My parents worked hard all their lives–-my mom as a schoolteacher and my dad as a probation officer. They were productive members of society, they played by the rules, and paid their fair share of taxes—no loopholes, no offshore shelters.
In the past few years, my mom has had numerous major surgeries and has had some of the best medical care in the world. It has been paid for almost entirely by Medicare and we’ve never seen a bill.
My parents were not freeloaders. They paid into this system all of their adult lives and now my mom is reaping the benefits. That is exactly how it should be. Anyone who would criticize the existence of programs like Medicare to take care of our seniors has completely lost their humanity. Without Medicare, my mom wouldn’t be alive. Despite the fact that she spent her whole life educating children on society’s behalf and paying every dime that was asked of her, in her retirement she never would’ve been able to afford life-saving surgeries or medicines. Thank God for Medicare, yes, but she earned it, goddamnit. This is not a gift from society. This is not charity. This is fucking hers. And fuck you if you would take it away from her.
So when I hear overly-privileged, wealthy-beyond-imagining politicians who twist themselves into pretzels to deprive the U.S. Treasury of revenues talk about an “entitlement crisis,” it rightly infuriates me. We don’t have an entitlement crisis, we have a morality crisis. And they are moral slugs, these low-lifes, and they live in dark places, surviving only by covering themselves in protective slime.
My mom is, as I write this, being weaned off a breathing tube. I can’t wait for her to regain her voice. She’s 76 years old, and her body may be breaking down, but her voice is a strong one. And thanks in large part to a Medicare system that her taxes (and mine, and yours) have supported, it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Her name is Lois Carl, and I testify here on her behalf. She deserves every last dime that’s being spent on her. She is more important than war. She is more important than a tax cut. She is more important than debt.
A world without women like my mother? That’s the only deficit I worry about.