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November 6, 2011 - Ray Hall (Archive)
Since FDR Democrats have been under such constant attack by Republicans that many of the rank and file and especially elected officials have grown timid. Fearful of being branded as godless “New York liberals” or, since Nancy Pelosi ascended into leadership, “San Francisco liberals” Democrats are loath to defend popular social programs.

Democrats, even President Obama, are reluctant to forcefully advocate for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and remain all too willing to allow the programs to be diminished just to deflect Republican criticism. They are unaware that is is easy for a millionaire Congress to cynically suggest the retirement age should be advanced for Social Security and Medicare recipients.

Since most members of Congress are financially better off than a majority of their constituents retirement at 72 for them is sitting in an overstuffed chair with a lap full of coupon bonds. That, I submit, differs significantly from a man who has been on a bone jarring ride for forty years across the United States and Canada as a long haul truck driver. To force that man or woman to wait until 72 to draw Social Security or Medicare is inhuman, an evil betrayal.

We can learn from the Democrats’ most common sense voice, the U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. A Tea Party advocate recently released a venomous attack on the candidate at a town hall meeting and fled the room calling her a “socialist whore.” When asked, she said she was not angry with the man. She said she understood his frustrations. Her anger, she said, was reserved for those who stood behind a cloak of anonymity and let others spread the poison they packaged.

For those Democrats who fear being called anti-business or accused of class warfare listen to Elizabeth Warren. Someone who apparently wanted to discredit Ms. Warren posted a video on a conservative web page of the candidate addressing the class warfare issue at a coffee party. If that was the intent of the opposition it backfired, big time. The video went viral. Elizabeth Warren celebrated the rich man who would build something and make a lot of money but debunked the Republican myth that the rich are rugged, self-made individuals who acquired wealth by their own devices. “Let them make a lot of money, bless them,” she explained in easy to understand words that no man got rich by all himself.

“Keep a big chunk of your money,” she said. Then she pointed out that they owed a debt to taxpayers--the government for educating their workers and that it was taxpayers that paid for fire and police protection and roads and highways needed to move their products.

Elizabeth Warren is right. It ins’t the government that waives sales taxes on new construction, or gives a contractor more than a million dollars to build a new building downtown. No,it isn’t the government--it is us, the taxpayers. Any business that files an itemized tax return is subsidized by taxpayers. Imagine how expensive it would be if a business could not deduct wages. But that’s part of our social contract, our recognition and acknowledgement of the jobs that business provides.

My advice to Democrats; do not recoil when Republicans and Tea Party tormentors unleash an endless barrage against Democratic programs that have pulled so many from the ravages of poverty and ill health. Be proud of what has been accomplished and recognize there’s more to do. Ignore being called a Socialist or a Communist because Democrats intuitively feel it is altogether right and proper to relieve suffering and advance humanity.

I’m happy our country has a person like Elizabeth Warren and when others ignorantly mock her for being a Harvard professor just say “isn’t that great, she’ll do great things for our country.”


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