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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/18/13

How Extreme Is the Business Roundtable? Check Out Its Attack on the Elderly

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Problem identified: There are just too many old people.

Loveman repeats the often-disproven canard that these programs are fiscally unsound because they "were put in place in a very different demographic reality."

Social Security's finances were successfully balanced in 1983, when the last Baby Boomer had already reached maturity. And longevity hasn't changed significantly or unexpectedly for people who reach retirement age.

Social Security's in much better fiscal shape than most corporate benefit plans, and any long-term problems it may have are driven by a) greater wealth inequity than even the most conservative economists could have imagined in 1983; and b) massive unemployment brought on by Wall Street greed.

Medicare's Most Wanted

As for Medicare, its cost problems are caused by for-profit health companies inflating medical costs. Think the Business Roundtable will mention that? Its members include the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, Abbott Laboratories, the Tenet hospital system, Cardinal Health, ExpressScripts, CVS/Caremark, and WellPoint.

Like hell it will.

Our long-term deficits are driven by America's runaway health-care costs, which in turn are driven by our profit-driven system. It's barely an exaggeration to say that if some of these companies and their competitors didn't exist the Federal government might not have a deficit problem at all.

The poor you will always have with you ...

Like the other anti-Social Security and anti-Medicare "pragmatists," Loveman insists that cuts would be designed to protect people from falling into poverty. But 8.9 percent of American seniors already live in poverty, while 5.4 percent live in near poverty.

The average Social Security recipient collects $1,164 per month.

Anyone who claims they can cut those benefits by three percent -- and use those meager benefits to end elder poverty -- is selling snake oil.

But think of the children ...

Loveman also said of the Roundtable's proposed benefit cuts: "These don't affect current beneficiaries much, if at all. They have a long time to take effect ..."

Ok, let's modify our hypothetical situation a little: The extremists don't want to confiscate rich people's property. They want to confiscate their kids' property. If that sounds a little Stalinist to you, that's because it is.

And by "not affecting current beneficiaries much," he means it would affect current beneficiaries -- starting next year.

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