Will They Keep the Promise? The Social Contract that is Social Security
There is no doubt that many in the right wing - most in the GOP, for certain, and many conservative Democrats, as well. The same core group of corrupt politicians and the entrenched interests that own them and that always try to sell out citizens to corporations, no doubt - are desperate to take Social Security down and hand your retirement fate over to the same parasitic kind of corrupting corporate interests that robbed the entire nation to keep their elitist Wall Street and banking schemes alive:
Remember that these financial institutions are still living off the fat of their corporate welfare from the bailouts.
It is going to be harder for them to justify keeping their many sources of Bankers' welfare checks rolling as long as they continue to not lend anything out to help save main street...
So they are still desperately in need of new streams of money to keep their mega-bonuses flowing.
They need a long term and massive gravy train source, as well and to put it bluntly.
Currently, Campaign for America's Future is working to help the majority Americans that do not want to see Social Security cut or privatized get politicians on the record concerning protecting Social Security.
TAKE ACTION Help us get candidates on the record to promise to oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits or any privatization schemes. Ask them to sign the promise, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with their answer.
Learn more | See the promise and the candidate roll call | Sign the petititon
The right wing, as it always does after a crisis that their free market ideology caused, is always looking to distort and distract from reality of what is happening. As evidenced in the very first link in this piece - Heck! There could be an illegal invasion about to start on near zero grounds (make no mistake, "regime change" and "pre-emptive war" are weasel words that the right and the media use that mean "ILLEGAL") and the GOP would try to distract with "issues" like "FreeDumb Fries".
Distraction and distortion is the only way the right wing (and the media that repeats the stupid) can keep you from talking about truth and reality. (More below the fold)
Whether it is the deregulation that resulted in the complete collapse of the world's economy that we are still suffering from or the same deregulating free market disaster that caused the Great Depression (I'll add a little on that on the bottom of this post, concerning the rinse and repeat of the Failed "Great Republican Experiment", from an older ePluribus media piece).
They will even resort to distorting the reality of the foundations of this nation with their mythical free market wankerism:
The first and largest federal need? The $2 million it would take to buy stock in the new bank. The solution? The new bank loaned it to us. Got that? We made the bank, the bank then loaned us the money to buy the bank. Even paying back the loan was more than we could afford, so Hamilton made a proposal popular with politicians in any age, a "sin tax." In this case, it was a tax on imported and domestic spirits (to see how well that went, just look up the Whiskey Rebellion).
With the money from the new government-owned bank, the US could take care of its own debts and those of the states. The government could regulate currency and set rules on trading. It also started in on a series of large infrastructure projects -- roads, canals, and public buildings.
, brothers and sisters, was the American economic system. Those who worry that we've wandered too far from the vision of the founding fathers might want to remember that in George Washington's first term, the government was involved in:
- selectively restricting imports
- bailing out debts of states
- being the majority owner of a private company
- clamping down on fiscal speculation
- executing a "stimulus plan" of infrastructure projects
And all of this goodness was paid for by new taxes.
The American school of economics was founded on these ideas: selective tariffs, government regulation of banks, and strong investment in infrastructure. Under later presidents a fourth plank was added to this platform -- investment in public education.
Within a space of decades, the American school of economics gave us... America. America the economic power that matched, then surpassed any of its European rivals. The success of American economics was so clear that Lincoln's economic advisor, could write these words...
Two systems are before the world;... One looks to increasing the necessity of commerce; the other to increasing the power to maintain it. One looks to underworking the Hindoo, and sinking the rest of the world to his level; the other to raising the standard of man throughout the world to our level. One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism; the other to increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization. One looks towards universal war; the other towards universal peace.
That other system, the sinking, pauper-ignorance-war making system? That was the English System, the system we now call "the free market."
Of course, the American school of economics was never followed by 100% of Americans. It's fortunes waxed and waned, taking huge hits at the start of the 20th century -- particularly under Woodrow Wilson. These days, we're taught to believe that protectionism was one of the causes of the 1929 stock market crash, but the truth is it was leaving the old system that caused a unsupportable increase in stock prices. Reduction of tariffs, easing of regulation, and the end of the National Bank system moved money away from internal investments and toward international trade and speculation.
The myth of an American free market is just a distraction from the reality of American corporations ever increasing reliance on elite corporate welfare to feign fre market profitability because they can not, and have not ever, had to compete in a real free market.
I believe we can all agree on the root cause of the state's $20-billion budget gap.
It's welfare: all those millions of taxpayer dollars going to recipients who line up for their government handouts instead of competing in the marketplace on a level playing field like the rest of us, who don't pay their fair share of taxes and who get protected by a politically powerful lobby.
Yes, I'm talking about the business community.
For all the hand-wringing by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about how there's almost nothing left to cut in the state budget except services to children, the aged and the destitute, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on handouts to business. That's despite the lack of evidence that some of these programs keep employers in the state, lure employers from out of state or are cost-effective in any general way.
