Supporters of Donald Trump had the Trump and Republican plans for America’s social safety net clearly explained to them by none other than Donald Trump himself. But now many are expressing surprise that they themselves may be at the receiving end of the cuts the Republicans now plan in programs like Medicare, food stamps, veterans benefits, and even the much maligned Obamacare.
As reported by the Danville Advocate, Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are chomping at the bit to make slashes in a number of social programs, including Social Security. They intend to virtually eliminate cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. More than this, they hope to actually privatize the program – something they tried in the early 2000s but failed to achieve.
As for Obamacare – as the Republicans themselves named it – they hope to entirely gut almost every aspect of the program, leaving in place only tokens of what Obama created. While they have suggested the creation of a new program – presumably better from their perspective – to replace Obamacare, all indications are that there will be an enormous gap of time between the elimination of the current program and the creation of a new one.
Another medical program that the Republicans have their eyes on privatizing is Medicare itself. Medicare has served for decades as a protection for elderly and disabled Americans, ensuring that they had access to adequate medical care and the medications they needed. Now this is to be replaced with a feeble voucher system that will provide – in all likelihood – substandard care at exorbitant prices.
According to Military Times, the privatization of veterans programs – particularly the veterans hospitals – also seems to be under consideration by Donald Trump and his Republican allies in the Senate and the House. While veterans groups will no doubt object to such a betrayal of trust, the ironic thing is that the vast majority of veterans voted for Donald Trump.
The food stamp program is also coming under fire again as the perennial bogeyman of the Republican Party. As noted by the Washington Post, the fact that less than.09 percent of food stamp recipients engage in fraud didn’t stop Fox News from suggesting that this level of fraud was sufficient justification to cancel the whole program.
Yes, Fox later retracted its false suggestion that food stamp fraud was at an all time high, but the original story had served its purpose of reinforcing right wing stereotypes about the poor and the working poor in the United States.
The thing that Fox News and other Republican outlets fail to make clear is that slashing the social safety new in the U.S. will have the opposite effect the right claims it wants. The increasing poverty resulting from food stamp cuts will likely lead to higher crime levels – people won’t cooperate in their own starvation. This means higher law enforcement, prison and security costs.
Cutting Obamacare, Medicare and Veterans hospitals will result in a flood of people seeking medical care in emergency rooms, the costs of which are passed on to the government. And the delays in seeking treatment will mean these emergency room visits will cost far than visiting a regular doctor would have.
The Trump and Republican plans for America’s future seem to foretell a grim, dangerous and somewhat backward-looking nation that no longer ensures that the weakest, poorest and neediest among us are actually protected by the federal government.
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