Yesterday, in acts of cowardice and cynical capitulation to the vocal 35% of the country yammering about "entitlements" and the federal deficit, the United States Senate and House conspired to vote to continue funding our country's wars of invasion and occupation to the tune of $60-billion while cutting $24-billion for things such as Cobra, unemployment benefits extensions, and other state aid programs! In effect, the unemployed are being forced to ante up money they don't have to cover nearly half the ongoing cost of two wars behind fought on the national credit card. So much for fiscal responsibility!
It should be as clear as one of Ella Fitzgerald's high notes, that neither house nor either party gives a pile of hammered rat dung about working families, the poor, the unemployed, or older Americans. And, as part of the backroom deals cut by the Obama administration to push through the "watered-down" health care reform legislation we have been burdened with the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Clearly, it is up to you and me to preserve Social Security and Medicare for out children and grandchildren.
It must be noted right now that last winter, when certain budget hawks and deficit desperadoes in the Senate attempted to create a similar commission it was voted down due to pressure, in no small part, by grassroots activists and groups such as The Alliance for Retired Americans. In order to get health care, the president ignored the will of the people and yielded to the demands of Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats and created this "Fiscal Commission" despite seeing its sound defeat in the legislative process.
Disturbingly, the Commission contains numerous outspoken enemies of Social Security and Medicare. Equally alarming is the fact that it is these commission members who will be voting on the final recommendations to be sent to Congress for an up or down vote. Six panel members have a only a 6.5 percent out of 100% lifetime rating on the Alliance's Voting Record which measures how Senators and Representatives vote on legislation most affecting older Americans and their families. This certainly augers the likelihood that they will spew out proposals to to cut Social Security and Medicare.
We've written before of co-chairman, Alan Simpson's, pejoratives describing older people as "Lexus driving, Latte drinking, greedy-geezers living in gated communities". He also was a key supporter of Bush's abortive attempts to privatize Social Security in 2005 that, if enacted, would by now have lost 20% in value.
Make no mistake and harbor no illusions, we are in a state of war to protect and preserve these essential social safety-net programs. And as with most wars, there is more than a single front.
Former Richard Nixon crony, billionaire Peter G. Peterson, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are throwing all the forces they can muster against Social Security and Medicare. Peterson has stretched and disjointed himself like Marvel Comic's Plastic Man in devising and conjuring schemes to take away people's Medicare and Social Security protections in the name of "fiscal responsibility". He "bankrolled" the one-sided film "I.O.U.S.A., which depicts, a nation in the throes of a financial crises that can only be addressed through substantial cuts in so-called "entitlement" programs, including Social Security and Medicare.
So why would this billionaire and former top honcho of the now disgraced and defunct Lehman Brothers focus so much spleen and ill-will on Social Security? I suspect that it because the uber-wealthy, similar to religious fundamentalist who exist in a state of unending horror that someone somewhere is enjoying life, live in continued and utter dread that working people, the elderly, the disabled, and those locked in perpetual poverty will someday, somehow catch an even break!
Next Week: We name the names and share the backgrounds, and suggest how you can fight back!