Wednesday, March 18, 2015
2016 Chris Christi’s Presidential Campaign message, Reforming Medicare and Social Security
Keywords or Terms: Retirees; Baby-boomers; Reforming Social Security and Medicare; Governor Chris Christie; Retirees and Senior Citizens; Tanked stocks and bonds; Recession and convoluted derivatives; Boeing Corporation; Bridgate; Mayor of Hoboken; New Jersey Public Pension Reversals by Courts; and, FBI interviews and criminal investigation.
As a public servant and member of a country club a while back, I met two great couples; both retirees and former engineers with the BOEING Corporation, before they threw in the towel and substituted their engineering gabs for golf clubs and sweet river boat cigars. Unlike the rest of their friends in nursing homes, these retirees hardly depended on their social security benefits; however, they both swore that Medicare and Medicaid have been a life-saver. Without Medicare, I would be bankrupt considering the cost of keeping my wife and self alive after two by-pass heart surgeries, said one. These two couples vote; and they do so religiously every two or four years, or whenever there is a vote to be cast at the precinct. In fact, many of their friends, age mates and former colleagues, at home and in nursing homes, have one singular purpose and objective, to prevent any politician, any person if you ask them, from messing with Social Security and Medicare. Take the last statement as a mantra or assured commitment as long as these age group lives.
These committed Baby boomers are about to meet, 2016 Republican candidate for the White House, Garden State governor, Chris Christie; with his message of entitlement reforms. The governor is about to inform these retirees that their long earned entitlement needs a tweaking; or probably, eradication. Speaking with a round-table of policy analysts, Governor Christie intoned that` he will like to make overhauling of Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs as the center piece of his presidential campaign. A politically risky theme that will not only shock the two retirees or poke a finger in their nose; but will set in motion an avalanche of retirees’ interest, including a few who consider torching Social Security and Medicare, the holy grail of social-welfare programs, a no-go area for any presidential aspirant. This is probably one reason, many who heard about Governor Christie’s campaign for 2016 White House, wondered what in the world is the Republican former US Attorney for the State of New Jersey, with a guaranteed monthly pension and subsidized health care package attempting to do to America’s senior citizens: “Mess with the holy grail of entitlement programs?”
When I raised this alert with the two former Boeing engineers at the Church the other day, all I got was a somber, head shaking over the possibility of Governor Chris Christie getting their vote. In fact, one of them went as far as saying: Republicans like every now and again to mess with the old and elderly, the unfortunate and the helpless. This time around, they are going to get it! If you ask me what “it” means, I’ll just say, stay tuned. Though the nation had long been challenged with sustaining these social welfare programs for a very long time for generations of Americans who are retired, retiring or waiting to collect part, if not all their contribution to the system, a young brassy and probably flamboyant Republican candidate for the White House oval office wants to use them as puns. Early in our 2008-2011 recession, some Wall Street analysts and economists reminiscent over what would have happened if the proposal to privatize social security during George W. Bush (43rds) Presidency had materialized. Had that proposal materialized, many of our senior citizens, who lost a lot of their investment portfolios due to the recession and the bungled real estate market derivatives, will have resorted to the soup kitchen for sustenance. Many of our seniors and retirees still remember the fear they had on their faces, and the cloud of uncertainty that beclouded their future, as under-performing investments stock had turned to wastelands, about the time President Obama was taking office; with several stock portfolio and bonds rated close to junk by Moody’s. This is the same issue Mr. Chris Christie is about to re-visit once again as he shoots for the White House oval office in 2016.
Though divestment in social security contribution and handing over prior contribution to the system were seen as foregone conclusions during the last debate under another Republican White House, with a proposal allowing individual employee to invest part of their contributions in the stock market, very few at that time and even today, believe the proposal was a better alternative than the current arrangement. It defied logic, why a discredited proposal; or probably another complex economic postulation is going to be advanced by another Republican candidate; or Chris Christie’s campaign team, as a way forward for reforming Social Security, Medicare, and any other entitlement program. Frustration from the experience of the last recession is probably still fresh on the minds of many baby boomers; and any proposal, coming out of a Republican candidate, is probably going to raise an eye brow, if not derail any advancement by a seemingly interminable presidential candidate, Governor Chris Christie of the State of New Jersey.
Still the conclusion by Christi’s handlers and political advisers is: indeed, it is possible to advance the reform of Social Security and Medicare, despite the resentments and oppositions to those ventures at this time; and, still win the White House. A complaint that gained credence during George Bush era was that Social Security was about to go bankrupt and to shore it up, it was necessary to allow employees to take out their contributions while still employed and invest them in stocks or bond portfolio. In hindsight, was this a good proposal or was it not? Are the clumsiness and fraud in the financial sector that nearly brought the nation to her knees, wouldn't have done damage to the psyche of investors who would have lost huge sums of money just before the economy tanked? With the insistent and continued attack on Dodd-Frank reforming the financial sector by Congressional Republicans, do these people not know that Americans are wiser and can read between the lines?
Governor Christi seems to be making a statement, Social Security and Medicare need reform; and embracing the question, what would America do about it? Reforming Social Security and Medicare is long overdue and as a candidate for the Republican Party nomination, I am sending notices to friends and foes, that, though a former President failed to accomplish that needed reform, I am bringing in my bravado and New Jersey brashness to shake things up. Really? What America would want answered are: 1) whatever happened to the pension cut proposal for New Jersey’s public pension system? Did a judge not overturn the scheme to balance your state’s budget on the backs of retirees? 2) Whatever happened to the case of the closure of access lanes on George Washington Bridge – is it still part of a traffic study? 3) How is the reformer-crusader thing working for you – after Mayor of Hoboken insisted your office pressurized her to approve big development projects to your cronies? 4) How about your self-deluded mythology that you are a bipartisan problem solver? 5) is corruption not still well and alive in New Jersey, with all the news about your launching a PAC, are the self-interest groups already contributing, and expecting you to rob their backs, just as you did in your nomination to become the first inexperienced US Attorney prosecutor for the State of New Jersey? and, 6) How is the FBI interview and possible criminal investigation coming on?
One of the greatest difficulties of our time is the challenge of dealing with probably corruptible public servants. No one is alleging that the great Governor of New Jersey is corruptible, because of the political landscape in his state; however, there are some actions taken by the self-styled reformer governor of the garden state that beg for scrutiny. The cloud over Governor’s Chris Christie’s handling of some issues in his state, probably will serve as a fodder for many who are hearing his speeches and ambition for the White House oval office. We may not discover any fishy thing about some issues of directives from the New Jersey’s governor’s office; however, there are enough suspicion to believe that there is more to the campaign message to reform the bed crust of social program in United States. There is more to a Presidential aspirant who would like to balance the state or federal budget on the back of the elderly and fixed income earners.
The way Governor Christie has handled the Bridge gate scandal, and the way in which many away from his State consider his brash bravado, have already reduced his clout as a viable Republican nominee. There is no sign at this moment that he is not beleaguered by past executive actions that call his ability to run a White house squarely and fairly. The consequences of many of his past actions in position of power, are hardly forgotten by those who had suffered tremendously from Christie’s executive decisions, inaction or actions. For these and other reasons, it seems rather unlikely that we are going to get his proposed reform to Social Security and Medicare; because, he is very unlikely to be the Republican flag bearer, with Jeb Bush in the race. Now, to my compatriot retirees, let’s just let him make all his noises, while we get back to our golf game and smoking our river boat cigars!