‘What we want America to be’

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has an interesting take on Social Security. Recently caught on tape discussing the matter, Canter told his audience that Social Security has no place in America’s future.

Startlingly, that’s not surprising. What is surprising is the extent to which Cantor and his cohorts in the House will go to implement their extreme agenda. Their latest tactic is to couch everything — well, everything they don’t like in federal programs — in the context of the budget. Their message is that our circumstances are so dire that we can’t afford luxuries like healthcare, clean air, Medicare and Social Security. Most Americans agree that federal spending has to be reined in, and most Americans agree that it should be done fairly.

What isn’t fair about Eric Cantor’s approach on Social Security is that even while he’s seeding the field to argue budget constraints as a reason to get rid of Social Security, he’s busy protecting his own special interests in Washington. For example, he and his party are opposed to taking $5 billion in annual subsidies to the highly profitable major oil companies and using it for other priorities. No, they say, we need to protect subsidies for the biggest corporations — it’s Social Security benefits that need to be cut.

Here’s what he said, according to media reports:

“I mean, just from the very notion that it said that 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those monies as their sole source of income. So we've got to protect today's seniors. But for the rest of us? For — you know, listen. We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.”

See, the last line is what is scary. Social Security “cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.” Who is “we,” in Cantor’s mind? Does he think Americans want to destroy Social Security? If so, he’s not listening to his constituents and the constituents of every member of Congress, who say they want Social Security strengthened, not eliminated. But Cantor has his own agenda — he wrote a book that calls for eliminating Social Security and replacing it with a privatization scheme that would make Wall Street billions of dollars in profits.

I don’t know about you, but an America without Social Security that bows down to the corporate barons who pollute the air and water isn’t the America we want America to be.


David Di Martino is CEO of Blue Line Strategic Communications Inc. The views expressed in this blog are his and do not necessarily represent Blue Line’s. Follow David: @bluelinedd.