Didn’t you promise you were going to help us make it through the night, Mr. President Trump?
“I am going to take care of everybody.”
“There will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”
“Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
I don’t care who’s right or wrong, Mr. Trump. You could even copy Huckabee and put a squirrel in your White House microwave and if you liked it a lot I would not judge you for that. But keep your promises. Or at least try. Don’t complain about how complicated healthcare is. That’s a precious snowflake excuse. And don’t listen to Paul Ryan. He’s a zombie moocher who lived off Social Security for two years after his daddy died when Paul was just sixteen. He is probably still ashamed of it. Don’t mind him, and for heaven’s sake don’t think he’s a “policy wonk.” He doesn’t even understand insurance at all if he doesn’t realize it’s about healthy people paying for sick ones. Because even you, Mr. Trump, are going to get old and sick and dependent and vulnerable. So let the devil take tomorrow, Mr. Trump.
P.S. So glad your man on health care, Dr. Tom Price, said yesterday “no one will be worse off financially” when Trumpcare kicks in. I am making a note of how much I paid in premiums in 2016 and putting it in a safe place, and you can be sure that I will not pay any more while you are president, sir. And I know you won’t put me in debtors’ prison. Plus I can keep thinking what I’m thinking and drinking what I’m drinking–no more no less so I won’t be any worse off. Feeling pretty good now. Would hate to see you mess up my good feeling.
Democrats have seized quite a lot of moral high ground this year. But they could set a higher bar for themselves in the home stretch. This year is an unusually opportune moment to seize back the high ground from Republicans on liberty and freedom. The GOP has owned this issue for too long, and this year’s Republican presidential nominee does not show any sign of caring a fig for freedom–on the contrary, “I alone can fix it.” So much for limited government and ordered liberty!
Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic convention this summer, for example, was all about ordered liberty, but the freedom theme got submerged (for both pro-Hillary and pro-Trump people) in the back-and-forth about whether or not he should or shouldn’t be immune from criticism because Mr. Khan and his wife are Gold Star parents. There is a strong case that Trump was a fool, politically, to attack the Khans, but the substance of Mr. Khan’s message in defense of constitutional freedoms could and should be lifted up more by Democrats.
Democrats could and should say more about freedom as equal opportunity, equal economic opportunity, as described by FDR in his “Second Bill of Rights” speech of 1944. The freedom to be left alone is part of freedom, but not all of it by any means. Most of us are not living on the open range, however powerful the fantasy may be. Most of us really do not want government to mess with our Social Security and Medicare benefits–which nobody has a right to look down on as “entitlements” when we spent decades paying in. Allowing Paul Ryan or the so-called Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to get away with entitlement-shaming is political malpractice, not to mention wrong.
This year is a golden opportunity to reframe and reimagine freedom in ways that actually reflect our experience now. Not sure how many undecided voters are really left (or needed) in this year’s presidential election, but seizing the high ground on freedom will have far-reaching, long-lasting positive effects. As FDR said, “necessitous men are not free.” Lifting up that theme is the royal road to reaching swing voters–and beyond.
The 401(k) statement started out well enough. My “projected benefit at retirement” would be umpty-ump dollars a month! Terrific! And then it said this was based on a few assumptions. Fair enough, thought I. Somethin’-somethin’ annual rate of return and a little dab of inflation. So far so good, I suppose. But then: anticipated end of retirement at age 90. Not at all sure I like the sound of that. Sounds unsettlingly final. Maybe I’d better not start retiring in the first place.
And what about all those promises that if I like my health plan I won’t have to change it? But “end of retirement” makes it sound like things might not work out the way I was hoping. Now they say there might be an administrative fix or even a legislative tweak. Sure hope that means I can keep my “no-frills” coverage forever and won’t have to die after all.