I was recruited to work in Salt Lake City in the late 1980s and lived among you for 27 years. I have a great affinity for Utah (miss the mountains and many friends) and my daughter still lives in the Wasatch Front.

There is much to admire about some of Mitt Romney’s actions and demeanor as a senator from Utah. Of course, the bar doesn’t have to be very high at all when being compared to the current crop of Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

To the dismay of many Americans, Romney is taking the lead to slash Social Security and Medicare in a closed door maneuver attached and leveraged to COVID-19 aid.

Romney has wanted to cut our earned benefits consistently in his political career and called for the privatization of Social Security some years ago. He seemingly does not understand that Social Security is not an entitlement but a fund totally created by the labor of workers.

To link the gutting Social Security and Medicare in a secretive maneuver is both opportunistic and another blow to American seniors already betrayed by the Republican leadership’s colossal mishandling of the pandemic.

Most Americans over the age 65 receive the majority of their income from Social Security. It lifts 15 million elderly out of poverty, as reported by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The ploy by Romney and his cronies is called by an Orwellian name — the TRUST Act. The platform is that, because COVID-19 relief has added to the national deficit the TRUST Act will “rein in the national debt.” Changes from the TRUST Act would be fast-tracked upon completion and face an up-or-down vote in the Senate. The Republicans will mechanically approve.

The fact is that Social Security adds not a penny to the debt and that Medicare is far more cost-effective than private insurance. Studiously non-partisan, the AARP has condemned this slight-of-hand hocus-pocus in the next pandemic relief package.

When contacted, the senator and his staff may respond with pious platitudes about helping Social Security and Medicare. How can this be true if the “solutions” must be devised behind closed doors?

We don’t need secretive meddling that is not in plain sight and published in The Congressional Record. Last I looked we were a democracy, where the creation of laws in Congress are to be transparent.

I urge you as one of Senator Romney’s constituents to contact him via his website or phone: Salt Lake City Office: 801-524-4380, or St George Office: 435-522-7100. Request he withdraw from this effort to dismantle Social Security and Medicare in the current national crisis, a crisis caused primarily by his fellow Republicans.

But if his pet crusade of meddling with Social Security and Medicare go forward, demand that it see sunlight in the Senate Chamber for all interested Americans.

Jim Aalen

Jim Aalen, Louisville, Ky., was recruited to Utah by a leading advertising and marketing agency as an expert in media, marketing strategy and marketing research. While in the Beehive State he was active in pro bono work for The Utah Opera, The Salt Lake Acting Company, The Days of ’47 Rodeo and The Utah Shakespeare Festival. His Wife, Lyn, taught at Salt Lake Community College and, for 20 years, in the Granite School District.