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Graham To Veterans: If You Want Good Healthcare, We'll Have To Gut Social Security & Medicare

Graham To Veterans: If You Want Good Healthcare, We'll Have To Gut Social Security & Medicare

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Republican presidential candidate and virulent war hawk Lindsey Graham recently addressed a group of college students, and told them that under his administration, he wouldn’t be able to take care of our veterans unless we make dramatic cuts to “entitlement” programs like Social Security and Medicare, in the latest GOP attack on our vulnerable seniors.

A veteran in the crowd demanded of Graham: “There’s a bill, a 1082 on the Veterans Accountability Act, that only a few senators have signed on board. My question is why haven’t you, with Republicans and Democrats, fixed our VA system where you have veterans dying?”

Senator Graham decided to tell him that the only way our country could afford proper veterans healthcare is by taking it from seniors:

“How about this idea? If you’ve served your country and are eligible for healthcare, give you a card to go anywhere you want to go anytime you want to go. That costs money, but money well spent. but you can’t do that unless you deal with entitlements. By 2040, all the money you send in taxes goes to Medicare, Social Security, and interest on the debt…If you don’t turn around the tsunami of entitlement spending by age adjustment, means testing and flattening out the tax code to generate revenue, it is all talk. Do you get where I’m coming from? There will be no money left for the Department of Defense, no money left for Department of Education, no money left for the VA. “

It is an astonishing show of ignorance from an atrocious hypocrite who served in the armed forces himself and has declared that as president, he would send our troops back to the Middle East. Apparently we have a spare half-trillion dollars to spend on defense every year, but according to Graham, we have to push back the eligibility age for the Social Security benefits you’ve been paying for your whole life (“age adjustment”) and to intensify the burden of tax revenue on the middle class (“flattening out the tax code”) in order to care for the men and women who have risked their lives and limbs to defend our nation.

Never mind the fact that both Social Security and Medicare are funded through 2033. Never mind the fact that we are losing billions every year to corporate welfare and tax breaks to the rich. Taking care of our veterans must always be one of our highest priorities, not another budgeting pawn to be politicized and used as an attack against rivals across the aisle. As a veteran himself, Graham should be absolutely ashamed of using a legitimate question like that to advance the Republican efforts to starve the beast and privatize our public programs while constantly pushing for American intervention abroad. How many more veterans would your jingoistic fantasies of foreign conquest create, Mr. Graham?

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Colin Taylor
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.

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