Obama Put Social Security on the Table

August 15, 2010

AP tagline (08/14): “President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.” Remember the (stacked) Deficit Commission?  Key relating quote: “everything on the table.”  That was President Obama – including Social Security in the “austerity” mix.  As a result, this is Ripe – as election season ploys (note recent articles on the sway of using Social Security as a mid-term campaign issue).  “Obama said he’s ‘committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security.'”  Somehow, the person who put Social Security “on the table is also supposed to be the same person who is a champion of “strengthen[ing]” it?  (Word game/setup alert: cutting can lead to solvency, even if there are no actual solvency problems.)  On one hand, he scores points by “accus[ing] Republicans of trying to destroy,” based on the privatization issue.  On the other, he had already opened the door to destruction, based on “self-sacrifice” and “personal responsibility” (after 75 years – and millions upon millions have lost their jobs). This is what’s happening – with “everything on the table”: “Housing crisis reaches full boil in East Point; 62 injured.” This is what’s at stake – under the auspice of “Austerity: “Individual Mandates Bootstrap the Homeless.” This is what’s still going on – while we hear condescending updates on “Shared Sacrifice”: “How Goldman gambled on starvation.” Again, what was the (immediate) main target of Bush II after the 2004 (second stolen) election?  Social Security.  Since 1935, what has been at the top of ongoing goals for the conservative elite, as far as dismantling programs?  Social Security.  What was one of the main safety nets we Believed Obama would never allow to be Changed (gutted, step by step)?  Social Security.  As another domino is set to fall because of his administration’s continuous sellouts, there are no doubts of (progressive) betrayal remaining.  The “collective good” they promote is a fascist focus as a guarantee for chosen corporations – and bootstraps as the only guarantee for the masses.

FDR, August 14,1935: “Today a hope of many years’ standing is in large part fulfilled.  The civilization of the past hundred years . . . has tended more and more to make life insecure.  Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age.  The man with a job has wondered how long the job would last.  This social security measure gives at least some protection to thirty millions of our citizens who will reap direct benefits through unemployment compensation, through old-age pensions and through increased services for the protection of children and the prevention of ill health.”

And now, we are maybe two “only a sliverPR cycles (“heated rhetoric“) away from the next Change We Can Heave In. [Other notes: 1) Associated Press: “Unless Congress acts, Social Security’s combined retirement and disability trust funds are expected to run out of money in 2037.”  Pure talking points propaganda.  Reality: “The wildly pessimistic projections are based on assumptions that the economy will grow an average of 1.8 percent per year for the next 75 years – less than half the rate of the previous 75 years.”  2) Republicans: “An increase in Social Security taxes is out of the question, even for the wealthy.”  But, of course.] Update (09/04): Re: Labor Day Irony: The People Who Want to Cut Social Security All Have Great Retirement Plans More Labor Day reflections: The (robber baron) Deficit Commissioners crowd – the “elite” that Bush II referred to as his “base,” the group that President Obama allowed to be purposely stacked into a predetermined place – would have us forget, or evolve from (as in Social Darwinist Commission recommendations) certain history.  What are the origins of the Pullman Strike?  Why did President Cleveland want to “reconci[le]” with the labor movement?  Who was right – the oppressed workers being gouged to early deaths, or rampant, soulless corporatists?  What was right – taking the side of “the least among us” while they were under endless siege, or emboldening the assailants further by placating their ongoing looting mentality?  Further, where did the eight-hour work day/five-day work week come from?  Vacations?  Pensions/retirement?  Child labor and Safety regulations?  Minimum wage?  When corporate marauders crashed the (bubbled) system in 1929 (causing the Great Depression), who eventually stood up to Hoover’s status quo – while providing a mutually benevolent renewal of the rules (and opportunities)?  FDR. Now, under the most similar of circumstances, ask yourselves: Which president, Hoover or FDR, would have set up a Deficit Commission (selectively biased for the bourgeoisie’s desires)?  In relation, what would Bush II have done?  Final question: Who presented a populist campaign based on Hope and Change – then went in the opposite direction once at the helm? Update (11/10): “President Obama’s . . . deficit reduction commission just proposed slashing Social Security.” In relation to narratives created by Fox/Koch Brothers, etc., and what was the continuing mindset of the remaining minority, Obama appointed a biased Deficit Commission – during a Second Depression.  At the same time, he “Put Social Security on the Table.”  Then, the Deficit Commission’s (predetermined) recommendations were put off until after the midterms.  Now, with a new House, Obama and the remaining Blue Dogs will seek even more of that (veil of) “Common Ground,” and “Compromise” – while the sacrificed hear further sermons on the sanctity of sacrificing.

