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The Fascists Are Coming for Your Social Security and Medicare

By       Message Thom Hartmann       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   13 comments

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The billionaire fascists are coming for your Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And they're openly bragging about it.

Right after Trump's election, back in December of 2016, Newt Gingrich openly bragged at the Heritage Foundation that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress were going to "break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model." That "model," of course, created what we today refer to as "the middle class."

This week Mitch McConnell confirmed Gingrich's prophecy, using the huge deficits created by Trump's billionaire tax cuts as an excuse to destroy "entitlement" programs.

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"I think it would be safe to say that the single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue, and it's a shame, because now the Democrats are promising Medicare for All," McConnell told Bloomberg. He added, "[W]e're talking about Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid."

These programs, along with free public education and progressive taxation, are the core drivers and maintainers of the American middle class. History shows that without a strong middle class, democracy itself collapses, and fascism is the next step down a long and terrible road.

Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been working overtime to kneecap institutions that support the American middle class. And, as any working-class family can tell you, the GOP has had some substantial successes, particularly in shifting both income and political power away from voters and toward billionaires and transnational corporations.

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In July of 2015, discussing SCOTUS's 5 to 4 conservative vote on Citizens United, President Jimmy Carter told me: "It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery..." He added: "[W]e've just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors..."

As Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page demonstrated in an exhaustive analysis of the difference between what most Americans want their politicians to do legislatively, versus what American politicians actually do, it's pretty clear that President Carter was right.

They found that while the legislative priorities of the top 10 percent of Americans are consistently made into law, things the bottom 90 percent want are ignored. In other words, today in America, democracy only "works" for the top 10 percent of Americans.

For thousands of years, economists and economic observers from Aristotle to Adam Smith to Thomas Piketty have told us that a "middle class" is not a normal byproduct of raw, unregulated capitalism -- what right-wing ideologues call "the free market."

Instead, unregulated markets -- particularly markets not regulated by significant taxation on predatory incomes -- invariably lead to the opposite of a healthy middle class: they produce extremes of inequality, which are as dangerous to democracy as cancer is to a living being.

With so-called "unregulated free markets," the rich become super-rich, while grinding poverty spreads among working people like a heroin epidemic. This further polarizes the nation, both economically and politically, which, perversely, further cements the power of the oligarchs.

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While there's a clear moral dimension to this -- pointed out by Adam Smith in his classic Theory of Moral Sentiments -- there's also a vital political dimension.

Smith noted, in 1759, that, "All constitutions of government are valued only in proportion as they tend to promote the happiness of those who live under them. This is their sole use and end."

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

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11 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments


Thomas Brown

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Fantastic article. I hope someone picks this line of rhetoric up. Its truth is vicid. Why dont we talk more forccibly on these awful hape ings using this language. Jimmy Carter has said we have compted the evolution and are now an oligarchy. We have als turned the fin al corner in the lasr 2 years and are into the rehl of being a facist nation. I know im my 68yearsI've not fet more uncertain and depreased about the prospects for .y grandson living in a truly free and happy country.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 4:25:45 PM

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Charles Homer

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Here is an article that looks at how high the cost of perpetual war is to the U.S. economy:

click here

The spending of nearly trillions of dollars on war has meant that Washington has less to spend on key issues such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 4:46:01 PM

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George W.Reichel

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Exactly as Sanders predicted

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 5:04:36 PM

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BFalcon

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Of course.

Stealing benefits after borrowing all the money that working people contributed in dedicated taxes for those benefits and funding all the military and other favorites for years.

Republicans, criminals as usual.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 6:12:27 PM

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Burl Hall

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What are we to do? We've allowed these people to rule our lives. The corporate class has taken us over. They have ruined and are ruining not only us, but future generations. And we allowed it.


But, who cares?


Is this the reason television and other medias put out B.S. in their destruction of people that question? We, the normal Joe and Jane, are of the Cinderella Class. Oh, we just fall to the knees to that wicked Step-Mother and her upscale daughters (e.g., Trump). "Step Mother means not real mother, sit on that for a while regarding our world."


My only qualm is for Cinderella (the normal Joe and Jane) not to go unconscious. She and He needs no savior man/woman who awakens her-him through a kiss. Thus, at this level, the story does not help us. WE just need to realize our Cinderella mindset and say, "no more!."


