Dear Editor:

 With the rise of the Radical Right and the Far Right, you not only have the growth of Survival-of-the-Fittest Social Darwinism ideology in today’s Republican Party, featuring their desire not only to cut and reduce spending on all of the social safety-net federal government social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, College Student Loans), you also get their growing cold-hearted desire to totally abolish them.

And along with this, you get what Alfred Hitchcock referred to as “Brutality with a Smile.” An example of this was when Presidential candidate Donald Trump, during a televised Republican debate, literally mocked, made fun of, insulted, and humiliated candidate Carly Fiorina by saying, “Look at that face!” I still find it hard to believe that any human being could have been so cruel as to humiliate another human being like that, especially an accomplished woman who has lost a child due to drug addiction and who has had to experience having a double mastectomy.

This woman has suffered in life. She did not deserve to be abused and publicly humiliated like that.

But ultimately, we are all held accountable, and we will be held accountable for how we have treated others in life.

I have now completed my opening statement.

There is absolutely no good reason for politicians (mostly conservative Republicans) to scare our senior citizens by threatening to cut Social Security retirement benefits. There is no so-called “crisis.”

Virtually every serious, non-biased study has concluded that the Social Security Trust Fund is fully solvent through 2034. After that, it will be able to provide 76-79% of benefits for the next 60 years beyond 2034.

Does it need to be fixed? Of course it does. But it does not have to be done today, and there is no need to cut anyone’s benefits.

One of the many relatively simple and easy “reforms” that can be made was proposed by Republican Presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2015. In addition, I literally sat in the same car as Democratic Presidential candidate and Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt in 1987 when he told me that what we should do is to “means-test” Social Security benefits. For example, we can make Social Security fully solvent well beyond 2034 by reducing the benefits of those who have a yearly income of, say, $80,000/year and higher by a certain percentage. I can still recall Governor Babbitt saying, “Stew, do multi-millionaires really need the same Social Security benefits as senior citizens who are living in poverty?”

I am calling on all members of the US Senate and House of Representatives to stop scaring our senior citizens.

Something that might happen in 14 years that is easily preventable and solved is not a so-called “crisis,” and they all know it. It is so unnecessary and cruel for our senior citizens to be scared like this.


Stewart B. Epstein
Rochester, New York

 P.S. I am a retired college professor of Sociology, Social Work, and Psychology. I am proud to have taught at West Virginia University, Slippery Rock University, and SUNY-Brockport. In 1987, I ran for Mayor of Clinton, Iowa, and was endorsed by Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt. I also ran for the School Board of Clinton, Iowa, and lost by 12 votes to a 14-year incumbent.