Guest Editorial: Social Security and Medicare


As I campaign throughout New York’s 23rd District, voters consistently ask me “Will Social Security be there for me and my children?” Social Security ensures our seniors a dignified old age, helps young widows and widowers raise their children in security and frees disabled workers from a lifetime of poverty. This Congress rammed through $1.9 trillion in unsustainable and reckless tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans—and, as a result, the programs hardworking individuals and families rely on the most are being attacked.

To pay for these cuts, House Speaker Paul Ryan and most Republicans in Congress, including Congressman Tom Reed, are pushing what they call “entitlement reform.” This is Washington talk to cover up what they’re really doing: slashing social programs that hard-working Americans have spent their lives paying into.

It is imperative that we protect and preserve Social Security. The program plays an outsized role in the economy of our region – 165,918 of our neighbors and friends rely on their monthly checks to pay their bills. 118,850 are retirees over 65, and another 26,363 are disabled workers. I am deeply concerned about these numbers; under the proposed plan to balance the federal budget, Medicare funding would be reduced by $537 billion over the next ten years, when many people who are currently paying into the system will still need the funding.

I am committed to expanding Social Security and Medicare programs and maintaining our promise we have made to our senior citizens, working families, and children. I support raising the earnings cap on the Social Security tax so that people can invest more into their retirement. In 2018, the cap was $128,400, which meant that an individual who received a higher income did not pay any Social Security tax on those additional earnings. I also support an expansion of Medicare through the lowering of the age of eligibility, so that more Americans who are in need of health care are able to receive coverage.
Reed has repeatedly told voters that he is a trusted supporter of Social Security. However, as is typically the case with Washington insiders like Reed, his word cannot be taken at face value. He refused to work across the aisle to co-sponsor a bill that both Democratic and Republican representatives agree is crucial to advancing Social Security benefits.

185 Congressional representatives, including 56 Republicans, have signed on to sponsor the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 which will allow government employees such as firefighters, police officers, and teachers covered by other pension programs to receive increased social security credit for years they worked at other jobs. Reed has not joined other upstate New York Republican colleagues including John Katko, Elise Stefanik, and John Faso, to co-sponsor the bill which languishes in the Ways and Means Committee on which Mr. Reed serves.

Guaranteeing the ongoing health of Social Security and Medicare will take energy, commitment, and a truly bipartisan effort. If elected, I will be committed in preserving Social Security and Medicare for the hardworking men and women of the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes and Western New York. I will truly reach across the aisle and do the hard work to preserve Social Security and Medicare for our seniors and the adults who are now paying into these programs for their futures.

Tracy Mitrano


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