projected to have a mere 2 percent shortfall over the next 75 years. That shortfall should be easily made up.

Unfortunately, these facts will not dissuade the current band of radical Republicans from holding Social Security and Medicare hostage to their economic terrorist threat not to raise the debt ceiling, which could throw the world economy into a deep depression.

Tell our representatives to leave our Social Security and Medicare alone. Tell them to cut the bloated defense budget. Tell them to tax Wall Street  banksters who caused the financial crises, tell them not to yield to foolish Republican calls for their extreme economy which would only deepen and prolong the recession

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