Playing second fiddle in the fiscal cliff debate is the discussion about the ways that Medicare, Medicaid, and other parts of the social safety net contribute to America’s economy and protect middle-class and working families. The safety net is as American as apple pie—the idea that we look out for our neighbors and protect those who are most vulnerable. Protecting tax cuts for the middle class is critical, but so is investing in programs that provide struggling Americans with a strong safety net, creating living-wage jobs, investing in high-quality education, and prioritizing healthcare for all. We need Congress to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire on the top 2 percent so we make sure our nation has the funding to keep the safety net whole.
Politicians talk in vague terms about “cutting government spending,” but never talk about the consequences that real Americans endure. You can’t cut Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs without cutting benefits to children, seniors, and working families who rely on these programs. Slashing the safety social net will diminish healthcare services to seniors, will deprive students of early childhood education that is critical to brain development, and will send the message to working families that we no longer have a moral obligation to care for all Americans. Obamacare strengthens Medicare by providing new preventive care benefits to seniors and by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse. It would be a slap in the face to our seniors, and to all families who rely on the social safety net, to roll-back this progress by slashing these critical programs in the fiscal cliff negotiations. The wealthiest 2 percent should pay their fair share so our working families don't have to sacrifice their health.
Gerald T Reiner Jr.