trevor thomas for michigan third congressional district

Democrat Trevor Thomas for Michigan’s 3rd District Democrat Trevor Thomas for Congress Barry - Calhoun - Ionia - Kent - Montcalm

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Trevor's Plan

A Plan for West Michigan by Democrat Trevor Thomas

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II. Investing in a West Michigan for Tomorrow

Protect and Strengthen Social Security and Medicare

1. Fighting for Social Security

I believe in Social Security, and I will fight for its continued sustainability and success.  I'll never vote to cut Social Security or raise the retirement age - period. My parents - like my grandparents - use Social Security as their lifeline, especially after cuts to their auto pensions. The good news is that we’re living longer, and, with some changes, we can make sure Social Security is safe for our kids and their children. Social Security is protected from riding the roller coaster of the financial markets and should remain that way to ensure those who have paid into the system over their lifetime can count on that income in their retirement. I will fight against any efforts to privatize Social Security, just as I spoke out against any efforts to privatize Medicare. I strongly believe, though, that people of my own younger generation need to adjust their expectations: Social Security can be protected if we make long term adjustments. For example, in order to ensure that our Social Security system is strong for all Americans, now and in the future, I will fight to ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate on their income as the rest of us. Today they only pay Social Security taxes on the first 110k of their income.  If they paid the same rate on their income like the rest of us, we'd be in pretty good shape.

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2. Protecing Medicare and Standing Up for Seniors

I will work to protect Medicare, and fight against any plan that eliminates or threatens Medicare. Since 1965, Medicare has been earned with each paycheck over a lifetime of hard work and contributions to our society. Beneficiaries should be able to expect a return on their lifelong investment when they are sick and in need of top-quality care and affordable prescription drugs. I will do everything to ensure Medicare is protected for the 49 million Americans who depend on it, and the generations who will follow. With an aging population and rising health care costs, this will be no easy task. But we cannot turn Medicare into a voucher program or shift the cost of care to seniors. We must find solutions that improve and bring down the costs of health care delivery, building on the good progress made by the Affordable Care Act which brings the cost of preventative services for Medicare beneficiaries down to zero and which has already provided more than $17.6 million in prescription drug savings for Michigan residents. In addition to protecting our seniors, we must also fight to ensure that West Michigan hospitals, which are respected nationally for their efficiency and high-quality of services, continue to receive their fair share of Medicare payments. They should be celebrated, rather than punished, for keeping costs low – and I will do everything I can to fight for reforms that are equitable and sustainable, rather than politically expedient.

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3. Support Citizens Preparing for Retirement Without Relying on the Government

I will work in Washington to make sure that the federal government is encouraging pension plans and making them sustainable. Lately, the opposite has happened, with the federal government imposing rules that are so stringent that public employers eliminate pension plans, like the Michigan legislature is trying to do for teachers right now. We remember too well when 401(k) balances plummeted in connection with the financial crash. It was a terrible turn of events, especially for Americans who were close to retirement. Despite that experience, too many in Washington (and Lansing, for that matter) seem ready to turn their backs on pension plans. We cannot allow that to happen. This issue is important to our retirees, and it is also important to the strength of our economy. When employers eliminate pensions, it places an increasing burden on Social Security, Medicare and other government programs that are already facing enormous financial pressure. I will push to support employers who want to preserve traditional pensions; I will encourage the development and adoption of innovations like hybrid retirement plans that share the risk of market shifts between employers and employees so that employees don’t see their retirement security vanish in the next economic downturn; and, I will push to make 401(k) and similar plans more accessible and to increase savings rates in these plans.

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