And, no, not "long-term," either, in
any way that requires what's being proposed.
Please, read the article by William Lind
, which contains the chart
and quote linked above. It's a clear,
short analysis that I hope will put an end for you to the mendacious tropes constantly
peddled throughout the media that suggest the opposite. Let it sink in, once and for all: absolutely
. (You might also want to
take a look to my previous post
on Social Security, to see that
this program is one of United States government's biggest creditors
This cannot be stressed enough. The lies about this are so ubiquitous and
unstoppable that it will take a great and constant effort to extirpate them
from your mind. You will have to repeat
the sentence above to yourself many times.
To your Democratic representatives, who, know very well that anyone with
half a progressive mind will only go along with cuts in Social Security and Medicare
if they are hoodwinked into believing that they are necessary to solve some
deficit problem, you will have to say loud and often, and with the appropriate
tone of cold fury: Stop. You are not fooling me. Social Security and Medicare have
absolutely nothing to do with the short-term U.S. fiscal problem. Absolutely nothing.
Despite what Obama, Boehner, and
every establishment pundit want you to believe, there is nothing "reasonable,"
"responsible," "sensible," or "moderate" -- there is nothing but foolishness and
gullibility -- about believing anything else. Absolutely nothing.
This "Grand Bargain"/Giant
Con is Obama's baby. It's what he has already
tried to do
, and was only stopped from doing by the anti-tax intransigence
of Tea Party Republicans. It's what he will now use his re-election to press
for again. It's what the MSNBC commentators/cheerleaders are preparing you for.
Listen to them carefully. It's all about:
"Will the Republicans be "responsible" and agree to tax
increases?" It's never: "Will Obama be responsible and refuse
to cut SS & Medicare in any way
?" And "Chained CPI," which he'll try to pass of
as just the teensy-weensiet "adjustment,"
is a cut!
As AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka rightly insists
: ""That is definitely a cut to Social
Security benefits." As this chart in Lind's article (via the National Women's
Law Center) makes clear, the "Chained CPI" is means of punishing people for growing
older, another "Die Fast!" gimmick of the sort for which liberals excoriated
But these cuts are what Obama will
fight for -- fight, that is, against the
labor unions who are now promising to stand up to him (color me skeptical), and
against any remaining real progressive Democrats. He'll strong-arm and/or cajole them (and the
legion of self-identified liberals and progressives who have shown their
propensity for going along with anything he does) into going along with
him. (Just as he did with
healthcare.) The "fiscal" is just the
latest cliff off which Obama is leading his "progressive" lemmings.
As I said in another previous post
, the coming Obama
administration, claiming to stand on the high ground of principle, will be, and will be proud to be
, the first
administration to cut Social Security. Obama
and the Democratic Party leadership will sell it as a "save' because they really
think it's the right thing to do. Or, as
the campaign tweet from @firetomfriedman put it: ""We must stop Romney &
Ryan from cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid! That's Obama's job."
Security and Medicare have absolutely nothing to do with the short-term
U.S. fiscal problem."
This -- sanctioning and normalizing the
long-term undermining of SS & Medicare, as well as sanctioning and
normalizing permanent war, the end of civil liberties, and the domestic and
overseas dictatorial death-squad presidency -- will be Obama's legacy. His conservative Republican legacy. Let's hope the Tea Party Republicans will again
save us from at least part of it.
If you voted for Obama, is this what
you thought you were voting for? If it
is, then so be it. Perhaps, before you voted, you had already been persuaded by
Obama and/or conservative Democrats (Clinton, et. al.) -- because, of course,
you'd never listen to these arguments from Republicans -- that Social Security
and Medicare are in some way responsible for our current fiscal problems. In that case, you were fooled before you
voted, but not by your vote. I hope the
Lind article helps to clear things up for you.
If, however, in voting for Obama, you
thought you were voting to save Social Security and Medicare (not just from
"privatization," but from the long-term undermining that will begin with any
admission of the need for unnecessary "reforms" that are actually cuts), then
you got exactly the opposite of what you thought you voted for. If Obama does not do what I am suggesting he
will -- move to make these cuts -- then you can have at me, and I will be happy
to admit I was wrong. But I also ask
that, when he does, you take a moment to consider that maybe you've been
(BTW, if he fights for these cuts and
fails, either because of Republican intransigence on taxes or because -- yippee!
