LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Our gravy train left the station many years ago

Regarding Mr. Roof’s Aug. 7, 2018 article titled, Social Security not there for those who contribute to it,” the Social Security Administrations 2018 fact sheet illustrated that 63 million Americans will receive approximately $1 trillion in Social Security benefits. Nine out of 10 workers over 65 receive these benefits that represents about 33 percent of their income. 46 percent of the work-force in private industry have no private pension coverage. I ask why not? 39 percent of workers report that they and/or their spouse have not personally saved any money in retirement which indicates that they are living on paycheck to paycheck. This is not a pretty picture.

A study completed by the Department of Health and Human Services reported a $ 63 billion surplus by illegal immigrants over what it costs to keep them here. They do not seem to be the big problem we have. Another estimate from research by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank, suggested that about half of undocumented workers in the United States file income tax returns. Recent IRS data from 2015 showed that the agency received 4.4 million income tax returns from workers who do not have Social Security numbers which included many undocumented immigrants. The IRS creates individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN) for them that it does not share with immigration authorities.

Trickle-down voodoo economics espoused by the Republican party recently returned $20 billion in tax cuts to AT&T. They invested these tax cuts in stock buybacks and laid off a thousand workers. Go figure! Corporations have continued to merge for more than three decades creating monopolies that control the power and wealth for the top 1 to 10 percent. It has not been trickling down to the workers. We then look for scapegoats and scapegoat the government, minorities, and immigrants as the causes of our problems in America. Think corporatocracy and you are on the right trail of what truly is the cause of our ailments. Many also lack healthcare.

Regarding Mr. Roof’s other complaint, one of many, the gang of eight bipartisan senators did in fact write an 844-page bi-partisan “Merit-Based” immigration policy in 2013 that was passed by 48 Democrats and 14 Republicans in 2013. The house never acted on the bill because too many Republican groups opposed this bill. S.744 (Source: us-immigration.com).

The Bush and Obama administration, contrary to false rumors, never had a policy to separate children from their parents at the border. Attorney General Sessions introduced that policy in April 2018 when he arbitrarily changed a long-standing policy to charge asylum seekers with a felony instead of a first- time misdemeanor charge for first-time offenders. Their detainment forced a separation of the families from their children. Instead of giving them due process for asylum, Sessions tried to scare all asylum seekers from coming here to seek asylum due to his anti-immigrant ideology.

Any American who receives Social Security, Medicare, VA benefits, and a whole host of other social program benefits should not be labeled and/or castigated as a socialist. The replacement program this administration is maneuvering toward is perpetuating power and wealth by the few. Mr. Roof feels left out of the liberty and justice for all loop like many other Americans. Our gravy chain left the station over three decades ago, and we must fight together to get it back.

Bill Clemens


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