America At A Crossroads

As the official Deficit Commission report awaits release tomorrow America is at a crossroads created by the nation’s rich and super rich to impose an austerity program.  What we need is a jobs program not a job killing program.  The future of the country, whether we move forward and establish economic growth or continue the downward spiral of the past thirty years is under debate.  Forwards or backwards?  

It really is this important.  While the official report does call for some cuts which are sensible the overall policy proposal is bad economics and imposes unneeded austerity which will destroy an economy largely based on consumer spending.  This type of economy is dependent upon people’s discretionary income.  That is what is left after the essentials are funded (food, clothing and shelter).  Without income people cannot spend and 70% of our economy shuts down.

This is what we’ve seen as the financial meltdown caused by unbridled Wall Street greed and a feverish push by radical elements to deregulate crashed the global economy.  It spread to middle class people who thus lost their jobs then their homes.  The mess created by securitization of mortgages, mortgage fraud and other types of illegal activities created a massive job loss nationally.  

Job creation is the number 1 issue facing America, NOT the deficit.  In severe economic times basic economics (anyone taking Econ 101 learns this) demands government deficits to create jobs and kick start a sagging system.  The stimulus bill was designed to do just this and was successful on the small scale attempted to do obstructionism by Republicans and corporate Democrats.  The TARP program under President Bush saved millions more jobs while costing a mere $25 billion.  That is about what it costs to fund unemployment compensation for six months.  Had there been no TARP the long term cost to taxpayers would have been hundreds of billions based on the long term unemployment problems facing Americans.

Social Security adds not one cent to the deficit but the Cat Food Commission would cut those benefits and send millions of American seniors to the pet food aisle for their grocery shopping.  Why?  This isn’t a deficit issue its an issue of morality.  The immoral types bent on impoverishing America for their personal benefit are attempting to impose such austerity that they can achieve complete political control.  Without money even for food how would seniors, the poor, the undereducated ever be able to contribute to candidates who would vouch for them and their interests?

Thus America is at a crossroads.  The Deficit Commission plan which has resulted from hysteria created by the super rich (Koch brothers and others) through the Tea Party will kill millions more jobs.  As much as I’d like to see the bloated Defense budget slashed, for example, that would destroy jobs in the defense industry.  That must be done but not right now.  We can slash welfare for corporate agribusiness however.  Corporate America is enjoying record profits at the expense of workers producing unprecedented productivity.  These riches are nbot being shared with those who are creating them however.  Instead the austerity budget would throw more of them onto the streets.

This entire controversy is manufactured to benefit the rich.  Cutting the deficit by rolling back the Bush tax cuts, all of them, would eliminate $1 trillion of the deficit.  Instead Republicans would eliminate unemployment compensation further killing our consumer economy.  We must create manufacturing jobs which will sustain middle class lifestyles.  We can do so by investing in desperately needed infrastructure, clean energy and education.  The biggest single thing we can do to reduce the deficit is to pass a single payer health care system.  Every other civilized nation does this at half the cost we spend with better outcomes.  Socialized medicine does work.  We are spending ourselves towards national bankruptcy due to health care.  This madness must stop.

Scrapping the cap for Social Security, eliminating agribusiness welfare and establishing sane, rational and effective national health care while allowing the tax cuts for the rich to expire solves most of the deficit issue.  More than that however, we must spend our way to prosperity.  Believe it or not that is the only solution which has ever worked in such hard economic times.  Business doesn’t expand and hire during such times and this is what we’re currently witnessing.  Corporate America is accumulating massive cash reserves yet refusing to hire workers and expand.  In such times it is incumbent upon government to be the job producer.  Don’t believe the myth that government cannot create jobs, they do every day.

You will be bombarded by misinformation over the coming months.  Use your head and ask if any such proposals will create jobs or destroy them.  Cutting the budget instead of passing new, aggressive job expansion programs will set us on the path to poverty for all excepting the richest.  Do we really want to continue this slide towards serfdom?  Establishing growth through job creation is the only path to follow yet one the right wing has purposely sabotaged.  This sabotage of the American economy was strangely rewarded at the polls by idiots this month.  The amount of such activity is going to increase drastically as these economic obstructionists feel they received a mandate.

America is at a crossroads, which direction will we go, up or down?

The War On Social Security Resumes

Republicans determined to dismantle Social Security, the most effective and successful government program in American history, launched their latest war yesterday afternoon.  Pete Peterson, a billionaire willing and able to spend his fortune putting millions of Americans into destitution, launched a $6 million ad campaign yesterday.  We saw on election day what hundreds of millions can do to brainwash the people.  While attacking Democrats with misleading ads saying they cut Medicare (they didn’t) these same people were on a mission to get elected so they could.

Peterson’s efforts are timed to coincide with the recommendations of the Deficit Commission due to be announced December 1st.  They will call for cuts in benefits, increases in the retirement age and a cut in the annual cost of living adjustment.  The campaign is being spearheaded by a monstrous effort to misinform the people through fear mongering.  There is no crisis.  No one’s benefits are at risk.  Social Security is solvent through 2037 and even if nothing were done it would still pay 89% of scheduled benefits after that time.  Insuring full benefits is actually quite simple.  In fact by ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich we could insure full solvency for the next 75 years AND increase benefits by 2%.  Removing the income cap whereby anyone earning more than $106,500/year pays no tax above that level also assures solvency for the long term.

Scare mongering is the order of the day but do believe what is being said.  Social Security doesn’t add a single red penny to the deficit.  Cutting the program will do nothing to reduce the deficit because the social safety net pays for itself.  In fact we’ve been creating surpluses since the last action was taken in the early ’90’s.

Polls consistently show that 70% of Americans support Social Security.  When asked on election day if they’d rather see benefit cuts, Defense cuts or tax cuts for the rich repealed only 12% of voters supported cutting benefits.  The effort by Peterson and his Wall Street tycoon buddies along with traditional GOP scare mongers is hugely unpopular and they are already leaking their findings to prepare a massive propaganda campaign.  Arguments will be made by so-called experts that the financial markets must be assuaged.  These are the same “experts” who failed to foresee the housing bubble and who led our economy over the cliff.  Since when do any of us care what these Wall Street tycoons think?  Look at your 401(k) to see what they’ve already done to you.  Look at your home’s value for another clue.  Now they want to take away your Social Security.  Americans should be protesting in the streets as the French did when these proposals are presented.

Peterson has dumped a billion dollars into destroying this program according to some experts.  It is his life’s mission.  He calls Senior citizens “greedy geezers” for wanting a secure retirement.  

The argument that people should be able to invest on their own is specious.  You already can through IRA’s, Roths, 529 programs for college and so on.  These are all government created options along with your personal investing.  Do you really want your Social Security funds invested by Wall Street with their track record of failure?  This is simply a scheme to make these immensely rich traders, brokers and banks wealthier at your expense.  Interestingly several members of the Deficit Commission were with Peterson at his news conference yesterday.  This Plan for Austerity will be dead on arrival December 1st.  Call your Member of Congress and both Senators along with the White House to voice support for Social Security.  Your voices must be heard over the din of a massive advertising effort to corrupt our futures.  Write letters to the editor and call in to talk radio shows.  We must save and protect this crucial program.