The nation’s labor force, more than 100 million workers, has endured a decline in wages and income since the mid-1970s. On top of that, they may be robbed of their past wages as well.

American workers agreed to forgo a portion of their wages by paying into Social Security and Medicare, with the assurance they would collect that money when they retired.

Conservative ideologues misrepresent these deferred wages as “entitlements” in a deceitful attempt to rationalize the privatization, theft and dismantling of Social Security and Medicare.

Compounding the deception that turns deferred wages into “entitlements,” they add the false claim that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are the reason for the budget deficits and national debt. This fabrication then is fused with the egregious lie that Social Security and Medicare must be cut because they are insolvent and won’t survive for future generations unless benefits are reduced.

At best, this tall tale is nonsense on stilts. At worst, it is a lie in the service of a criminal cabal that some call the 1 percent, the elite few whose interest the state serves.

This is not a conspiracy theory. The architects of this scam boast publicly about their unprincipled aims. As recently as November, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., bragged to a Financial Times interviewer that he was “looking forward” to subverting Medicare by privatizing it “next year.” This tea party economic hitman is full of himself, but accomplices on both sides of the aisle help explain his arrogance.

Conservatives in both parties have marked the working class majority as patsies. They are almost coming unglued as they see the great wealth workers have invested as being within their underhanded reach. What’s ours is theirs, or so they think. They will rob us if we let them.

Christopher McKinnon, Augusta