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November 1, 2012

A note to Jewish grandparents

http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/the_final_obama_romney_showdown_a_note_to_jewish_grandparents

President Barack Obama (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters)

President Barack Obama (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters)

I believe there is a unique bond between grandparents and grandchildren. We look out for each other. We have each other’s backs.

This year, the Romney-Ryan ticket and much of the Republican Party have been attempting to divide our generations, pitting one against the other.

We saw it in the first presidential debate. Mitt Romney looked into the camera and told voters, “Neither the president nor I are proposing any changes for any current retirees or near retirees, either to Social Security or Medicare. So if you’re 60 or around 60 or older, you don’t need to listen any further.”

Put aside for a second the veracity of the first part of this statement. The overall implication is disturbing: Older Americans don’t care about policies that affect their children and grandchildren. The Greatest Generation, Romney believes, is actually just out for itself.

[Related: A note to a stiff-necked people: Why you should vote Romney]

The truth is, many of Romney’s proposals would hurt seniors.

Romney has vowed to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That would mean anyone enrolled in Medicare will pay an average of $4,200 more in health-care expenses over the next 10 years. Annual wellness visits would no longer be free. Those who fall into Medicare’s coverage gap for prescription drugs, sometimes called the “doughnut hole,” would lose their 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and would no longer see the gap disappear completely by the end of this decade.

Obamacare ensured that Medicare is fully solvent at least until 2024 by getting rid of $716 billion in waste, fraud and needless spending — including $156 billion in unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies.

Romney, by repealing health-care reform and cutting more than $1 trillion from Medicaid, would deny coverage to approximately 50 million Americans who currently have it, including nursing-home patients, people with disabilities, low-income children and pregnant women.

Those are facts Romney doesn’t want you to know. But here are a few facts he thinks you don’t care about, because they may not affect you directly.

President Obama has nearly doubled funding for Pell Grants. He provided students and families with college tax credits worth up to $10,000 over four years. He invested $2 billion in community colleges. And he capped federal student loan repayment at 10 percent of monthly discretionary income.

Romney, by contrast, has vowed to roll back all of these vital programs intended to give the younger generation a shot at the American dream. Why? Because his priority is more special tax breaks for billionaires and hedge-fund managers.

President Obama has the vision to leave my generation with a better world by starting to address climate change and investing in cleaner, more sustainable forms of energy. Romney’s energy plan is to provide wealthy oil companies even more tax giveaways at our expense.

Obamacare will help many young people get health insurance. Without it we are less likely to seek preventive care or heed early warning signs, which can lead to more severe illness and higher medical bills. If we are younger than 26, we can now remain on our parents’ plan, giving them peace of mind and saving all of us money.

Our community has long been in the forefront of efforts to expand civil rights, passing laws and creating a culture that welcomes people who are unwelcome in other parts of the world. President Obama has fought for equal pay and women’s reproductive rights. He appointed two highly qualified women to the U.S. Supreme Court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. He ended laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians.

But you don’t care about any of that, do you? Romney and Paul Ryan seem to believe that you are ready to sell out your kids and grandkids as long as your needs are taken care of.

I think Romney and Ryan are wrong. They and their fellow Republicans are underestimating the bond that exists across the generations, inside our families. Jewish tradition speaks to this obligation, to teach and care for future generations: l’dor v’dor. I experience it in my own family. 

And when we vote, let’s remember what’s at stake for everyone in our families.


Mik Moore is president of the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER), which launched “Obama on Israel,” a project aimed at presenting information about the president’s record on Israel.

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