By Gene Roza
Constituents and friends held a Day of Action on Feb. 20 in Clovis in front of Rep. Devin Nunes’ office for a verified appointment with his district director, Rudy Mendoza, to address concerns on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Nunes (R–Tulare) represents Congressional District 22, which includes northern Fresno, Clovis and most of Tulare County.
Guess what? We showed up but neither Mendoza nor his field representative, Anthony Ratekin, would meet with the three constituents designated for the meeting.
Nunes has been an advocate for privatizing Medicare/Medicaid and cutting Social Security to help the federal deficit. It is well-known that Social Security does not add one cent to the deficit; it pays for itself through payroll deductions from employers and employees and has been successful for more than 77 years. Even Ronald Reagan said that Social Security was not part of the deficit and should not be on the table when discussing the budget.
This message again needs to be given to Nunes and others in Washington, D.C., as they believe in cutting Social Security and raising the retirement age in order to solve our budget and deficit problems. That’s easy for them to say as they will retire with a greater pension with benefits than the vast majority of middle-class families.
We should be talking about closing loopholes for Wall Street and Corporate America, ending all the Bush tax cuts, ending the estate tax loophole (which really only helps those at the very top of the economic ladder), taxing capital gains the same as wages earned, placing a tax on derivative transactions, fighting for real healthcare reform through a Medicare for All system and allowing the government to negotiate for lower drug prices.
The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and our 900,000-plus members track the voting records of all federal elected officials. Nunes’ lifetime voting record on issues that affect seniors and their communities is 7%. You read that right; this representative is not a friend of current or future retirees. His 2011 voting record was 0%.
Nunes marches in step with Reps. Paul Ryan (R–Wisc.), Eric Cantor (R–Va.), John Boehner (R–Ohio) and others who lean to the far right and want to privatize Social Security and make a voucher system out of Medicare. Nunes continues to vote for tax breaks for the top 1%–2% who have benefited over the past decades while the middle class and working poor saw benefits diminish and their incomes stagnate.
Mendoza would have been asked for Nunes’ thoughts on the current debate on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. His staffers’ failure to even show up to address our concerns reflects Nune’s lack of concern for the voters of the 22nd Congressional District, the citizens of California and the nation.
What can we do? Call Congress directly at 1-877-762-8762 (Capitol switchboard) and ask to speak to your Congressional Representative, write a letter and send a fax or an e-mail. Tell them to keep their hands off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Join others who are active in stopping the madness of wanting to destroy the most successful social program created in our country. Learn more at www.californiaalliance.org.
Gene Roza is a Fresno member of CARA. Contact him at 559-905-3521.