The governor is asking the Legislature to take such draconian steps as eliminating CalWORKS, the state's principal family welfare program (serving 1.1 million children), and downsizing child care and mental health programs.
And clearly, NO! The rich do not mind getting their welfare by taking from the least and weakest amongst us.
They would steal candy from a baby if it meant a bigger bonus for themselves.
What more can be said about the rich in this nation when their business models are based on very simple premises that can be summed up thusly:
- For Wall Street and the Financial Industry:
- For the Health Insurance Industry:
I could go on and on about the free market disasters that we, the little people, suffer from so that the uber rich and financial elite can continue to own and profit from the myth that is a free market.
There is no doubt that they elites have set their sites on our Social Security.
They desperately want to begin skimming profits and bonuses off of our Social Security. They need to to keep their money flowing in if they want to continue to live in the pampered luxury they have become accustomed to...
They want your Social Security money to gamble with and skim money off of and even if it could easily cost you your retirement altogether. And gambling with your retirement is a bet they are gladly willing to make.
Bush made it clear and the catfood commission under Obama, regardless of what Obama has said, has made it clear that it is an idea that will never die regardless of which of these two corporate shill parties are in power...
So, much like the constant and ever vigilante posturing in the battle for Net Neutrality, it is up to us to do always be prepared to do something about it. To stop them from using political trickery, distractions and outright lies to get their hands on our Social Security money.
I mentioned ealier on that I would add a little something to the bottom of the post written earlier and on "The Great Reapublican Experiment". You know? That free market idiocy they always try to sell us again and again and that they would gladly let destroy the nation again and again:
Like many other nations, we are looking at a ballooning national debt and, like many of those other countries, we have many of the same issues with balancing international competitiveness against our generally higher wages. at a time where many of our largest government expenses, while exessive and sometimes wasteful, are justifiable for the longterm security of the nation. Via Bloomberg News:
As Spain sinks deeper into recession and the jobless rate heads for 20 percent, the highest in Europe, employers are telling workers to accept wage cuts if they want to stay competitive. That’s making it harder for households to tackle a debt load built up during the country’s economic boom and equivalent to 18,000 euros ($25,700) per person.
“There’s a Catch-22 problem for Spain,” said Dominic Bryant, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, referring to the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller that highlights a no-win situation faced by a World War II pilot trying to avoid duty. “The solution for the competitiveness problem makes their debt problem worse. By squeezing wages you weaken the domestic economy further.”
Annual growth of almost 4 percent over a decade turned Spain into an engine of Europe’s economy, boosting pay and prices as a building boom encouraged households to rack up 800 billion euros in debt. More than a year into a housing slump that helped spark the worst recession in six decades, the challenge is to trim labor costs and pay back loans without hobbling the country’s route to recovery.
Some people seem to want the economy to sink further. Instead of innovating our way out economic disaster - the green economy and increased scientific ventures to who knows where? - they want to drag America down further clawing back hard earned wages of the workers in order to satisfy the needs and luxurious lifestyles of the uber rich end of investing class, the very people that are the cause of this economic disaster.
We have had to witness finger wagging at us from supposed leaders of this nation in an effort blame us for their out of control "ownership society" pipe dreams that they encouraged and turned around to scapegoat us for.
Ownership society is a slogan for a model of society promoted by former United States President George W. Bush. It takes as lead values personal responsibility, economic liberty, and the owning of property. The ownership society discussed by Bush also extends to certain proposals of specific models of health care and social security.
Bush was out there selling America on buying their own little slice of the American dream... All the while winking at businesses that flooded the uber free market that had developed as a faux sloganeering ideology from the hardly recalled scandalized criminal Ronald Reagan years.
Attacks on Reaganomics usually focus on rising inequality and fiscal irresponsibility. Indeed, Reagan ushered in an era in which a small minority grew vastly rich, while working families saw only meager gains. He also broke with longstanding rules of fiscal prudence.
On the latter point: traditionally, the U.S. government ran significant budget deficits only in times of war or economic emergency. Federal debt as a percentage of G.D.P. fell steadily from the end of World War II until 1980. But indebtedness began rising under Reagan; it fell again in the Clinton years, but resumed its rise under the Bush administration, leaving us ill prepared for the emergency now upon us.
The increase in public debt was, however, dwarfed by the rise in private debt, made possible by financial deregulation. The change in America’s financial rules was Reagan’s biggest legacy. And it’s the gift that keeps on taking.
Unlike Krugman, I cannot point to the disastrous Reagan years as a defining point in the business side of failure, though it is one marker among many on the road to disaster, but more as the time that the the right wing and conservatives turned to a sloganeering of faux ideology to raise him to a pedestal he did not deserve to even be dusting, and leading to Gingritch inspired talking points, Frank Luntz LIEdeology double speak and a general bluster of previously discredited ideas presented as slogans.
