19 July 2010

Seniors Beware: You Did Not Cause The Deficit!

Fiscal Commissioners Demonize Senior Programs

Despite the obvious and readily verifiable proof that our current budgetary deficit is the direct result of George W. Bush's tax breaks for wealthy individuals and greedy, unregulated, international corporations; two wars of invasion and occupation fought on the national credit card; and a near bottomless chasm of recession and unemployment with diminished real earnings and property and 401k values, America's seniors, its disabled, its widows and its orphans are being targeted as helping cause the deficit.

Recently, the co-chairmen of President Obama's Fiscal Study Commission, while calling the current budget deficit a "cancer" that will destroy America from within, (damn, sounds almost McCarthyesque doesn't it--The Enemy Within) unless Washington takes tough action.

The two leaders of the fiscal commission issued their ominous forecast singled out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as "consuming" more than their share of revenue.  Well there are liars and god-damned liars, I'll leave it to you to decide which category fits Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles the two co-chairs of the commission.  But, without any doubt, each is some sort of liar.

Social Security does not "consume" revenue!  Each of these men know this.  Social Security is funded by contributions from workers and their employers and has somewhere around a trillion dollars "in reserve".  That is fact, and to suggest otherwise is a bald-faced lie and an attempt by both politicians to launch an inter-generational war by suggesting that Social Security is a tax burden for future generations.  It is not!  And that suggestion, is within itself another lie!

They are floating other "trial balloons", hinting that Social Security should be "privatized" and handed over to Wall Street thieves and mendicants.  The very same hellish fiends that gave us the current recession, unemployment, bail-outs, derivatives, and the swap markets.  Right!  Just the very people we could trust to make things wonderful.

Another of their ploys is to suggest that increasing the retirement age to 70 would "save" Social Security and reduce the deficit----and watch their hands closely enough and you'll see which shell hides the pea!  Or, and I like this one, phase out or end the Cost of Living Adjustments....there's the pea, there's the pea!

Alright, I will concede that unless something is done, in a decade or two, the Social Security Trust Fund will face some challenges.  But, clearly, and oh so simply and so utterly fairly, the answer to that is raise the cap on earnings.  Did you know that as it is right now billionaires such as Bill Gates pay no more into Social Security than some average Joe or Jane making around $120-thousand a year.  Hardly seems right does it?

The Center for Economic and Political Research (CEPR) has released an in-depth analysis that shows that if the draconian measures suggest by Simpson and Bowles were adopted the effect on low and middle-income families would be devastating. You can find it HERE.

The truth is that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have helped generations of deserving Americans to stay healthy and out of poverty and to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of older people, widows, orphans, and the disabled is heinous.  And when that notion is based on lies, it rises to the level of a crime against humanity!

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