Tea Party darling Marco Rubio, a potential pick for the Vice-President spot on the GOP ticket, in a recent speech at the Reagan library made comments about Social Security that has rubbed MSNBC cable news host Ed Schultz the wrong way and most Americans according to the latest polls. In short, Rubio suggested that Social Security and Medicare are some sort of entitlement programs that have “weakened” the American people instead of monies owed to Americans after lifelong contributions. Schultz rightfully called the comments “psycho-talk” and this writer certainly agrees and would add “stupid”. More than three-in-four Americans reject the idea of cutting Social Security benefits, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The numbers are similar for cutting Medicare. Schultz thought the comments were so outrageous he called Rubio out to explain to America exactly what he meant on his show. Rubio’s exact comments were as follows:
These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. it was done because the ability to take care of one’s self and one’s middle class family was wiped out during the Great Depression. They miss the historical facts that during the 1950′s when we enjoyed our greatest economic boom times, the wealthy paid very high taxes, and there were jobs and a future for everyone. Now here we are, with great amounts of wealth wiped out for the middle class (again), our economy is in the tank, and our wealthy are paying less in taxes than they have ever, and there are no family wage sustaining jobs.
The freshman Senator from Florida needs to do his homework before insisting on dismantling America’s social safety nets. According to Schultz, before Medicare, one-half of America’s seniors didn’t have hospital insurance and almost one-third of seniors lived in poverty and many ended up in the poor house. Are those the good old days that Marco Rubio wants to return to? After Medicare was implemented the poverty rate among seniors plummeted from 30% to 10% in just 30 years. Twenty million more Americans would live below the poverty line if Social Security didn’t exist and 45% of senior citizens would be poor. In Rubio’s own state of Florida alone Social Security lifts more then one million people over the poverty line.
Rubio’s comments that social safety nets have weakened Americans are outrageous when you consider the above. This new breed of Tea Party favorites like Rubio and Senator Paul Ryan who want to dismantle America’s traditional social safety nets that Americans rely on in their retirement years are nothing short of dangerous. As the polls show, this new right-wing ideology is not playing well with most Americans who are paying attention to what’s going on in our country. America has hit very hard times but it has in the past and it will bounce back but not with Tea Party members and politicians like Rubio that represent an extreme ideology seeking to obliterate the social safety nets most Americans rely on. There is some hope that most working-class Americans will wake up and stop voting against their best interests. Indeed, America needs to stop voting for politicians like Rubio who pretend to do one thing for the public good, but really seek to destroy that which they are elected to protect and defend.