Obama Tossing Elderly Under Bus! What Say, Progressives?
Joseph Kishore of wsws refers to the latest phase of Democrat/Republican budget skirmishing as a “dog and pony show”. The “big business” parties, Democrat and Republican, are united in ESSENTIALS -- the gutting of two programs, Social Security and Medicare, that have OVERWHELMING SUPPORT OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION.
We citizens are overwhelmingly supportive of these two programs. Whether we vote Democratic or Republican or third party or independent. The overwhelming majority of us DON’T WANT THEM TOUCHED!!!
Shouldn’t that have some determinative impact on our REPRESENTATIVES in Congress and our President?
Maybe in a democracy -- or more accurately, a constitutional republic.
Do you know who doesn’t want the Medicare program, established in 1965, and the Social Security program, established in 1935 to exist? The TINY BUT MIGHTY ONE-PERCENT that has captured/bought so many of our Congresspeople and our President, Kishore declares. (One percenters like those insurance company executives who like to pay themselves $9,000 AN HOUR!)
Kishore puts it bluntly and bitterly:
The corporate and financial elite that runs the United States has long complained of the “unreasonable” sums of money spent on preserving the health and well-being of the elderly. In the minds of the Wall Street speculators and corporate executives that control both political parties, broad sections of the population simply live too long.
The Obama administration’s budget released on Wednesday is a historic milestone. The Democratic Party administration is taking direct aim at the two core federal social programs established in the United States in the 20th Century, Social Security and Medicare.
The consequences of Obama’s proposals are not hard to predict: millions more people, particularly the elderly, will be thrown into poverty or be cut off from life-preserving medical care.
This is how Kishore does the math on the draconian cuts to both programs:
While the administration and the corporate media have sought to downplay the significance of the attack, the cuts proposed are a significant step in dismantling the programs altogether. The $400 billion in Medicare cuts, when combined with the $500 billion already included as part of the administration’s health care overhaul, add up to 13 percent of total spending on the program over the next decade.
As for Social Security, by modifying the way the government calculates inflation, the program will be cut by $130 billion. According to one analysis, for a worker retiring at the age of 65, this will amount to a loss of $650 a year in benefits by the time the worker reaches 75, and a loss of $1,130 by the time he reaches 85. About 70 percent of seniors depend on the already meager benefits for at least half of their income, with 40 percent depending on it to keep them above the poverty line.
There exists something called the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives which, according to wikipedia, has SEVENTY-ONE MEMBERS. There is a letter to President Obama now being circulated among this Caucus that two of its members, Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano, initiated. It contains a PLEDGE to “vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”
As of April 10, 2013 FORTY-SEVEN of the seventy-one members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have NOT taken this pledge. Twenty-four progressives in the caucus are acting like REAL progressives. Forty-seven seem willing to join President Obama in throwing the elderly and infirm under the proverbial bus.
Those forty-seven FAUX-progressives are willing to vote against the WILL OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICANS.
Norman Solomon has provided a list of these forty-seven faux-progressives. I discovered my own Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, on it and intend to contact her office immediately and express MY ANGER AND FRUSTRATION that she is willing to cut Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare AND DEMAND THAT SHE SIGN THE LETTER AND MAKE THE PLEDGE!
Is your Congressperson on this list? If he or she is, he or she is a big, fat HYPOCRIT!!! These so-called progressives love to score sound-bites popping off about those mean and nasty obstructionist Republicans (no argument here) but when it comes to walking the walk themselves? THEY WOULD PREFER NOT TO!
As of 4-10-13, THE PLEDGE-LESS ones of the Congressional Progressive Caucus re Social Security and Medicare (as well as Medicaid):
William “Lacy” Clay [NOW PLEDGED]
Emanuel Cleaver [NOW PLEDGED]
David Cicilline [NOW PLEDGED]
Danny Davis [NOW PLEDGED]
Michael Honda [NOW PLEDGED]
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Joe Kennedy III
Ann McLane Kuster
Ben Ray Lujan
Carolyn Maloney [NOW PLEDGED]
Ed Markey [NOW PLEDGED]
Eleanor Holmes Norton
William Greider in “Will Voters Forgive Obama for Cutting Social Security? (No. And They Shouldn't.)” has some enlightening points to make on what he calls “the elaborate and confusing charade of deficit politics.” Greider is betting that the senators and representatives in the long run will not be willing to “swallow some of the big lies in order to vote for cutting Social Security.”
I disagree. I think there is no limit to the size of said lies said senators and representatives will shamelessly swallow. Nonetheless, I appreciate Greider’s arguments as to why cutting Social Security would be a COLOSSAL injustice. Greider:
First, of course, the cost-of-living gimmicks Obama has proposed will not shave a penny off the federal deficits or debt. That is because the Social Security benefits are not paid by the federal budget. They are drawn from the Social Security Trust Fund—the money paid in by working people every payday. People know this is their money, not some government handout.
So who gets tell the folks that their FiCA deductions were a joke—only an accounting fiction? The financial problems facing Social Security are easily fixed (as Obama himself has said) and are actually 30 years away. When the Congressional Budget Office is required to “score” Obama’s so-called cost-of-living reform, it will be compelled to announce that whacking the old folks contributes not a penny to reducing the federal government’s deficits.
In fact, there is an even bigger lie concealed by the fiscal scolds and ignored by witless media, too. Again and again, self-righteous critics have portrayed Social Security as the profligate monster borrowing from the Treasury and sucking the life out of federal government.
Guess what? It's the other way around. The federal government borrows from Social Security. The Treasury has been borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund for 30 years, and the debt to Social Security beneficiaries now totals nearly $3 trillion. The day is approaching when that money will be needed for its original purpose: paying Social Security benefits to the working people who contributed to the fund.
That is the real crisis that makes the financial barons and their media collaborators so anxious to cut Social Security benefits. They would like to get out of repaying the debt—that is, giving the money back to the people who earned it.
The only way to do this is cut the benefits—over and over again. Count on it. If the president and Congress succeed in this malicious scheme, they will come back again and again to cut more and more. If the politicians join this sordid conspiracy, voters should come after them with pitchforks and torches.
Greider, once again, declares: "If the politicians join this sordid conspiracy, voters should come after them with pitchforks and torches."
Are we really going to passively wait for them to SELL US OUT ONE MORE TIME? Maybe then go for the pitchforks and torches. What, those ones made of styrofoam?
Are we really going to passively watch them once again represent the one-percenters who are willing to doom the elderly and the infirm to premature deaths? S-O-C-I-O-P-A-T-H-Y. Profits uber alles. Even human life.
The President and those forty-seven members of the supposedly Congressional Progressive Caucus will be betraying the vast majority of us citizens. WE DO NOT WANT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE TOUCHED!!! We don't, do we? Are we really going to let them stand on the sham of “lesser evilism” on this one? On these two? Or three? Or a helluva lot more?
President Obama campaigned on “change we can believe in”! Is cutting our Medicare and Social Security change we can believe in?
NO WAY, NO HOW!!!!
High time to exit our “boiled frog-dom” and say a RESOUNDING “GET YOUR FRIGGIN’ HANDS OFF OUR SOCIAL SECURITY AND OUR MEDICARE!!!!”
Please give your Congresspeople a call to demand that Social Security and Medicare BE PROTECTED!! Two toll-free numbers to the Congressional switchboard. 1-866-338-1015, 1-877-210-5351.
“I pledge that I will support a primary challenge to any Representative or Senator who supports cutting Social Security and veterans benefits by imposing the "chained CPI" cut.”
To be delivered to: The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama
[cross-posted on open salon]