Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Grand Rapids Herald Review: Program on Medicare, Social Security was informative

Feb 12, 2016
In The News

An informational meeting on Social Security and Medicare was held at the Bovey Senior Center two weeks ago with Congressman Rick Nolan. I went prepared to hear an account of how these two programs were on ‘life support’ but instead, actually came away feeling hopeful.

The Senior Center was packed with people of all political persuasions and the information disseminated was non-partisan. Much of the presentation was done by a non-profit, non-partisan organization, MN Citizens Federation Northeast. I had heard of this group before and was told that they will issue a public statement on a given topic only after extensive research.

On this particular occasion, the Federation produced a video on Social Security and Medicare that was brief, factual, and easily understandable to the mostly senior citizens in attendance. Myths that were dispelled was that Social Security is going broke and will not be there for the next generation (Fact: Social Security has more than $2.8 trillion in the Social Security Trust Fund) and Social Security Funds have been taken away to fund foreign wars. (Fact: Social Security Funds are held in U.S. Treasury Bonds, an interest baring account which is the safest investment in the world.)

The explanation on Medicare was more detailed but gave a good picture of how Medicare has increased life expectancy while keeping subscribers from sinking into poverty. Congressman Nolan emphasized that these two programs are earned benefits that all working people pay into, not undeserved ‘entitlements’ as some would like us to believe. Social Security was instituted in 1935 on the heels of the Great Depression. I suspect there were those who believed it was unaffordable at the time, but fast forward to our most recent recession in 2008 and imagine how much worse things would have been for everyone if we did not have senior citizens stoking the economy by spending those Social Security checks.

These two programs need periodic ‘tweaking’ to adjust to a changing economy, but any changes need to be made thoughtfully and with a long-range view. Let’s not allow Wall Street financial corporations to dismantle programs that have greatly improved our quality of life and have withstood the test of time.

Mary Drewes