Social Justice

Nevadans Visit Dean Heller’s Las Vegas Office, Demand He Oppose Cuts to Safety Net Programs

On Tuesday, a group of concerned retirees visited Senator Dean Heller’s (R) Las Vegas office to register their opposition to the tax plan President Donald Trump and Congressional Republican leaders have been rallying around. They also demanded Heller oppose any cuts to safety net programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, to fill any budget hole the Trump-GOP Tax Plan will cause if it becomes law.

How Trump has already broken his promise

Throughout last year’s campaign, Donald Trump promised not to support cuts to the Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid budgets. Yet in June of this year, the White House released a budget proposal that includes cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance. And throughout the year, Trump has championed various versions of Trumpcare legislation that included severe cuts to Medicaid.

Trump may break his own campaign promise again, this time with the tax plan he’s demanding Congress pass by the end of the year. For one, Trump failed to push back against Congressional Republicans who’ve requested “entitlement reform” (as in cuts to Social Security and Medicare) after they pass the tax plan. And on Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office ruled that the Republicans’ tax plan will trigger an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare if it becomes law.

Against this backdrop, the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans (NARA) and local Indivisible activists paid a visit to Heller’s Las Vegas office to ask him to stop the tax plan and its subsequent budget cuts.

“We need to continue helping our old and our young who are in desperate need of Medicaid and Medicare”
– Darlene Hayward, NARA
Photo by Andrew Davey

NARA Treasurer Darlene Hayward expressed her disgust for not just the potential $25 billion Medicare cuts, but an additional $111 billion in cuts to other safety net programs if the Trump Tax Plan becomes law. “We all have the right to live comfortably. We’re allegedly the richest country in the world,” Hayward said.

Hayward then addressed Trump’s, and Heller’s, turnabout on Medicaid. “So many of our Americans, even our veterans and seniors, are counting on Medicaid. [Heller and Trump] are taking that money out of programs we want and putting it into something we do not need.” Hayward continued, “We need to continue helping our old and our young who are in desperate need of Medicaid and Medicare.”

“The only people this helps are the 1%. It always ends up on the backs of seniors, the middle class, and the working class in America.”
– Steve Horner, Las Vegas
Photo by Andrew Davey

Steve Horner, a military veteran and retired teacher, echoed Hayward’s assessment of both Trump’s tax plan and the budget cuts that would likely follow its passage. “It’s just another name for trickle-down economics, which has never worked. It never will work.” Horner added, “The only people this helps are the 1%. It always ends up on the backs of seniors, the middle class, and the working class in America.”

Horner then provided a short history lesson. “If you go back through history, you will repeatedly see that it’s the middle class who ends up paying for this.” Horner pointed to past “trickle-down economic” experiments, such as “The Roaring ‘20s” and the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, as he explained why he finds Trump’s tax plan unnecessary. “Instead of creating new jobs, the [wealthy beneficiaries of these tax cuts] have always taken the money that they have saved on tax breaks, bought more of their stock, and stashed all of that money overseas.”

Another hidden feature of the Trump Tax Plan: Trumpcare

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans announced that their version of the Trump Tax Plan will include repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate to have health insurance. Republican leaders are spinning this as getting rid of an unpopular mandate in exchange for $338 billion in savings. However that $338 billion would be saved as a result of 13 million more uninsured Americans, which in turn could lead to a “death spiral” of higher health care costs and even more Americans losing coverage.

In July, Senator Heller voted for the “skinny repeal” version of Trumpcare that focused on repealing the health care law’s insurance mandates. Despite Governor Brian Sandoval’s (R) repeated warnings that such a disruption would prove catastrophic for Nevada’s health care system, Heller has continued to support legislation to destabilize the health insurance market.

Outside Senator Heller’s Las Vegas office on Tuesday, Darlene Hayward cited health care, public education, and other parts of America’s social safety net as reasons to continue speaking out against this tax plan. “If I don’t fight for the young people, no one else is going to fight for them.” Hayward then made this plea to Heller: “Maybe one day, our Senator Heller will listen to us. Our young people are our future.”

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