In GOP America, who Cares for the Disabled?

It seems, not many Republicans currently in office care. It’s no secret that the Republican-led Congress has made their next order of business to take a shot at massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They must find a way to finance their #GOPTaxScam for the wealthiest Americans, and think they have found an easy mark. No group is too poor, too marginalized, or too helpless to be prey for their financially motivated schemes.

We can expect this to happen before the November elections when the House is assured to lose their GOP majority. Even the Senate isn’t safe from the blue wave. So, whatever machinations the current Republican-led administration have planned, it is likely they are going to try to push their agenda through within the next six months.

No doubt they intend to sell this as cutting “entitlements” used to support what they see as “lazy inner-city people taking advantage of and abusing the system.” In reality, they will be targeting society’s most vulnerable- those who have the least political clout, as well as their caregivers.

They will be creating a perfect storm unlike anything seen since the 1970s and 1980s when Ronald Reagan shut down federal facilities for the mentally ill, displacing many into homelessness. If Congress succeeds, we will see more disabled folks follow suit, such as individuals who are physically and visually impaired, amputees, those with Down Syndrome, and others who rely on government programs for help with basic needs. They could be cast to the streets as they too lose their federal and state funding safety nets.

Those currently holding the purse strings are already asking questions about “recent work history” on reviews of people receiving food stamps, Medicare, and SSDI benefits. They are asking if they, or anyone in their household, has worked since their last review. Some of these questionnaires have been sent to people as much as 6 months before their benefit applications are even up for review. This is a blatant attempt by this administrations to prove these under-represented people who are receiving government sponsored aid are “not working for their supper.”

Let’s not forget an unintended consequence.

Some disabled adults are being cared for by their aging parents, who might also realize brutal cuts to their own Social Security. What happens to those disabled individuals when either they, or their caregivers, are forced to take a low paying job in order to obtain medical coverage or to simply afford food? Are we truly prepared to force the disabled or their elderly caregivers to make a choice?

The reality is, in most cases, for every dollar they receive from a paid position, a dollar is taken away from their benefits. We already have a large segment of our disabled and senior population who rely on government aid, having to choose between the medications they need or food on the table. This is a travesty happening within our “great American system.”

Make no mistake, when the GOP talks about entitlements, they are including those on disability. No one is getting rich off of Social Security or SSDI (disability insurance), but most of the GOP within our current administration has demonstrated such an incredible lack of integrity, you can expect a full-court PR campaign to sell this distasteful lack of compassion as a benefit to taxpayers.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want developmentally delayed adults, senior Veterans, those with visual or hearing problems, or the physically challenged to be reduced to panhandling so that the wealthiest in our society have a few more dollars in their pockets.

I am betting you don’t either, but it seems the richest Americans, those Republicans with billions like Donald Trump, need these vulnerable folks to suffer so they can feed their insatiable greed.

Even if you support the misguided belief that people need to bootstrap themselves out of poverty (I won’t even go into why this is so wrong), there are individuals that are too sick or simply unable to be in the workforce due to circumstances beyond their control. These Americans aren’t a powerful voting bloc, they do not control any of our resources, they do not influence the electorate. Therefore, the Republicans currently in power don’t care about them.

But I do care. I pledge to work hard to block the Republican’s efforts, and to protect desperately needed programs and services that are provided to those who most need them.

My name is Bob Olsen and I am a Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

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