Tens of millions of working-class and middle-class Americans voted for Donald Trump and other Republican candidates because they believed that the Republicans were committed to helping them earn their way out of poverty and into a stronger middle class.

Wealth in America

Working-class and the middle-class Americans do desperately need that help. The top 20% of Americans own 85% of the country’s privately-held wealth. The top 40% own 96% of the country’s wealth. The bottom 40% of Americans own a net 0% of the country’s wealth.

Republicans plan to reduce Social Security and gut Medicare

Now that the Republicans have control of the government, they’ve signaled that their plan is not to help the bottom 50% of Americans but rather to further impoverish them.

Paul Ryan says that Social Security costs “us” too much and that to “fix” it the Republicans will increase the retirement age to 69, reduce benefits, and eliminate cost-of-living increases. Donald Trump agrees with them.

The “us” they’re talking about is the top 20%, who apparently feel that working class and middle-class Americans will be getting too much Social Security money.

The Republicans also plan to gut Medicare by requiring that on retirement today's workers buy their own private, for-profit, health insurance.

The government will then give them a voucher to reimburse them for part of the cost. So, you’re 65 years old with a heart condition. How much will for-profit, private medical insurance cost you?

Cuts not needed – a better alternative

The sad part is that all of this “we can’t afford it” talk is a flat-out lie. Social Security is paid from payroll deductions (FICA) from people’s pay checks.

It’s not a gift. You earn it.

Social Security fees are only taken from wages below $118,501/year. If FICA was calculated on wages up to $250,000/year it would bring in at least an additional $250 billion.

That’s much more than the projected future shortfall of possibly $150 billion to $200 billion and it would leave an extra $50 billion to $100 billion to help defray the costs of Medicare.

Other Republican threats to working & middle-class Americans

And we haven’t even gotten to the Republicans’ plans to turn the banks lose on the middle class with the elimination of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and their fierce opposition to the minimum wage.

If you’re a working-class or middle-class American who voted for Mr. Trump and the Republicans because you thought they were on your side, you need to think again because they’re already making it very clear that they’re creeping up behind you with a knife in their hands.