Tag Archives: Social safety net

On Reversing 30 Years of Falsity

14 Apr

Memo to Barry: Fight!!The President, yesterday, commenting on Representative Paul Ryan’s “deficit reduction” 2012 budget plan, which is just shorthand for “ending Medicare, Medicaid, and the social safety net as we know it, plunging the United States backwards into the 19th century”:

The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know.

The Republicans have doubled down on their obeisance to the superwealthy and powerful corporate interests. They have been quite adept at hiding their preference for oligarchy behind appeals to God, patriotism, and Reagan.  But abolishing the social safety net so that the very rich can pay de minimis taxes, so corporations can relocate freely to the Caymans, or game an system that is advantageous to the hyperwealthy to avoid all taxes, and paying for those tax cuts on the backs of the middle class and wage earners is the real class warfare being waged.

The Ryan plan, aside from directly benefiting do-nothing middleman health insurers – those feckless David Brents of the health delivery industry – promises to not touch Medicare for those now over 55.  So for those of us who have lived, say hypothetically, 42 years in a country with an expectation that at least some of our health care expenses in old age will be covered by a generous and well-run government single-payer health plan, we’d have been deceived. This is fundamentally unfair and unacceptable – simple pandering to the massive baby boomer vote at the expense of “everyone under 55”.  The Ryan plan completely avoid making any cuts to military spending – an unbelievable joke to presume that not even a dollar’s worth of savings might be siphoned off from the military-industrial complex.

Most Americans are politically middle-of-the-road, and economically middle class. The Republicans have spent the last 30 years duping regular folks that it’s critically important to make sure the superwealthy don’t pay a lot in taxes. I don’t quite know why that steaming, fetid pile of lies is still accepted as truth, or reasonable policy.

I know a lot of liberals, progressives, and others who supported Obama are disappointed at a lot of what he’s done, and more at what he hasn’t done. It’s been an intensely complicated three years, to put it mildly. I’m mildly disillusioned, but I’m not ready to abandon the guy yet.  Not when he can so succinctly make the case that the opposition has essentially abandoned regular folks.

Asking billionaires to pay 37% of their income versus 35% isn’t class warfare. It’s reverting back to the Clinton era, when the economy was booming and the government ran a surplus.