Ohio republican congressman John Boehner is the US House of Representatives minority leader. If the GOP gains a majority of seats in the Fall mid-term election, Boehner will probably become Speaker of the House, a position of leadership now held by democratic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
So it is no surprise that Boehner is campaigning to throw the democrats out of congress by stealing the spotlight to showcase himself. And he did just that in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Boehner made two of his agenda items clear. He first suggested that the war in Afghanistan is highest priority activity that the US government is engaged in, and as a result it must be well funded, presumably with unlimited resources.
He then made it clear that he favors raising the Social Security minimum retirement age to 70 as a cost-reduction measure.
Obviously, Boehner and many of his fellow GOP cronies in Congress believe that the Vietnam War-like conflict in Afghanistan is more important than the well-being of America’s seniors. After all, seniors generally don’t have the resources to contribute large sums of money to political campaigns or to wine and dine politicians. And if seniors aren’t receiving Social Security benefits until they’re 70, then the government keeps that money for at least three years longer than they do now. Plus, by age 70 some seniors will die before reaching their seventieth birthday, so their lifetime Social Security contributions potentially can be used by the government for more important endeavors, like a never-ending, largely unwinnable war in a far-off land.
On the other hand, continuous funding of that war provides huge profits for the large corporations who have the lucrative government contracts. That ensures support from those corporations to keep the machine fed, so to speak, and everyone is happy.
Or, at least, the politicians who are heavily lobbied by those corporations, and the folks who own stock in the war industry will be happy.
The idea of raising the Social Security retirement age is not new. Ronald Reagan did it in the 80’s, but that action was coupled with an increase in the Social Security payroll tax in order to adequately fund the system. While controversial at the time, at least on paper the dual actions would have kept social security solvent. But the additional funds resulting from the higher payroll contributions were soon sequestered to pay for other pro-war programs such as the now-defunct Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative known as Star Wars.
No one can dispute that national defense is an extremely important part of what any government should be doing. And it is clear that that the troops actually doing the fighting in any act of national defense serve the very best high quality equipment possible. But why on earth do some people think that this can only occur at the expense of citizens who can least afford it, namely, our senior citizens who worked a lifetime earning a living, paying taxes, raising children, and whom in many if not most cases are beginning to suffer the inevitable physical deterioration of the aging process?
Even more nonsensical is the fact that this country is suffering under the burden of high unemployment. Folks of all ages are competing for the few jobs that become available. Seniors have always been less competitive in the job market because of the advantage that young healthy adults have in the hiring process. So if a senior who has planned his or her resources to last until Social Security kicks in at age 67, for instance, is now hung out to dry for another three years, what’s that senior suppose to do? Wrestle a twenty-two-year-old for a job digging ditches?
Interestingly, when asked about Boehner’s remarks, several other GOP congressmen indicated that they agreed in principal with Boehner regarding raising the Social Security retirement age to 70. But what they didn’t talk about was how they as congressmen are covered by a federal retirement system that is going to take good care of them when they leave federal service. Sort of the “do as I say, not as I do” rule.
If the GOP regains control of congress this year, it seems likely they will spend a lot of their time boosting funding for the war, attempting to boost the Social Security retirement age to 70, and repealing the health care reform law in favor of what Boehner wants: Tort reform and tax credits.
One can imagine the scenario: 500,000 US troops sent to Afghanistan; Seniors between the ages of 67 and 70 standing in bread lines and soup kitchens waiting for a handout to keep from starving; and others dying in the streets because they didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford their medicines, since the pharmacies don’t accept “tax credits” as payment for meds.
But, on the bright side, the corporations with government contracts worth hundred of billions of dollars will be working on missile defense projects designed keep the US safe from incoming Soviet ICBMs, so we all can eventually be snug as a bug in a rug. Just one tiny little problem…or maybe two.
First, the Soviet Union went away eleven years ago. And second, they can’t make it work, anyway.