Ohio Governor John Kasich was supposed to be one of the more reasonable members of the GOP’s 2016 clown car, but, alas, he has revealed himself to be just as heartless as the rest of them. While addressing an audience in New Hampshire, Governor Kasich said that a constituent who was present at the event would “get over” the fact that social security would suffer cuts under his leadership. He continued:
“We can’t balance a budget without entitlement reform. What are we, kidding?”
He then proceeded to grill the audience members who are not close to retirement age on their knowledge of what their benefits would be. He then asked them if the “good of the country” was a good enough reason to get a check that was a little bit shorter. One person said that no, it wasn’t a reason, and that’s when Kasich dropped the hammer:
“Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it. You’re on Medicare and you want me to ignore the fact that its going broke, you’re not going to like me. I’d rather have people be in a position where they’re aggravated with me so I can accomplish something, than have them love me and accomplish nothing, okay. I’m not there to run a popularity contest.”
So, this is the man who wants to be leader of this country and the free world– the guy who is so heartless that he’d take money from struggling senior citizens, while doing what Republicans always do, and cutting taxes for billionaires while lining the pockets of their corporate masters.
Kasich also backtracked, by correcting his previous statements that people who are in the workforce now would see “a lot” of their benefits slashed compared to what people who are retired received now. He then said that it would not be “a lot.”
The thing is, Kasich’s assumptions rest on the idea that the Social Security program is in trouble. Well, that really depends on how you look at it. Until 1983, Social Security wasn’t paid in advance like it is now. Currently, it is funded through 2034. That changed in the early 1980’s, because Congress was anticipating the impending retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, and feared that there would not be enough funds. To that end, now, the payroll taxes that the workforce pays goes into federal programs, including social security.
This is a program that an estimated 59 million Americans currently rely on to make ends meet. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt put pen to paper and made this program law, he said:
“[w]e can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life … we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”
John Kasich, like the rest of his GOP comrades who live to serve the corporations and the billionaires of America, want to take away that basic dignity and security from Americans who have worked hard all their lives and sever one of our nation’s most sacred social covenants. He is also basing his ideas on the false belief that this program is in trouble and that it won’t be around much longer anyway, so it may as well be cutting now. The “get over it” remark shows just how much disregard this man shows for America’s seniors.
Of course, Kasich is lying; there’s no way the Governor of a state doesn’t know what the numbers are like. This isn’t about money, but about the condescending way in which Republicans think of poor people and anyone else who needs government assistance– even if they’ve earned it, as is the case with Social Security recipients. He wants to get into office and take money from people he and his ilk think of as “greedy moochers”– which really just translates to poor children, single mothers, and, of course, senior citizens. That’s what Republicans mean when they say “entitlements.” Then again, the economically privileged only live to make themselves and their peers richer. They don’t care on iota about the rest of us.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.