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Individual Mandates Bootstrap the Homeless

January 25, 2010

Today, default/delinquency/foreclosure rates continue to skyrocket and soon there will be more prime mortgages in arrears than subprime ones. More than 25% of all homes are now ‘under water.’  Millions more families are at risk.  Foreclosures continue to rise.  The housing crisis at the center of the financial crisis has not been ‘fixed.’”

Continue to think about that figure: “25% of all homes.”  In this (undeniable) Second Depression, what would happen to the individuals and families in those homes if they were hit with an additional (Mandatory) Monthly BILL?  If 14 million are headed to (or already on) the streets now because of this (ENRONesqued) crisis, how many more millions might end up there because of an Individual Mandate (without a “Robust” Public Option to compel meaningful competition on the private insurer monopolies)?  Moreover, regarding the “new homeless” that are still working, how might they feel about not only getting run out of most public areas (“no camping”), but also having to face new IRS fines and “criminal” labels for not fulfilling their personal/family health care purchase responsibilities (8% of income / NOT A TAX)? : “Hey kids, we may not have a house or enough food to eat, but, at least we have the comfort of forced coverage by Blue Shield!!”  Too fat?  Canceled.  Too skinny?  Canceled.  Homeless?  We just increased your subprime premium by 189%.  Why?  Because there are special diseases out there for people who live like that (not enough showers), and simply, because we can.  Petition your government for another subsidy, and we will be happy with the difference.

These are the stock-in-trade tactics of the ‘power elite’ that C. Wright Mills wrote so poignantly about back in the 1950s.”
Again, Thank You, New Majority.

[“If a mandate was a solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everyone buy a house.”]

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Public Options, Single-Payers, and Bootstraps

July 18, 2009

In his post, “The six deadly hypocrites,” Paul Krugman notes that “the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 . . . denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices. . . .”  Where are the proposals to overturn this aspect of the Act in the debate?  Easing restrictions on imports?  True reform, taking away the pharmaceutical and insurance industry’s absolute monopoly (or, at least, not forcing us further into their hands)?  Moreover, with any outcomes of the health care legislation carrying such essential importance (weight) for all of us, why the mad push/rush to get the bills passed before an August recess?  Is that a primary focus on our (long-term) well-being?  Or, is it mainly politics – as usual?  While passing a “Public Option” would be progress, terms at the heart of the measures include mandates (requirements) for everyone to get/buy an insurance policy – without considering the impact (enough) on those between the poverty and median income level.  Especially during these times (a Second Depression), forcing a new monthly bill/burden (of even $100) on our people is both outrageous and wholly regressive.  Congress should be making changes in the proposals – where, since they (obviously) aren’t brave enough to stand up for Single-Payer, then, in the least, they could offer/champion subsidized coverage of all costs for those under a certain point ($40,000?) of the median income.  (In relation, my Congressman informed me of (unacceptable) 92% subsidy provision possibilities).  After being sold out to corporate powers during Clinton’s administration, and having our entire structure/system (purposely) finished off (ENRON-style) during Bush II’s, the common people have peaked out in “personal responsibility” – and absolutely cannot afford, or find, additional “Bootstraps.”

Health Care Solved!  Are You Poor?  Sorry.

