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Bentivolio, Taj Talk Medicare, Health Care, Social Security at Fox Run in Novi

The retirement community's Political Awareness Committee organized Thursday's 11th Congressional District candidate forum.

The two candidates who will face off in November for the 11th Congressional District seat met on a stage in Novi Thursday, speaking to seniors at Fox Run about Medicare, Social Security, taxes and health care. 

While Kerry Bentivolio, a Republican from Milford, and Canton Township Democrat Dr. Syed Taj found a little common ground in their mutual desire to preserve Social Security, their positions on most issues were starkly different. But the point of the event, organizers said, was to make sure the retirement community's residents know what those positions are. 

Members of Fox Run's Resident Advisory Council, which works with administration and residents, recently formed a Political Awareness Committee because "it was important for our residents to be aware of what's going on," said committee member Peg Quigley. There will be another forum on ballot issues, and residents also hope to draw U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and her opponent Republican Pete Hoekstra, she said.

Sam Ray, who is also an advisory council member, went into the event supporting Taj, but said he felt both speakers were very well prepared and answered residents' questions on Social Security, Medicare and taxes. "These are the things residents here are most concerned about," Ray said. 

Resident Twila Nissley found herself disappointed at the end of the forum, which ran for more than an hour and was followed by a meet-and-greet with the candidates. She said while the candidates talked about issues, "they didn't tell us what they're going to do when they get (into office). They're not telling us that." 

Here are a few of the candidate responses to questions seniors posed; the full debate will air on Novi's city channel 13 (Bright House) beginning Sept. 9:

Cuts to Social Security

Taj: There will be no cuts to Social Security as far as I am concerned. I also do not agree with increasing the age of eligibility. I know the body does not function the way it does when we are younger ... You can increase the ceiling (the income cap on eligibility). The ceiling has not been changed since the 1990s. 

Bentivolio: I believe in preserving and protecting Social Security. As far as I'm concerned, you made a contract ... you pay into it and you collect at age 62. But Social Security is going to be a bust is we don't fix it for people 55 and younger. It's time to make a new contract, and give them an opportunity to invest, while preserving the agreement we have with people now.

Grover Norquist "no new taxes" pledge

(According to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform website, signers agree "to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business;" and "to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.")

Bentivolio: I signed that pledge with Grover ... He keeps a close eye on us for that. If you get out of line, you'll get a call real quick. The Republican Party and I believe the money is better in your hands.

Taj: How do you run a government without revenue? I pledge that I will never raise taxes for middle class and poor people, but people who make over $1 million ... I am not your friend. I will raise taxes. 

Congressional gridlock

Taj: People elect us not to go keep fighting about ideology. To be successful, you have to learn to compromise, that's the message I'm taking from Canton Township. I was one Democrat among seven (township trustees). They could have sidelined me, but they did not. (Taj earlier explained that he worked with Republicans in a bi-partisan manner.) 

Bentivolio: Compromise is very important, but there are a couple of things I won't compromise on, and that's my grandchildren's future ... There is a $1.5 trillion debt. Who's going to pay for that? My grandchildren. Our former Congressman voted for a study of cats in Africa, and not the big cats. You're not going to see that from me.

Medicare vouchers

Taj: Voucher program is not going to work ... The best insurance company is the government insurance company. The reason is, they're a not for profit organization, their cost is about 1.3 to 1.8 percent, whereas a multination corporations, they make 60 to 65 percent. If you go out and buy your insurance in the private market ... you won't have money to buy it, which means you are going to suffer.

Bentivolio: The (Republican) plan that I support would leave your benefits unchanged and would leave benefits unchanged for anyone 55 or older. Syed Taj, on the other hand, supports Obamacare, which will cut $700 billion from Medicare, that's $70 billion a year ... and instead, they've decided to have these panels to determine what kind of medical care you're going to get. 

Taj: It's not from the benefits to the people who are enrollees. The money came from the pharmaceutical industry, from the lobby companies, from the hospitals... This money is going to put in for having prescription benefit drug coverage ... and also, it's going into preventative care. 

