Opinion Editor David Plazas explains that the editorial board reached out to 50 campaigns for the Nov. 6 election to fill out its questionnaire. David Plazas, USA TODAY NETWORK ā Tennessee
Iām a U.S. government teacher, which means I teach my students how government is supposed to work. Today, that basically means Iām a history teacher.
While itās sad there are not many good examples of flourishing democracy today, it gives me the chance to focus on the great past successes of our legislative process. And as I teach my students, you canāt know where you are going if you donāt know where you have been.
Social Security was signed into law in the summer of 1935. The year prior, half of senior citizens lived in poverty, struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates.
We decided as a society that people who work their whole lives should be able to live out their golden years with a minimum level of dignity and security, hence the name, Social Security.
My grandparents relied on Social Security as did many of yours. It is estimated that 22 million seniors — 400,000 in Tennessee — would be living in poverty without Social Security. Most people reading this know someone who relies on social security.
Thirty years after Social Security, Medicare was created. Again, this was spurred on by the fact that most seniors faced higher medical costs than they could afford and, as a country, we valued the notion that seniors who spent a lifetime working should not face such adversity at the end of their lives.
About 60 million families currently rely on Medicare. I say families because without Medicare, family members would likely have to bear the burden of paying medical expenses for their elders. For people my age with college age children, the thought of taking on additional financial responsibilities is daunting to say the least.
Congressman has record of voting against entitlement programs
While Tennessee families are still trying to steady themselves after surviving the Great Recession, members of Congress like my opponent Scott DesJarlais are pushing cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for giveaways to companies that ship jobs overseas.
Big corporations are making record profits and Congress is trying to find ways to give them even more.
This is not the first time Scott DesJarlais has tried to cut Social Security and Medicare.
He voted for Paul Ryanās plan to end Medicare as we know it and force seniors back into the private insurance market.
He voted to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, forcing middle class people to work longer. Time and again, DesJarlais has repeated his attack on programs we have paid for.Ā
Fighting for commitment to senior citizens
Iām a mother of five children. My goal in life is to make sure that my children have a greater opportunity than I did, not to leave the road more difficult to travel that it was for me.
Our children should not have to work longer to pay the debts of their parents, just as seniors today should not have to worry about losing the benefits of the programs they supported for the generation before them.
Scott DesJarlais and Congress are trying to pass the buck for their reckless decisions by raiding Social Security and Medicare.
Tennessee families canāt afford that.
In Congress, Iāll always fight to keep our commitments to our seniors and to extend those same commitments to our children.
Mariah Phillips is the Democratic nominee for the 4th Congressional District of Tennessee. Her opponent is incumbent Scott DesJarlais, a Republican.
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