Letter to the Editor: Setting the Record Straight on Republicans and Social Security


Thanks to letter writer Joel Muencheau for the honor of mentioning me in the same paragraph as John Fetterman, the courageous Democratic senator-elect from Pennsylvania. Fetterman suffered a serious stroke early in his campaign against Dr. Mehmet Oz, Donald Trump's hand-picked TV snake oil doctor whose home is curiously in New Jersey. Apparently, the voters of Pennsylvania preferred a recuperating honest man to an out-of-state huckster. Fetterman won by more than 250,000 votes. Not really close. His doctors say he will make a full recovery. 

Mr. Muencheau says Democrats lied about the Republican threat to Social Security leading up to the election. Since Social Security began in 1935, it has been a target of the Republican right-wing. They have always wanted to kill it. 

There is a good reason why there has never been a means test for Social Security. President Franklin Roosevelt insisted that it be an insurance program everyone was enrolled in. FDR understood that means testing for Social Security would be the first political step toward making Social Security seem like a “handout for the poor,” thus enabling Republicans to demonize and then kill it. There has never been a means test for Social Security because FDR wisely and adamantly opposed one. His wisdom is still solid.

FDR led America through the Great Depression and World War II from the confines of a wheelchair. Historians usually give him third or fourth place on a list of best presidents.

After 20 years of Democratic control of the White House, right-wing conservatives fully expected one of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's first acts as president in 1953 would be to repeal Social Security. He angered them deeply by refusing to do so. In what amounted to a perfect characterization of truly good governance, Eisenhower simply said of Social Security, “It works and the people seem to like it.”

While in office, Ike had a major heart attack in 1955 and a mild stroke in 1957. He was almost as gaffe-prone as Joe Biden. Historians now generally place him as the sixth or seventh best president. 

In letters to the editor since the election there have been sentiments expressed that Lewis County should be a virtuous island of red conservatism in a decadent sea of blue liberalism. The notion of Lewis County as an island is amusing since, save possibly for a handful of remaining “Back to The Land” folks from the 1970s and a few modern day "preppers," Lewis County is as dependent upon the larger economy and larger world as anywhere else.  

I confess though, I too have an occasional thought of  Lewis County being an island. Whenever I drive by (or pull into) the jam-packed Chehalis Walmart or Home Depot parking lots, it does at times occur to me that Lewis County is like an island off the coast of China. 


Marty Ansley