Bentivolio: They're going to lower the cost of what they pay doctors. If a doctor isn't making enough money, why would he even take care of anybody on Medicare? That's where the money's coming from. And $70 billion is going to be cut, read the plan, per year from Medicare and go to Obamacare.

Nurse Ratchet September 11, 2012 at 02:28 AM
VETERANS BEWARE...Ryan has cut VA benefits and the Senate has voted it through. Republican desperately need their Congressional candidates to win in order for them to pass this bill in the House, They only need a hand full of seats. Altschuler is the key link. Read the NY Times today. Take your time, it's a bit complicated, which is what Romney and Ryan hoped for, so us veterans wouldn't be able to understand it. It comes down to one thing and one thing only: Both Romney and Ryan must tell the truth to veterans "There are NO CUTS in the Ryan Budget to VA benefits" or they're lying to us. The NYTimes and Congressional Budget Office make it clear...HUGE CUTS have been made. Read the article: http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/edsall-the-ryan-sinkhole/?nl=opinion&emc=edit_ty_20120910 Let Romney and Ryan deny it. We HAVE read the article all the way through and it was the Romney Campaign that has sent a mumbo-jumbo of non-denial denials.
Barry Dingles September 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Unfortunately, the Federal Govt has already violated that contract decades ago by funneling SS payments into the general spending cycle and leaving a nice little IOU in its place. As somebody who has a couple more decades before I can dream of not working, I fully understand the contract is already null and void. I want out, I want to keep MY MONEY to use for my own control in saving and investing for my future. As McCann does not seem to grasp, if the system is not changed soon, nobody will get any benifits becasue the entire system will be bankrupt. Most dont realize that both SS and Medicare funds have been spending more than they have been taking in as revenue for the past few years. The demographic and revenue tide has already turned, the system is already showing that it is bankrupt, unsustainable, and those programs alone now account for 2/3 of all Federal real revenues, not including defense, roads, schools, any of the endless alphabet agencies like DEA, FBI, NSA, EPA, HUD, ect ect. The lst 1/3 of real revenue is already eaten up by INTEREST payments on the existing debt. Just wait as debt continues to increas at 1.3 Trillion plus each year and the artificially suppressed interest rates rise, Real Federal Revenue will be halved, just to make the minimum interest payment on the fedearl Credit card taken out in our childrens and grand childrens names. Is that the legacy you wish to leave?
Christa DiNapoli September 11, 2012 at 06:03 PM
What President Obama actually did (in March 2012) was issue an update to an Executive Order that was first signed in 1939 and has been amended many times by presidents of both parties. His update basically reflects the changes in cabinet structure (i.e., the addition of the Dept. of Homeland Security and changes to FEMA's responsibilities). Tater, try checking your facts before fearmongering. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/ndrp.asp
V. Scheurich September 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Taj will be just another "tool" for Barack Obama and his policies that have failed America and this is the problem: Obama condemns Romney before.................condemning terrorists! When will Barack Obama's "Apology Tour" begin for Libya's killing of 4 Americans? http://weaselzippers.us/2012/09/12/obama-campaign-condemns-romney-before-condemning-terrorists-who-attacked-our-embassies/
Wei Li September 28, 2012 at 07:57 PM
All of this partisan bickering is missing the point. A shadow government of elite banksters and corporatists have seized control of the US and other nations. Using fiat currency and fractional reserve banking, they stealthily transfer the wealth (excess productivity) of the masses to members of an oligarchy. Using paper/digital money just imagined into existence, they own politics, the mass media, and we the little people. The elite are very evil power-crazed people with no regard for the welfare of other humans. They do not need more money, but can never get enough power. Mankind is being managed like a for-profit livestock operation and they are keeping most people too ignorant or distracted to notice. See House of Rothschild, Congressman Louis T. McFadden, Norman Dodd, Charlotte Iserbyt, The Creature from Jekyll Island (The Fed). Just ask yourself, who gets bailed out and who does not get prosecuted? Banksters - at the top, names seldom seen. Thomas Jefferson - “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” People like Kerry Bentvolio in Congress will at least piss them off. Taj would just accelerate the enslavement.

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