So this is how it is going to be: “After putting controversial cuts to Social Security and Medicare on the table in negotiations with congressional Republicans over a plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, President Obama still doesn’t have a deal in the works.”1
Who told President Obama to put “controversial cuts on Social Security and Medicare on the table”? Hasn’t the president seen his public opinion polling numbers lately? He is consistently at or below 50% job approval.
Didn’t he pay attention to the special congressional election in the highly conservative, long-time Republican upstate New York district that elected a Democrat for the first time in years?
Isn’t the President Obama aware that there’s an election coming up; that many of the people he is so willingly and openly betraying rely on Social Security to live and Medicare to stay alive?
What planet does he live on? (Unless this is what he truly desires.)
We expect just this sort of behavior from his negotiating partner, Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Boehner is part of the unashamed corruption that is the Ohio Republican Party. He learned at the feet of disgraced former Governor Robert Taft, jailed Representative Robert Ney, and voting machine magician, former Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. Boehner will get reelected no matter what he does the way they count votes in his home state.
The president’s behavior over the coming weeks (and past years) will make little sense unless you view the Democrats and Republicans as the distracting sideshow of the ruling elite. Obama, Boehner, and the rest of them are in place to play democracy, make us think we have some say in things. They make it look so complicated and difficult to address problems rationally and equitably. How could we, the mere citizens, ever do better, we are supposed to think.
The bipartisan sideshow exists to crush all hope that anything will change. That’s just fine with The Money Party. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The rake off by the very top fraction of a percent continues unimpeded, a mighty flowing river of cash into their gated communities.
They make it look like conflict but there’s no real conflict. Benefits will be cut. How much more obvious do they have to be? It was Obama, after all, who cozied up to Peter Peterson, the decade’s long foe of Social Security. Peterson’s deficit commission worked in tandem with Obama’s hand-picked deficit commissioners to produce this conclusion: Social Security and Medicare will be cut.
The government will continue to use payroll taxes to fund the deficit. It will continue to write IOUs for future repayment of that money to those who rightfully deserve it. But the benefits will dwindle and vanish, by design.
If there was one ounce of sincerity and intellectual honesty in this budgeting process, we would know that war is expensive. The current two are at $4 trillion right now. That’s a big chunk of the federal deficit. We would know about the extensive, expensive, and unnecessary subsidy and give away programs for corporate farms. We would hear that the Bush tax cuts plus the defense increases account for a huge portion of the current deficit. And we would hear all about how both parties gave away millions of jobs through “fair trade” deals and by encouraging flight of good jobs to places with slave wages and no labor regulations.
But we won’t hear that. The corporate sponsors of team democracy won’t stand for it.
Over the past three decades, at least, the leaders of the United States and Western Europe have failed at governance at an accelerating rate. At this point, to varying degrees, the primary strategies of the US and its transatlantic partners are: wage war; demolish the middle class; swindle large groups of people and entire nations through no-win financial schemes; and pollute at a breathtaking rate in full awareness of the outcome.
The level of incompetence is stunning. It can’t be tolerated any longer.