This is an unusually large excerpt from C&L's Barbara O'Brien:
"By now you probably see where we’re going. “American Way” conservatism was the dominant political philosophy in the 1920s, and the nation was governed by its principles through the Harding and Coolidge administrations, from 1921 to 1929. Some historians call this decade “the Republican Era.” The vigorous progressivism of 1900-1916 was vanquished, and the labor union movement lost ground. In fact, the longer one looks at America in the 1920s, the more familiar it gets — corporate profits rising faster than worker earnings; a crackdown on immigration; culture wars led by an aggressive Christian fundamentalist movement; and tax cuts galore. If they’d had iPods back then, you’d hardly know the difference.
Of course, it would come to pass that the Republican who won the 1928 presidential election by a landslide, Herbert Hoover, was probably sorry he won. The stock market crashed in October 1929, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression. The Depression was caused by a number of interacting factors, and since it was a worldwide phenomenon you can’t blame the Republicans for all of it. But in the United States many of those factors were created, directly or indirectly, by “American Way” conservative policies. Among these factors were a wildly overheated stock market (security regulation was socialism, after all) and the maldistribution of wealth that resulted from laissez-faire business policies. Since President Herbert Hoover was a tried-and-true “American Way” conservative, he mostly was at a loss to solve the nation’s economic problems, even though he had almost all of his four-year term to do so. In 1932 the nation turned to a liberal Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, to make things right.
Righties are quick to point out that the New Deal had a limited impact on the Depression, and that the nation’s economy didn’t really pull out of the slump until the industrialization of World War II — over which FDR also presided. (This is just one of many examples of righties taunting lefties for not cleaning up rightie messes they couldn’t clean up themselves; Iraq is another.) But New Deal programs had a longer-term success in fostering economic stability. Federal deposit insurance, unemployment insurance, Social Security, increased government oversight of securities, and other New Deal innovations made Americans’ economic lives more secure and created a buffer against many of the factors that cause economic depressions.
And considering that rightie counter-arguments to the New Deal usually advocate returning to the same governing philosophy that allowed the Depression to happen, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take them seriously.
Anyway, after the FDR landslide in 1932 it was clear the right wing had fallen from grace. Righties spent the rest of the 1930s seething with resentment and planning a comeback. And just when they had a shot at re-taking the White House — bam, World War II happened. And this made the American Right look doubly stupid, because for the most part righties in the 1930s were isolationists who had not only pooh-poohed the threat of the Third Reich but had actually admired Mussolini.
After World War II righties rebounded with a fury. They did this in large part by taking the issue of national security away from the Democrats. It’s important to understand that the Right managed this not because of anything they actually accomplished, but through a “compilation of hysterical charges and bald-faced lies,” to quote Kevin Baker in this Harper’s article, “Stabbed in the Back,” which I vigorously urge you to read.
Much of the Red Scare and McCarthyist hysteria of the late 1940s and 1950s were as much about slapping down liberals and Democrats as it was about national security. See the Kevin Baker article for details. See also Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Vintage/Random House, 1962), in particular pp. 41-42 (emphasis added):
The inquisitors were trying to give satisfaction against liberals, New Dealers, reformers, internationalists, intellectuals, and finally even against a Republican administration that failed to reserve liberal policies. What was involved, above all, was a set of political hostilities in which the New Deal was linked to the welfare state, the welfare state to socialism, and socialism to Communism. In this crusade Communism was not the target but the weapon, and it is for this reason that so many of the most ardent hunters of impotent domestic Communists were altogether indifferent to efforts to meet the power of International Communism where it really mattered — in the area of world politics."
I encourage you to read the whole thing... After you finish here :)
See if you can easily pick out the parallels to many of the problems of today, and maybe begin to realize that not only has "The Great Republican Experiment" failed miserably, but that now is not the first time it has failed miserably.
This is the second time just in the last century that your conservative ideological whack-jobbery has proven itself worthy of nothing but ridicule and scorn. And thus it shall remain the butt of all jokes, for ever more.
Reagonomics, the GOP, the "I got mine-ism" free market juice box republicanism sloganeering that you all emulate will merely be hilarious punchlines as your party sinks further and further into the abyss of a control by radical bigots, Christianists/Dominionists , outright loonies, and other failed warmongers.
We have an opportunity, RIGHT NOW, to put some of our workers back on track to taking control of their own destinies away from the sloganeering of the right wing epic failure we have been dragged into and giving individuals a tool to fight the corporate personhoods that have left this nation economically on the doorstep of the mortuary to be bagged and tagged. We can turn the economy around but it is not going to happen with sloganeering telling us to "Support the troops - CUT TAXES!", as if taking away the source of the militaries wages is going to help any of those workers or the security of the United States of America. Sadly, this is all they have. Failed ideas and slogans. But we have a real opportunity here that will, both in the short run and the long run, help return prosperity to everyone in this nation.
It is about supporting everything that provided this nation with prosperity, respectability on the world stage and even security both for the people and for the nation as a whole... Because an economy that functions is one that provides the taxes needed to pay for government services like "Supporting the troops!" Something that everyone in this nation can and should buy into.