The following is an op-ed by U.S. Representative Dennis A. Ross (FL-12) and does not necessarily reflect the views of TSCL.
By US Representative Dennis A. Ross (FL - 12)
One thing we know for certain about the greatest generation, it is that they don’t scare easily. Not economic depression, Nazi Germany, Japan, or world war could frighten my father’s generation. It is with that same resolve and faith in the rightness of your cause that seniors should not give in to the fear-mongering coming out of Washington D.C.
During the debate over the debt limit, you undoubtedly heard the President try to scare you into believing Social Security checks would not come. Let me be blunt. The federal government takes in nearly seven times more than it needs every month to pay Social Security checks. The money was there. If checks didn’t come, it would have been because the President had chosen not to pay them. You did not read that wrong. If you had not received your Social Security payment, it was because the President has directed the Secretary of the Treasury not to pay it.
As further reinforcement, my colleagues and I introduced the Prioritize Spending Act that directs the Treasury to pay Social Security and Medicare first. As of this writing, the President and Senator Reid refuse to allow it to become law.
Instead, they are banking on seniors losing the grit and determination that saw them build America into the greatest economic and military power the world has ever known, in order to tax more, spend more, borrow more, and leave us a diminished nation. The generation of my mother and father left me a nation of opportunity and freedom. I assure you, I am reminded of that legacy every day I am in Congress, and remain determined to leave my children, and your grandchildren, a stronger nation.
A stronger nation is a nation where Social Security and Medicare are there for your children and grandchildren. It means a nation where we keep our promises and innovate for the future. For those of you 55 and over, the programs you paid into, planned on, and live with, will be there for you – no changes. But for those under 55, hard choices must be made. As the debate continues about how best to preserve these programs, I wanted to reassure you all that nothing I ever vote on or support, will change the benefits and promises you earned – period.
As FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” We will learn the lessons your generation has taught us and not give in to fear. With your support, we will preserve that which we promised and leave a legacy to our posterity.