-- he gets too much resistance from labor and/or progressive Democrats, that's
no credit to Obama, and I'm still taking the point. And who do you think will actually give him
If you think there's a rat's chance you
were voting for a president who won't seek, and Democrats in Congress who won't
give him, cuts in Social Security and Medicare, if you believed any of what Matt Bai calls
, the "specious debate during the
campaign," well, you really had to be stubbornly disremembering what had
already passed before your eyes.
As Bai points out in today's New York Times, r
esponding to labor unions'
and liberal groups' brave new insistence these last few days that any new
budget deal must not undermine entitlement programs: "[U]rging Mr. Obama not to
join House Republicans in reducing entitlement spending is like pleading with
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John not to reunite for a Christmas album. It's
just too late. "[N]o one should harbor the illusion that the president won't
sign off on reductions. The simple fact is, he already has." And, what's more, it "isn't simply that Mr.
Obama agreed to scale back entitlement spending. It's that he had the support
of his most liberal advisers and allies, too" -- including Harry Reid and Nancy
Pelosi. The AFL-CIO and AFSCME and DailyKos
and Bernie Sanders (who, by the way, will vote for Obama's plan if his vote is
required) can huff and puff all they want, but guess what: Obama
does not care
. He may sound like
he does, but he doesn't. Never did.
(Can you say "Simpson-Bowles"?)
never did. It's a done deal. It can only
be undone by a militant fight against
Obama and the Democratic
leadership, as well as against the Republicans.
Gee, if only there was something we could threaten them with? Something they really want from us that we
could withhold? Hmm.
What exactly is there to celebrate
about this election? Didn't we all lose?
I once worked in a car dealership, in
northern California, right off the 101.
Every week, they'd put a featured used car on a platform overlooking the
highway. One day, a guy, who had done
business there before, comes in, and, pointing to the spiffy vintage Mustang on
the platform, says to the salesman:
"That's a really nice car." The
salesman tells him: "You know, you may
not believe this, but that's the car you sold us last month. We repainted it, refurbished it, got it
looking and running like new. You're
right. It is a really nice car. I was always wondering why you didn't keep it
in the first place." The salesman then
went on to sell the same car back
the guy who had unloaded it -- at a lower price, of course -- a month ago.
In my opinion, there's never been a sharper
assessment of Obama than the tough one
given by James Petras in December
2008, riffing on our great, intransigent American writer: "Obama, on a bigger
stage, is the perfect incarnation of Melville's Confidence Man. He catches your
eye while he picks your pocket." And, even more than his election, his re
-election, with the attendant "progressive" celebration
, is "The
victory of the greatest con man and his accomplices and backers in recent
For those accomplices and backers, the
empty pockets of future Social Security and Medicare recipients will be the reveal
of a long con that took in a lot of marks, begun in 2008.
"Social Security and Medicare have absolutely
nothing to do with the short-term U.S. fiscal problem."
Update: Let's "lay it to rest once and for all." Have I mentioned that SS has nothing to do with the deficit ? Let's see if Obama can say it as clearly as this guy:
"If you really believed that Obama was
a lesser evil " if you really did find the drone wars and the White House death
squads and Wall Street bailouts and absolution for torturers and all the rest
to be shameful and criminal, how can you be happy that all of this will
continue? Happy -- and continuing to scorn anyone who opposed the perpetuation
of this system?
".. where is the mourning for the fact
that we, as a nation, have come to this: a choice between murderers, a choice
between plunderers? Even if you believe that you had to participate and makethe
horrific choice that was being offered to us " shouldn't this post-election
period be a time of sorrow, not vaulting triumph and giddy glee and snarky
put-downs of the "losers"?
"If you really are a "lesser
evilist" -- if this was a genuine moral choice you reluctantly made, and
not a rationalization for indulging in unexamined, primitive partisanship --
then you will know that we are ALL the losers of this election. Even if you
believe it could have been worse, it is still very bad. "Again I ask: where is
the joy and glory and triumph in this? Even if you believe it was unavoidable,
why celebrate it? And ask yourself, bethink yourself: what are you celebrating?
This dead child, and a hundred like him? A thousand like him? Five hundred
thousand like him? How far will you go? What won't you celebrate?"