Retirees will pay higher healthcare premiums and co-pays. Overall benefits will be cut. Promises made were broken. Neoliberal harshness targets them like other Americans. Even wounded and disabled vets increasingly are on their own.
"Broadening the tax base" is code language for major code revisions coming. Ordinary people will be hit hardest.
Expect mortgage deduction caps, state and local tax deduction limits, less allowed for charitable and medical insurance deductions, lower education credits, raising the Social Security retirement age to 67 or higher, and other ways to squeeze America's middle class and least advantaged.
Obama and Boehner feign negotiations. They're on board in principle. Public two-stepping is deceptive. Deal parameters and terms were agreed on long ago.
Corporate bosses are on board. Obama's been meeting with them multiple times weekly. Tax relief, greater handouts, and other incentives bought their support. What they back becomes policy.
Key bosses matter most. They're lobbying Congress for Obama. Heavy lifting is done. Final details await announcement. Most planned cuts are backloaded. They'll begin in 2014 or 2015. Others will kick in later.
December 31/January 1 are fictitious deadlines. Cuts can come any time. They can be made retroactive to yearend.
March 27, 2013 is a real deadline. America runs out of money when its debt ceiling is reached. US law requires Congress authorize borrowing limits to fund federal programs.
Doing it means raising the ceiling by late March or sooner. Expect agreement in principle by yearend. Details come later. Two-stepping continues.
Media scoundrels provide background music. Corporate approval sealed a done deal. Neither side of the isle dares disagree.
Campaign contributions depend on going along. Money talks. In Washington it buys influence. It demands consigning America's social contract to history's trash bin.
Middle class and disadvantaged households are increasingly on their own. Harder than ever hard times await them.
A Final Comment
In 2009, the Nobel Committee continued its long/inglorious tradition. Another war criminal got its peace prize.
Obama followed Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres, Yitkak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, three other US warrior presidents, and other candidates deserving harsh condemnation.
On December 19, Time magazine added another award. Obama became its person of the year for the second time. It called him "both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America."