While everyone focused upon the midterm elections, the Supreme Court nomination, Elizabeth’s Warren DNA test, and Trump’s 60 Minutes interview, the federal budget deficit swelled past $779 billion for fiscal year 2018. The Treasury Department said the variation was driven by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues from resulting GOP tax cuts. As a result, the deficit is on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election.
So why is this important? Well, in a statement from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Going forward, the president’s economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path.”
And what about that ‘wasteful spending?’ Well, that comes from a little discussed Republican proposal filed this past June that proposes the budget would be balanced in nine years — but only if America makes large cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare and healthcare.
One aspect of healthcare
Thus far, under the Trump administration, Republicans have chipped away enough medical services that 4 million people have lost their health care. Additionally, The Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center estimates that tossing out the remaining provisions of the ACA would result in 17 million people losing commercial insurance and another 15 million losing Medicaid and children’s health care under the CHIP program.
And just as the people are losing coverage, the World Health Organization estimates dementia approximately 50 million people have dementia, with nearly 10 million new cases every year. By 2050, 132 million worldwide. Currently, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, America there will be about 14 million.
Senate Republicans joined their House colleagues in proposing steep cuts to Medicaid, part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Conservatives hope to roll back what they see as an expanding and costly entitlement. But little has been said about what would happen to older Americans in nursing homes if the cuts took effect.
Moral of Voting Responsibly
As a society, we’re not going to escape dementia or Alzheimer’s. So, what are we going to do? Care for people or not? I close with a parable retold in many ways.
A senator’s soul arrived in heaven and was met by St. Peter at the entrance. “Welcome to heaven,” said St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do.”
“No problem, just let me in,” said the senator.
“Well I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one day in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity,”
“Really? I’ve already made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” said the senator.
“I’m sorry, but we have rules,” St. Peter insisted. “Hell is first.”
When the door to Hell opened, the senator found himself in the middle of a beautiful green golf course. In the distance was a clubhouse and standing in front of it were all his friends and politicians who had worked with him. Everyone was very happy and in formal attire. Everyone rushed to greet him, shook his hand, and reminisced about the good ol’days they had shared together, often at the expense of the people they were supposed to serve. Lucifer, the devil himself, seemed really incredible and likeable.
When the senator returned, St. Peter awaited him. “Now it’s time to visit Heaven.”
In the susequent twenty-four hours, the senator joined a group of contented souls, praising God, singing hymns, and found fellowship of the deepest and purest kind. The experience was truly meaningful. And quickly, time had come to an end.
“Well, now, you’ve spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Choose your eternity,” instructed St. Peter.
The senator reflected, “You know, I would have never believed that I would have said this. While Heaven was nice, I am better off in Hell.”
St. Peter escorted him to Hell. When the doors opened, he found himself in the middle of a barren land with a dark, ominous and foreboding sky. The heat was exceedingly oppressive. He saw all his friends dressed in rags, some naked and unclean, many pulling around chains of life’s vices.
“I don’t…I don’t…I don’t understand,” stammered the senator. “Only yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse, and we ate lobster caviar, and drank champagne. It was tremendous. We were living the high life. Now there’s just this wasteland, wasted lives, and miserable associations. What happened!?”
The devil looked at him, smiled, and said, “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.”
A common saying goes, “God does not send people to hell. They choose to go there themselves.” On November 6th, what are we choosing for 2050?