Everybody has the right to education. It's a basic right. Everybody has the right to housing. It's a basic right. Everyone has the right to food. It's a basic right.
In the United States we don't acknowledge any of those things as rights. Franklin Roosevelt tried to get them into the Constitution of the United States back in the early 1940s with his second Bill of Rights proposal, but the Republicans would have nothing to do with that. He wasn't able to get it passed or even get any serious traction for the thing. So we continue to slide into third world poverty while countries that have embraced democratic socialism become very, very successful.
So let's look at what's going on here in the United States. Paul Ryan basically just came out and said, "hey, we've got ours of the tax cuts, oh you guys, tough luck." His specific words were "We have to fix health care if we're going to get away from this debt crisis," which were tweeted out by Fox News. And you know when Paul Ryan says fix health care, what he means is chop a half a billion dollars out of Medicare so that everybody on Medicare is going to have to start paying an extra hundred bucks a month for their Medicare or is going to have to start paying a hundred dollars as a copay every time they visit a doctor or is going to have to start paying more for their drugs. And/or blow up Obamacare and do away with Medicaid. So Joan McCarter over at Daily Kos notes...
"A second grade teacher at Ikard Elementary School, 38-year-old Heather Holland, died Sunday due to complications of the flu. In addition to a classroom of second graders, Holland left behind husband Frank Holland, a 10-year-old daughter, and a 7-year-old son. Holland fell ill about a week ago and planned to pick up flu medication but felt the $116 copay was too high, her husband said."
This is from WeatherfordDemocrat.com. As Joan McCarter writes,
"She died from the flu because she needed the $116 for her kids. Which is how it should be in Paul Ryan's world. Although the adherent of Ayn Rand would probably say she should have spent the money on the medicine and let her kids fend for themselves. They're 7 and 10, they could get jobs, right?"
Meanwhile Nancy Altman writing over at Slate.com, "Republicans Are Killing Social Security One Tiny Service Cut at a Time", points out Marco Rubio just before Christmas told us that the Republicans in the House and Senate were going to go after Social Security and here's how they're doing it. Nancy writes...
"Republican politicians are making it increasingly difficult, time-consuming, and aggravating to access our earned Social Security benefits, in the hope of undermining support for the extremely popular program, and eventually ending it as we know it."
Only 7/10 of a penny goes to administration for Social Security, it's not even 1%. That's more efficient than any private sector pension or anything else. But here's what the Republicans are doing:
"Since 2010, when Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives, SSA's operating budget has been cut by 11 percent. For 2018, the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed limiting Social Security's administrative budget even more, this time, by another $492 million - 4 percent of SSA's operating budget, on top of an already enacted 16 percent cut, after inflation, since 2010.
The increasing squeeze comes as SSA's workload continues to grow. The first members of the baby boom generation turned 65 in 2011, and about 10,000 boomers retire daily."
So what is the result of these Republican cuts so far? This is without the 482 million dollar cut that they're proposing for right now to the Social Security Administration. Just from the Republican cuts over the last five or ten years.
"More than 1 million people are awaiting hearings to determine whether they qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Currently, the wait time for a hearing is more than 600 days."
This is what the Republicans want. It takes you 600 days to even have a hearing before the Social Security folks about whether you're eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
"In just the past two years, 18,701 workers have died waiting for a disability decision."
Republicans don't care if workers die. Republicans only care when the billionaire class starts to die.
"Benefits that could have saved lives, prevented bankruptcies, and stopped the loss of homes, thus preventing homelessness."
These never were paid out because Republicans made sure that you had to wait six hundred days to even qualify for Social Security disability.
"SSA has had to close 64 district offices and more than 500 mobile field offices. Offices still open have had to reduce their hours. SSA's workforce has declined by 6 percent - with five states having lost 15 percent of their SSA employees!"
And what's the result of this?
"Hourslong lines stretching out the door have become a common feature of field offices. Hold times on SSA's 1-800 hotline have increased to the point that nearly half of callers hang up in frustration."
And people have to drive miles and miles now that they're closing these Social Security offices, just to find a Social Security office.
Meanwhile, Philip Alston, UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, visited the United States...
"I saw sewage-filled yards in states where governments don't consider sanitation facilities to be their responsibility, I saw people who had lost all of their teeth because adult dental care is not covered by the vast majority of programs available to the very poor."
This is the United Nations!