Don’t Tear Up Medicare and Social Security

Lawmakers must consider the new realities

By Carole Mackin

Lawmakers often think of recipients of Medicare and Social Security as care-free retirees who spend time gambling in casinos and golfing in sunny locations. But times have changed and this view is flawed. Lawmakers must consider the new realities.

Social Security was once designed to keep retired workers from homelessness and hunger. Originally, the design was good enough to accomplish these goals. But we now have a lost generation that is severely compromised due to addiction and suicide. These adults can no longer hold down a job or care for their children. Family members who take responsibility are often retirees who are the only ones with a secure home and income. They stretch what little they have to keep the children out of foster care – thus saving taxpayers money. A properly funded safety net may save these little ones from the cruel fate of their parents.

In a similar way but on a much broader scale, Medicare and Social Security underpin Montana’s economy. When workers lose their jobs and have to cut back spending to the bare minimum, local business suffer. It is likely that precarious businesses will fail if a guaranteed income did not arrive in retirees’ mail boxes each month and then flow into the economy. Think of the old adage, “What goes around comes around.” Everyone benefits from this social and economic contract. Lawmakers should not tear up the contract.

Carole Mackin

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