The signs have been around for quite a while that Corporate America, Wall Street, and the Investor Class were all going to work together to use the massive Bush deficit as an excuse to cut back and then kill Social Security. Recently Pres Obama joined the killers by first making one of his "we all have to make sacrifices" (except bankers and corporations) speeches about the need to cut "entitlements", then by making a speech identifying the right-wing's mythical GIANT MEDICARE FRAUD! scare tactic as a real threat and promising to spend resources to fight it, and finally by putting together a Presidential Commission on Social Security and naming four well-known anti-SocSec evangelistas to the panel to make recommendations.
Yesterday Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, speaking in banker-friendly Texas, publicly allowed as how the deficit requires the govt to cut back SocSec.
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, warned Wednesday that an aging American population posed fiscal challenges for the United States.
Mr. Bernanke, speaking before the Dallas Regional Chamber, said that the economy was still fragile, and he made it clear that he did not expect the federal government to raise taxes or cut spending anytime soon. But he spoke about the budget pressures posed by Social Security and Medicare with greater urgency than he has in the past.
"The arithmetic is, unfortunately, quite clear," Mr. Bernanke said. "To avoid large and unsustainable budget deficits, the nation will ultimately have to choose among higher taxes, modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, less spending on everything else from education to defense, or some combination of the above. These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off - until the day they cannot be put off any more."
There was, of course, no mention of Clintonesque tax increases on the rich and the corporations who have benefitted enormously from Republican-passed tax loopholes so wide that some 80% of corporations with assets in excess of $10M pay no taxes at all. The rich have had it all their own way practically since Reagan, copping $billions upon billions$ that should have gone into the Treasury. To give you an idea of just how much they've been stealing, when (I should say, if) Obama and the Dems manage to end Bush's subsidy to the rich, which they say they're going to do, that one little change would mean $41Billion more into the Treasury the first year alone. Can you imagine how much Corporate America owes us?
The assumption that Medicare and Social Security have to be cut is based on two assumptions which are equally false. The first is that it is impossible to tax corporate/investor profits any more than they already are, which is specious at best and propaganda at worst. The second is that SocSec and Medicare are the major culprits in creating the massive rise in health care costs. The Congressional Budget Office has a major problem with that assumption.
It isn't true.
The problem isn't demographic, it's systemic. It has to do with the skyrocketing of medical costs in general since it became an investor-driven business intended to generate enormous profits. You want to cut the rising costs of medical care to us seniors - and btw, everybody else - you need to eliminate, or at least minimize, the belief that medicine is a business like any other and subject to enormous profits and investor returns if they can be squeezed from the blood of hapless and trapped consumers.
The most effective way to eliminate the profit motive would be to pass National Health, the kind the rest of the civilized world has. But we've already done some elimination, and it wasn't of the profit motive. What we eliminated was a single-payer, National Health-style public option, which is a little like trying to fix a blown piston by taking the "option" of replacing the piston off the table.
The propaganda campaign has begun, though, and as usual "truth" is the first casualty and will play no part in the war at all if Wall Street and Corporate America have anything to say about it.
And they do. Boy, do they.
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