Meanwhile, it is the corporations, the Trumps, Hitlers, etc. that are the metaphors for the corporations.


So, what do we do? What shall WE create? What would that look like? Can we do it without arms? I hope so, for arms will probably foster the "same sh**, different day." We can't continue going about in a "merry go round."


No more Trumps', Napoleans, Hitlers, you can name others, I am sure. Our conditioning to these criminals help to foster what we have tday.


Can you and we foster a new world? Then lets do it. We are the cells to that new world. We are it via our creativity, love and passions.


Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 7:01:35 PM

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Jill Herendeen

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Sadly, voting in record numbers won't do any good UNLESS the voters get to count the votes for themselves...which, interestingly, nobody seems to want to allow. We're not even allowed to have independent exit polls anymore...

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 7:21:56 PM

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John Lawrence RĂ©

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Ending the war economy and transitioning to a peacetime one must become the priority. Neither party seems interested.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 9:43:55 PM

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RG Cunningham

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There is no shortage of irony in the statement that the FB-EYE has its finger on fascism, since they are the very epitome of a fascist organization:

"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. ... The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. "With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public," Wallace continued, "but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 10:58:52 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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#Reaganomics - "front & center" on Trump's watch. "Most politically astute and knowledgeable people remember that it was President Ronald Reagan who began the assault on our unions by taking on the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union (PATCO). By refusing to negotiate with the union regarding pay and working conditions and hiring replacements (i.e., scabs) to take their jobs he set the stage for the ongoing eradication of unions and the working middle class".

Trump and McConnell having the "leading roles" to play today - more tax cuts are coming for the wealthy and the corporations in the next two years of Trump's first term.

McConnell will cast the blame for rising deficits on "the poor"(those on "Medicaid") and those who worked all their lives and put into the System (those on "Social Security" and "Medicare") and Trump will continue to assure everyone that #Growth ("every Fed rate hiking cycle since 1957 has ended in either a Stock Market Crash or a Recession") will pay for his "tax cuts".

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:37:13 PM

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Yeah, good ol' Ronnie. Himself president of a union -- Screen Actors Guild. What a shining example of world class human garbage wrapped in hypocrisy. His evil just keeps on giving.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:49:29 PM

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No one within our national public forum seems outraged or honest enough to confront psychopaths like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of the rabid right, by calling them out for advocating the literal MASS MURDER of every individual relying solely on Social Security for their survival: The old, disabled, widows and widowers, children and anyone else who has no other income besides SS--WHICH THEY OR THEIR LOVED ONES EARNED.

No one publicly calls psycho and serial liar Mitch out for repeatedly telling the same outrageous BS, that SS is connected to the national debt. These bastards go unchallenged again and again.

I took a huge cut in SS benefits to receive it early. My reasoning was that it was better to get what I could, while I could, than wait for retirement age and come up screwed by those who steal it from the rest of us and have never done an honest day's work in their lives.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:41:26 PM

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911TRUTH

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And with the help of Republicrats like NOBama, Hillary, Schumer, Manchin, Biden, Feinstein, etc., they will get them.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 19, 2018 at 4:53:01 PM

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A typical Thom Hartmann article--brilliant in some regards, but FATALLY flawed by Hartmann's eternal unwillingness to criticize the Democratic Party and its deep complicity in Republican insanity and misrule.

As co-founder of the Bernie or Bust movement, I'm far better positioned than Hartmann to analyze the relationship between Democrats and Republicans, since Democrats' use of Trump as electoral extortion divided and ultimately wrecked our movement; I decided, with Noam Chomsky and Adolph Reed (and against my own movement), that we must give in to extortion and vote for Hillary the Horrible, since Democrats' Republican "hired muscle" really can "kill your family." But the fact is, Democrats WANT Republicans as crazy and thuggish as possible, to EXTORT lesser-evil voting from progressives while offering us andoyne reforms, if any, and constant support for climate-destructive policies like endless militarism and global fracking. Little matter that these policies will end human civilization; those Republicans are so insane and fascist!

Hartmann is certainly bright enough to see this, so I fear I must diagnose moral corruption in his constant protection of Democrats' racket. What we need is something much more like Nader's and Hedges' "Rats' Revolt"--with Democrats' criminal electoral extortion as its foremost target.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 20, 2018 at 5:43:56 PM

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