As a grandparent, I worry a lot about the future of our country. Will my children be able to provide for their children and save for the future? Will my grandchildren have access to a quality education and good jobs when they graduate? Will I have to rely on my children to make ends meet one day? My fears intensified recently when President Trump unveiled a budget that hurts families, drags down our economy, and rewards wealthy corporations.
Many of Trump’s proposed budget cuts target vital programs for seniors at a time when more than 25 million Americans age 60 and older are living near or below the federal poverty level. Thankfully, the fate of Trump’s budget will be determined by members of Congress—lawmakers who are being held accountable by voters like me.
Since Trump unveiled his rigged budget, I’ve been calling my representatives to tell them Congress should stand with older Americans by rejecting the president’s budget. I’ve also been encouraging my family, friends and fellow retirees to join me.
I know it can be scary for everyday Americans to pick up that phone, but it's important for elected officials to hear our voice. Here are four reasons why every older American should tell their representative to say “no” to the Trump budget:
- Access to healthcare is important for every generation … especially ours. Trump’s budget includes $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade. Not only does his budget take away healthcare from 23 million people, it makes it virtually impossible for older Americans to afford long term nursing home care.
- A cut to Social Security Disability Insurance is a cut to Social Security. The administration wants to pretend as though the president’s proposed $72 billion cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program keeps Trump’s promise to protect Social Security. However, SSDI, which helps seniors and Americans with disabilities replace lost wages when they fall on hard times, is a core part of Social Security—just like retirement benefits.
- “Let them eat cake” isn’t the attitude our country needs right now. Trump’s proposed budget takes away vital food assistance from our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Not only does the budget cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) by 25 percent, it eliminates vital Community Development Block Grant services. CDBG supports state and local meals-on-wheels programs which provide hot meals to more than 2.4 million senior citizens every year and help to save taxpayers billions in healthcare costs. This budget cuts funding for affordable housing programs and eliminates funding for LIHEAP, which helps low-income families and seniors pay their energy bills.
- We can’t afford elder poverty. It’s no secret average Americans are working harder and longer but still face the threat of retiring into poverty when they can no longer work. Nevertheless, the president’s budget promises to make our nation’s retirement crisis worse by making it harder for working people to prepare for the future and today’s retirees to live in dignity.
It has already been estimated that by 2030 there will be 72 million seniors living in poverty in America. Can you imagine what would happen if Congress approves this budget?
Now more than ever, it’s critical we call on Congress to address the leading causes of retirement insecurity in our country; not attack working parents, grandparents and children. Are you ready to let your representatives know what’s on your mind? Contact them at 202-224-3121 to demand they stand with retirees and working people by rejecting President Trump’s rigged budget.
Dolly Kildee is a retiree member of SEIU Local 500.