H.R. 676: Single-Payer Faq

FAIR’s Petition

Horatio Alger Bootstraps

Update: A Real Win for Single-Payer Advocates
“By a 25-19 vote, the House Committee on Education and Labor on Friday approved an amendment to the House’s health-care reform bill allowing states to create single-payer health care systems if they so choose.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich . . . proposed the amendment.”  “Rose Ann DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association . . . , said ‘This is a historic moment for patients, for American families, and for the tens of thousands of nurses and other single-payer activists from coast to coast who can now work in state capitols to pass single-payer bills, the strongest, most effective solution of all to our healthcare crisis.'”
Update: Are health care options ultimately affordable?
(Bills would require coverage, but uninsured may struggle to pay)
“Under the House bill and a similar measure approved by the Senate health committee, premium subsidies would be available to families with incomes up to four times the poverty level. . . .  But lawmakers said that federal aid for low-income families could be pared back as Congress struggles to hold down the overall cost of the legislation.”
Bill Moyers: Dangerous Alliance of Health Industry and Right-Wingers “The big drug companies are already so pleased . . . that they’ve brought back Harry and Louise — the make-believe couple who starred in TV ads that helped torpedo the Clinton health care plan — but this time they’re in favor of reform.”
Update: Harry Reid promises committee bill by recess
“The Finance Committee remains hung up on how to pay for the package, but the panel negotiators have been moving toward dropping the public option for insurance. Reid today was vague on whether he supported the public option. . . .”  Without a Public Option – the purported line in the sand, where nothing would be passed if it was not included.  Remember?  Does that mean the Mandate to get a policy also disappears?  If not, wouldn’t that be the same as “solving” the health care crisis by forcing all of us right into the private insurers’ hands – since everyone will have to buy some version of their collusively-priced product?  Not even a Public Option, in order for commoners to at least have a sense of a way out (of their traps).  No 100% subsidies for those under the median income level.  No new prescription bargaining power.  Nothing to compete with the status quo.  Nothing reformed.  The majority gives, gives in, and gives away – until there’s nothing left.  Then, once again, they (the corporate powers) win it all.  And, the lower classes suffer deeper and deeper wounds (which will never heal) under the ever-increasing weight of “shared” and “personal responsibilities.”
Update: Deal with ‘Blue Dogs’ sets up health care vote
“The House changes, which drew immediate opposition from liberals in the chamber, would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance. . . . ”  Medicaid: $10,830 ($5.21 hr.) x133% = 14,404 ($6.90 hr.) (does not even equal new minimum wage).  Subsidies: (What percentage?) $32,490 ($15.62 hr.) and below.  “Close to 86 percent of small businesses — those with an annual payroll of $500,000 or less — will be exempt from the mandate to provide employees with health insurance, according to the terms of the compromise.”  So, businesses (up to the elite level) will be EXEMPT from most of the new burdens?  Correct.  What about REGULAR people?  Not a chance.
Update: Speaker Pelosi: “Let me assure you: There will be a health care reform bill passed and it will make a big difference in the lives of the American people.”  We, the proletariat, are aware of the “Big Difference[s]” on the horizon, Speaker Pelosi.  They can be relieving, uplifting, and freeing.  Or, they can be regressive, oppressive, and destructive (under the guise of “no excuses” and bootstraps as “shared”).  It comes down to this: Will the common people be “Provided” for?  Or, will they be herded like rebellious cattle into a “mandated” slaughter by way of corporate pens (Policies)? : “It’s only a new $200.00-a-month bill.  Rise up Horatio. The butcher is now to be taken as your friend.”
Update:The deal also slightly reduced the cost of premiums for the uninsured, from 12 percent of a household’s annual income to 11 percent.”  Make $21,000?  Does that mean your new (forced) bill, a bill you did not have before, will be at least $2,300 per year?  A person making $21,000 does not qualify for Medicaid, and would be lucky in most areas of this country to be able to even afford an apartment.  How much of an impact would he or she feel?  A new $200-a-month bill might just impact that person – right into the streets.  Consider the soon-to-arrive 11% of Annual Income – TAX – a Tax Burden you did not have before – with this: “I can make a firm pledge.  Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.  Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” With these types of “solutions,” one could swear to God that we are the middle of the last administration (and former majority).

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