By killing Medicare we make it stronger. And by “it,” I mean Mitt Romney’s tax breaks.
There it was, on Facebook. A smiling picture of Mitt with a caption, “Your Mom likes Mitt Romney.” A promoted ad purchased by the Romney campaign to use my Facebook connection to get me to “like” the Republican nominee for president. A nominee who his own party barely liked enough to support him over a pizza man and a guy who had to resign as Speaker of the House in shame.
Of course, everything Mitt Romney does is designed to make most of my generation dislike him. There are his promises to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted, to defend traditional bigotry, to send other people’s kids to war. Of course, I disliked Mitt Rom Romney even before I saw this ad because his plan has always been to use my mom and her generation to help take my Medicare away. And now that he’s picked Paul Ryan, he actually has to run on it.
I know why my mom is voting for Romney. Beyond his promise to keep Medicare as it is for her, she must love his invidious promise to eliminate the estate tax. For years, her husband’s mother has been getting healthier and healthier as she grows wealthier and wealthier. The promise of inheriting their share of her millions tax-free is incredible lure.
In this way she’s like a mini Koch brother or Sheldon Adelson—literally voting for a lower tax bill. But in her case it doesn’t literally loot billions from the public, as the Kochs and Adelson want to.
With a zero percent estate tax, the inequality that threatens our society will become generational. The hoarding of money at the top to be passed on to kids who can afford millions in donations to campaigns, millions they never earned. Inevitably few will have empathy for those who have to struggle just to make a basic earning.
I bet my mother would love for me to have grown up to be Mitt Romney. In my suit and tie on the weekdays, on my jet ski on weekends. My nearly identical sons and their nearly identical families at one of our summer homes.
I would like her to have been George Romney who sent his son to Cranbrook, a school so fine that they even named it to sound like a vineyard. Then she could have given me stock options in her car company to pay for my double graduate degrees at Harvard. I’d probably be in favor of no estate tax then as I jet skied along, thinking, “It must be this easy for everyone.”
Mitt Romney and George W. Bush epitomize the mentality of those who grow up with wealth and power and inability to fail in a way that threatens their family’s security. To them getting rich is easy, avoiding taxes is patriotic and Medicare is a system that would work better if just let Wall Street get in the game.
We did that. Medicare Advantage is nearly exactly what Romney and Ryan are proposing replacing Medicare with. Even with insurance companies able to cherry pick the healthiest seniors, it still costs 7% more than traditional Medicare. But since the Medicare guarantee still exists, taxpayers take on those costs. Under and Ryan and Romney’s plan, I’ll pay those costs—an estimated $6,000 more a year, on a fixed income, as my health fails, as huge cuts in Medicaid disappear the help seniors have counted on for co-pays, nursing homes and critical care like dialysis.
It’s a the definition of ludicrous—taking the one health care system in America that actually works and turning it into something even Ryan and Romney know they can’t sell to my mom.
And the GOP is putting everything they’ve got into this election. They’re even pretending to love Medicare. Because they know one thing better than anyone: How seniors feel about Medicare now is how most Americans will feel about ObamaCare once it goes into full effect. And as Oliver Willis has joked, future Republican candidates will be blasting Democrats for cuts to ObamaCare.
I hope my mom gets a nice inheritance from my stepdad’s mom. But I’m sure it won’t make up for twenty years of living with that Fox news-addicted human aneurysm. And it will never make up for all the security Mitt Romney is asking Mitt Romney to vote away for her babies.
I knew I should never have friended my mom on Facebook.
[CC image by DonkeyHotey]