Cantor is “Putting People On Notice” of Medicare and Social Security Cuts

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     Eric CantorWednesday, my Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced to the Wall Street Journal that he intends to cut the safety net as a means to balance the budget without raising taxes on the wealthy. One day after passage of the debt ceiling deficit bill which outlines $1.5 trillion in yet to be named cuts by the end of the year, Cantor made it clear that “promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”

    Rep. Cantor’s desire to cut the safety net is nothing new. Cantor supported the Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a fee-for-service voucher program and noted that, “When we came out with our budget, we said, Look, let’s at least put people on notice, but preserve those who are 55 and older. The rest of us have got ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust to reality here when you look at the numbers. Again the math doesn’t lie.”

    As a constituent of Rep. Cantor’s I take exception to my congressman saying that the majority of his constituents want cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Poll after poll suggests that people of all ages would like to see the wealthy pay their fair share instead of cutting Medicare and Social Security. Rep. Cantor’s remarks are just one more reminder that he and many of his colleagues in Washington are out of touch with their constituents.

    Rep. Cantor seems to have the absurd idea that those of us over the age of 55 have no concern about the retirement security of our children and grandchildren, so long as our benefits are not attacked this time around. I am not content to tell my children to “adjust” their lives to deal with the cuts to the safety net made by legislators who only represent the interests of the wealthy and corporations. Rep. Cantor said that “the math doesn’t lie,” yet he ignores the math that suggests that ending the Bush tax cuts, closing tax loopholes, and returning the tax rate to what it was under the Clinton administration, would eliminate the need to raid our safety net.

    On July 22, I joined a group of residents and physicians at Rep. Cantor’s Glen Allen office to protest his support of cuts to the safety net. With $1.5 trillion more in cuts yet to be named by a non-transparent, unaccountable, congressional “super committee,” the fight has just begun.

    Candace Graham is a member of Virginia Organizing’s Balance Virginia Budget and Revenue Committee. Graham, a Chesterfield resident, formerly worked in the banking industry and as an educator. She is currently an activist, homemaker and caregiver.