Friday, August 27, 2010

There is No Social Security Crisis, Mr. President

There is no social security crisis, so why is President Obama letting Republicans dominate the Deficit Commission, otherwise known as the catfood commission, as if there were? Perhaps you have seen the repugnant Alan Simpson, former Senator for Wyoming, dismissively refer to social security as "a milk cow with 310 million tits." Nice guy. And it overlooks the fact the people spend a lifetime of working, all the while contributing to social security. In other words, people pay into it, but Simpson acts like recipients are addicted to something they don't deserve. 

The commission was originally tasked with addressing the federal deficit. That is a semi-legit subject, but a politically dangerous tactic for President Obama because the commission has chosen to concentrate on social security, which is solvent and does not contribute to the federal deficit.  Unless, of course, Obama buys into the Republican meme that social security must be cut. It sure seems like it. When you look at the people on the commission, you would think it was Republicans who won in 2008

Jane Hamsher has written a detailed and eloquent piece on the catfood commission (as in what Republicans expect retirees to eat if the commission gets its way). Republican disdain for social security is nothing new, but the real news here is Obama's role. Each party in Congress was able to appoint six of their own to serve. Umm, OK. And then the President appointed six members himself, for a total of 18 members. That seems fair too, yes? After all, Obama said he would keep social security strong, right?

Here is Hamsher on who Obama chose:

" * Chairman Erskine Bowles, described by Business Week as 'corporate America’s friend in the White House.' Bowles had negotiated the deal between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton to create 'private social security accounts' where 'taxpayers get some choice as to how to invest their contributions.' The deal fell through when the Monica Lewinsky episode jumped into the headlines.
    * As Bowles’ Republican Co-Chair, the President appointed loose cannon Alan Simpson, the former rich kid GOP Senator from Wyoming once famously said that those who were complaining that Social Security needed protection were 'people who live in gated communities and drive their Lexus to the Perkins restaurant to get the AARP discount.'
    * Alice Rivlin was appointed by Obama to be chief wonk of the Catfood Commission, a Brookings Institute fellow who had been funded by Pete Peterson and a strong supporter of raising the retirement age to 70 — resulting in a 20% benefit cut to Social Security recipients.
    * David M. Cote, the Republican CEO of defense contractor Honeywell"

So Alan Simpson was appointed by Obama. Oh, ferchristssake. But who knows? Maybe David Cotes will suggest that defense contractors help disentangle our military-industrial complex. It could happen, no?

Read all of Hamsher's article , including the role of billionnaire Pete Peterson who has worked for years to turn over social security to Wall Street. And for more background on why social security is not broken and why the arguments of Republican operatives are so disingenuous, see here.

This is discouraging. Obama may give in to deficit hawks on an issue that is supposedly untouchable. And he is doing this just before an election. Funny, ain't it how those who howl about how social security is in crisis, and how we must slash spending to reel in our federal deficit never suggest that maybe we take a look at our monstrously bloated defense budget. Or that we raise taxes on the wealthy.

It wasn't the working class that put the economy in the ditch, and it was not they who got $800 billion in bailouts and then rewarded themselves with massive bonuses, as if they actually made that money. That was our tax dollars.

And they accuse us of class warfare.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure why this is such a surprise, BH. It's been pretty clear that Obama is not here to help emancipate the lower classes since before his election took place. The upper classes don't need something like Social Security to survive their golden years as they already own enough gold for that. People like you and I aren't even part of the equation.