From Smirking Chimp
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.
"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.
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.
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."