By Dave Lindorff
I am 62 and have just reached the age where I could apply for Social Security retirement benefits. Of course, I'd be crazy to do that and collect some $700 a month for the rest of my life, when I could keep working and wait until I'm 70 and get $2000 a month.
But the point is, I've arrived. I'm a "senior." And now I'm paying a lot more attention to what the Right and its paymaster, the corporate lobby, are trying to do, not just to my retirement plan (which is Social Security. period), but also to Medicare, the program upon which my medical care will depend once my wife decides to retire from her university job.
The picture is not pretty. Both the Republicans, and the pathetic Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, are talking brazenly about cutting back on Social Security, and on Medicare. The Republicans openly say they want to kill Medicare and secretly want to end Social Security too, which is the agenda of most of the corporations which fund lobbies like the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Assn. of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, etc. Oh, I know they say they're only talking about "changes" for people who are under 55, but that's just for starters. The goal is to ruin the program for younger workers, and then make them resent what we older folks still get. Then the next step will be to eradicate both programs altogether.
But here's the thing. The reason these parties and lobbies are trying so hard now to use the recession and the national deficit as cover to decimate and destroy these two proven and critically important social programs into which all working Americans have been paying all our working lives, is that they realize what most 50 and 60-something Americans haven't realized yet: that we are about to become the most powerful political force in the country, and that we are certainly going to demand both an excellent government Medicare program, and a decent retirement program.
The way I see it, we in the Baby Boom generation--those people born between 1946 and about 1964--are just starting to hit retirement age. In another 10 years, we will become a political force twice as powerful and certainly more than twice as noisy and demanding as the current senior lobby. We can either wait until then, after they have successfully gutted the two programs we depend on, making it so we have to fight to recreate or restore them, or we can start organizing now to defend and improve them, and save ourselves a whole lot of trouble.
So here's my proposal...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/575