By coincidence, the same day that Jeb Bush was caught saying that Medicare needs to be “phased out,” I was on Fox News Radio with national host Alan Colmes, talking about Medicare and Social Security. Our discussion went quite differently, though. Listen to this specific blueprint for how toimprove Medicare and Social Security:
COLMES: I’m Alan Colmes. I’m always happy to welcome to our microphones Congressman Alan Grayson, representing Florida’s 9th district in Congress, and now seeking the seat of Marco Rubio in the Senate. Mr. Grayson, thanks for coming on the program tonight.
GRAYSON: Thanks for having me on. As one Alan to another, thank you very much… .
COLMES: All right, let’s talk about some serious issues here with Alan Grayson, who is seeking the Senate seat that is now controlled by Marco Rubio. What are your plans for Social Security and Medicare? Those are the things I know that are very important in your state of Florida and they’re important nationally. It seems like those governors who expanded Medicaid coverage are the ones that are doing better by their constituency in terms of the ACA.
GRAYSON: Well, it’s very simple. Seniors deserve a raise. That’s what it comes down to. Seniors have been cheated now for decades, because of the way we miscalculate these cost of living adjustments. They fall further and further behind every year. That has to change. We have to make up for some of the losses they have incurred just by remaining alive and living through these miscalculations, year after year and month after month. The [adjustments] should be calculated on the basis of what seniors are actually spending their money on and not on the basis of some skewed CPI thing that the government comes up with that has nothing to do with how seniors spend their money. Does it really matter how college tuition changes if you’re a senior and you don’t have a child in school and you’re not in school? Does it really matter? Of course not. It’s like the tree that falls in the forest and nobody hears it. Beyond that, Medicare also has to be expanded. We make a promise to seniors that we’re going to take care of them and their health in their old age, and somehow we exclude their eyes, their ears, and their teeth.
GRAYSON: That’s never made any sense to me. It just doesn’t make any sense. So I’m proposing three specific things in regard to seniors. First, expand Medicare to include eyes, ears, and teeth. Secondly, we expand the cost of living adjustment to be fair to them and to help to give them back some of what they’ve lost over the years. And third, we eliminate the double taxation of Social Security. You pay taxes on Social Security when you pay into the system, and then you pay taxes again when it pays out to you. And let me tell you something – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, everyone‘s upset about that.
COLMES: So does Social Security need to be saved? Is there a problem with it?
GRAYSON: I have drafted a bill that makes Social Security solvent until the end of time.
COLMES: Until the end of time?
GRAYSON: Until the end of time, at least according to the people who actually evaluate these things on behalf of the government. It’s very simple. We have to – you’ve heard the term before – “scrap the cap.” We scrap the cap, and make sure that everyone pays equal amounts of their income into the system. Not even a progressive amount, just an equal amount. We stop zeroing out people once they get to $125,000 of income each year. [That makes Social Security] solvent forever.
COLMES: What about raising the [retirement] age?
GRAYSON: My goodness, well what’s the need for that? If we have a system that’s solvent forever, why would we want to cheat seniors [that way]? People pay into the system for 40 years. Why would we want to change the rules?
COLMES: Because people are living longer, you know. People are. Is 65 even a reasonable age at which people should retire at this point?
GRAYSON: I would say so. I know plenty of seniors in Florida, and I will tell you that you reach a point when you simply can’t work any longer. You can’t work. You’re too frail. Regardless of the fact that you’re still alive, that doesn’t mean that you can show up for work at 8 o’clock in the morning, and operate a pneumatic drill. There’s plenty of work that seniors simply are [physically] unable to do. And, in fact, 1/3 of seniors get no income at all except for Social Security. So what are we going to do? Force those people to work until they die? … .
COLMES: I appreciate your coming on the program. Obviously this will be a campaign we’ll be watching, and I always appreciate your graciousness and goodwill to come on this show, Congressman Grayson, and I thank you for your time tonight.
If you want someone who will be a champion not just for “preserving” Social Security and Medicare, but improving them, you’ve found one. Support our campaign today.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for the U.S. Senate
P.S. In Thursday’s e-mail, I quoted John Waite’s song “Missing You.” When I took three of my kids out to lunch today, the first song playing in the restaurant was “Missing You.” What are the odds? Just sayin’.