I have to admit I really don't understand the thought process of my fellow older Americans (if there is a thought process involved here). What am I talking about? A new poll that AARP took of older people. The survey was taken between July 10th and 16th of voters over the age of 50 (536 non-retired between 50 and 64, and 679 retired voters over 50).
These voters were asked whether Social Security is critical to the well being of seniors, and whether the next president and Congress needed to strengthen Social Security to provide security for future generations. They replied the same to both questions -- 91% said yes and 6% said no. Then they were asked the same questions about Medicare. About 95% said Medicare is critical to the health of seniors, and 88% said the next president and Congress should strengthen Medicare to protect the health of future generations.
The answers given to those questions did not surprise me. I expected that -- and agree with those who said yes to all four questions. It's another couple of questions that has me perplexed. The people were asked who they would vote for in the presidential race in November, and which party they would vote for in congressional races. Here are those figures:
What is going on here? Why are so many of these people willing to vote against there own interests (and the interest of future retirees)? The Republicans have made it clear that they want to abolish the Medicare program and throw seniors back to having to purchase private insurance. They would provide a government check to help in buying that private insurance, but there is no doubt that much more money would have to come out of the pockets of seniors (and those who can't afford it would most likely be put on Medicaid, which is not nearly as good as current Medicare -- just ask doctors).
In addition, the Republicans (including Romney) have made it clear they want to privatize Social Security and subject retirement money to the ups and downs of Wall Street (while their Wall Street friends make large fees for handling that money). This would mean seniors couldn't depend on that money being there when it came time to retire (remember the stock market lost trillions of investor dollars in 2007-2008). And if they can't get it privatized, they want to cut benefits and raise the retirement age.
The Republicans will tell you this is necessary to "save" Social Security. That's a lie!!! The simple fact is that raising or abolishing the FICA tax cap (so that the rich pay the same percentage as all other workers) would put Social Security on a firm footing for many generations to come.
The truth is that any American who is not rich is voting against his/her financial interests if they vote Republican -- and this is especially true of those over the age of 50. I am simply astounded by the numbers above. Seniors need to wake up and realize that Republicans are not their friends. Republicans have never liked Medicare or Social Security, and don't care about those Americans who depend on those programs.
NOTE -- In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I am a member of the "over 50" group.
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