By Matt Milner
Mariannette Miller-Meeks warned Tuesday that the country faces the risk of "inter-generational warfare" if it fails to address the rising costs borne by young taxpayers.
Miller-Meeks said the United States must recognize that there is a risk of backlash from young workers if they come to the conclusion they pay for the benefits and programs geared toward older Americans but will not have similar benefits after they retire.
Her solution is not to cut existing benefits but to take steps to adjust the situation to prevent the costs from overwhelming the future workforce. That includes stopping the federal government from raiding accounts like the Social Security trust fund for unrelated projects and the possibility of raising the federal retirement age.
"We cannot keep asking more and more of younger people for programs that politicians have guaranteed for older Americans," Miller-Meeks said.
Miller-Meeks stopped in Ottumwa late Tuesday afternoon after a day of campaigning in Iowa's 2nd District. She admits she has been less visible in her hometown during this campaign as compared to 2008 but said a big part of that is due to the fact she's not working this time around.
She said the usual rhetoric that says American retirees are only interested in protecting their government checks is inaccurate. Miller-Meeks thinks those voters are just as interested in seeing their children and grandchildren prosper, which gives them a stake in ensuring their heirs' economic viability.
She called accusations that Republicans will cut programs scare tactics that underestimate voters' ability to think for themselves.
"If people want to do scare tactics, ... that's treating people like children," she said.
Miller-Meeks said the country can save as much as $200 billion by eliminating overlap spending and through attrition as federal workers retire. She believes jobs can be done more efficiently through smart use of technology, which should reduce the need for a massive federal workforce. That provides much of the savings needed to preserve programs while easing the burden on taxpayers can be found in eliminating waste.
This is Miller-Meeks' second challenge to incumbent Democrat Dave Loebsack. She lost the 2008 election in a year that was strong for Democrats.
But this year is shaping up differently. Most observers believe this year's election will be much better for Republicans, and Miller-Meeks said she believes that will put her in office as Iowa's first female elected to Congress.
"The public is so much more engaged now" she said. "Everyone knows that we have an unsustainable deficit and debt."