Congress and Medicare by Martin Hoke

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Congress and Medicare by Martin Hoke



August 1, 1996

Mr. HOKE. Mr. Speaker, there is an old trick to hawking snake oil. First raise the fear. Then sell to it. That is exactly what the big- union, Washington-based labor bosses are trying to do with their latest advertising campaign of fear and blatant disinformation.

You have possibly seen some of these ads on television. The latest is a real whopper, claiming that Congress is out to kill Medicare. Of course, exactly the opposite is true.

In fact, Congress is trying to save Medicare from impending bankruptcy by increasing spending at a slower rate than before. This is also what the President has proposed. So instead of Medicare spending going up 10 percent a year, the President and Congress propose that it go up about 7.5 percent.

So how can the Washington-based labor bosses get away with this blatantly false advertising? Well, they can not everywhere. Stations around the country, including some in Cleveland, have refused to run these Medicare ads because they are factually incorrect and misleading. In one on-air story, a TV station in Maine called this latest ad by the Washington labor bosses, ``a callous and flagrant attempt to play upon the fears of senior Americans. Closer to home, a recent attack ad paid for by AFL-CIO members' dues was so bad that even Cleveland AFL- CIO general secretary Dick Acton admitted that it, ``technically might be in error.

That the Washington labor bosses are flat-out lying about the issues is bad enough. What makes it even more about the issues is bad enough. What makes it even more outrageous is that they are using the forced dues of their hard-working members to pay for it. Washington's labor bosses have pledged to spend $500,000 this specifically to defeat me. That effort is being financed by a 36 percent hike in members' political dues. Yet on the vast majority of issues rank-and-rifle members do not agree with the positions of their out-of-touch bosses in Washington.

The union men and women I speak with overwhelming support time limits and work requirements for welfare recipients and tax relief for working families. They want term limits and a balanced budget. The Washington labor bosses oppose every one of those positions.

Perhaps even more telling is that 44 percent of union members consider themselves to be conservative, yet almost 100 percent of their involuntary political contributions go to Democrats. As a result you can understand why so many union members are rightly embarrassed

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and angry that their forced dues are being used to finance political campaigns they do not support.

It is sad that Washington's labor bosses care more about their own power then they do about the truth or the views of their members. They benefited enormously from the growing Federal Government under the old majority. And they are not about to sit idly by as the power that was once theirs is returned to its rightful owners, the people.

If we allow fear to triumph, we can just wave goodbye to a balanced budget, middle-class tax relief, and welfare reform, and say hello to higher taxes and more debt on the backs of our children.

It is up to the American people. Will it be snake oil and fear, or truth and courage?


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).