These aren’t ‘entitlements’

City Newspaper Feedback 1/2/13

I started paying into Social Security in 1955 and paid into it for 50 years. I started paying into Medicare in 1965, and I’m still paying into it today. I earned everything I get from those programs. I earned every benefit I get and then some. They are earned benefits, not entitlements.

Don’t let anyone call Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid an entitlement. Shame on the major media and their wealthy corporate owners for using the term. Entitlements are for people with titles – like kings or queens – and we don’t have those in America. But we do have CEO’s who are entitled to massive bonuses and golden parachutes when they ruin the economy, and we do have banks too big to fail entitled to bailouts when their risky loans go bust.

We are not facing a fiscal cliff; we are in another battle in the class war, and it is time to tax the rich and pay workers a lot better, bring the jobs back and put people to work at good jobs, expand Medicare until everyone is covered, expand the coverage until every illness is covered, and improve the payments until co-pays and deductibles are abolished.

It won’t take much. Just start taxing the rich. Tax their excess profits; tax their capital gains; tax their dividends, their interest, their rents, royalties, bonuses, stock options, and use the money for Medicare and a whole lot of other good things.

Medicare is not facing a fiscal cliff. It has an enormous surplus. The trust fund is good for a dozen years, and even then it will break even. Not go broke. That only happens if we do not tax the rich and get rid of the private, for-profit insurance companies.

Medicare averages two to three percent overhead, Medicaid three to five percent. So-called non-profit private insurance averages 10 percent or more. The for-profit insurance companies have 10 to 30 percent overhead.

Insurance companies are not entitled to their excess profits and don’t deserve them. Single payer or “Medicare for all” is the only real solution to our health care crisis. Not only would that solve our health-care crisis but it would go a long way toward solving our financial problems. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says that Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes and provide for the general welfare. “Medicare for all” is a way to do what the Constitution says.

BILL AND SALLY MCCOY, ROCHESTER

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