Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry said out loud what most Republican only say in private. He wants to end Social Security and Medicare. He told Charlotte Observer political reporter Jim Morrill, “I would rather have complete control of the social safety net given to the states.” That would end Social Security and Medicare. Most Republicans would probably agree. And that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
Shifting the burden of caring for our retirees to the states would likely result in millions of more Americans dying in poverty. And the populations most affected would almost certainly be minorities and people with physical and mental disabilities. Social Security and Medicare work because the pool of people supporting them is so large. Placing the burden on states would result in unnecessary pain.
As we’ve seen in North Carolina and other Southern states, discrimination is alive and well. Democracy is not. Here, Republicans carefully and methodically targeted African-Americans in a successful effort to keep them out of power. You can only imagine what they would do if hundreds of millions of dollars to provide a social safety net were at stake.
Before Republicans took power in North Carolina, Democrats warned that they would cut funding to our public schools, colleges and universities. Republicans vehemently denied it and claimed Democrats were using cheap scare tactics. But once they had control, North Carolina’s per pupil spending dropped to among the lowest in the nation. Even today, the Republican-controlled UNC Board of Governors is demanding cuts to schools across the system. And that comes on the heels of huge cuts from the General Assembly over the past six years.
Similarly, Republicans routinely deny they want to cut Social Security benefits or Medicare. They call Democrats’ warning “Mediscare” but giving control of the safety net to the states would leave millions of people with fewer or no benefits. The GOP wants to reverse the programs of the New Deal and Great Society. They would take us back to a time when life expectancy for people who reached adulthood was about 65 years old and Jim Crow dominated the South. The people who would benefit have reaped the greatest rewards by living in the United States. The people who need support would suffer the most.