Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Social Security will Sink the Ship

That's what the right wing nuts in the US claim... they claim Social Security is "unsustainable" leading to huge deficits.

But check for yourself. You can read the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) document Long Term Budget Outlook for yourself. The problem in the US is the out-of-control health care system. Not Social Security. Here's the relevant graph from the appendix:

Click to Enlarge

But you won't get the truth from the right wing nuts in the US. Their agenda is to destroy government (remember mantra "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem" by Reagan in his first inaugural address?). They have had a very successful agenda for the last 30 years of diverting government monies from the bottom 98% of the population into the hands of those of the top 2%. Destroying all the social entitlement programs is part of this agenda. This effort has been wildly successful. The rich are far richer today than 30 years ago. This is a new "Gilded Era" where the rich dominate everything and income inequality has grown beyond the wildest dreams of the avaricious rich of the 1950s and 1960s where they still felt a social obligation to contribute as part of society. Now they view society as a buffet laid out for them to feast on, take but never give.

4 comments:

thomas said...

RY;

I know (have known) many people who would retire and would have retired if only they felt secure about healthcare insurance. They stayed at work so they could have insurance for themselves and their family.. What kind of a people can do this to those who have worked their whole life and now can't take advantage of retirement just yet because they won't be able to afford healthcare? This is a factor in the unemployment numbers.. Now, they want to postpone retirement to an even later date for so many.. Sorry, you can't collect full benefits yet, in fact, plan on dieing on the job.. Shame on American politicians! Shame on anyone who goes along with the idea that we can fix our budget this way, in particular, our Social Security (fictitious shortfalls). The politicians and deficit hawks, in particular, deserve everything that will befall them.

Shortchanging our retirement age workers will not fix anything let alone social security.. Only changing the tax cap on income will fix this and it is the only correct solution. Those who want to cheat on this will pay, but all of us will be caught in the outcome of the selfish, unethical approach so many want to take. I hope they come to their senses.

RYviewpoint said...

Thomas:

I find the situation in the States to be astounding. It is a rich country. Very rich. But governments say they can't afford simple government services, they claim they can't afford pension, and of course there is the complaint about not affording health care. This from a very, very wealthy country. It is like a bunch of millionaires squabbling about "what to do with grandma?"

The answer is simple: dig into your pockets and pay! Taxes need to be raised. The US federal government gave away $850 BILLION when it extended the Bush tax cuts two months ago. But now Obama is getting up claiming he has to cut this and cut that because the US is "broke". It isn't broke. The US has extraordinarily low taxes compared to any other developed country!

I'm seeing the same insanity in the protests in Wisconsin. The state government wants to cut state workers' wages by 7% in order to "save" $300 million because he has a $3 billion deficit. First, that "saving" doesn't cover the deficit. Second, the way to fix the deficit is to raise taxes!

Nobody in the media in the US talks about raising taxes.

Nobody in the media in the US points out that the taxes in the US are the lowest in the developed world.

Instead, the media is full of hand-wringing about "can't afford this" and "have to cut benefits for workers". Nothing about "have to give up tax cuts for the ultra-rich".

thomas said...

RY;

It is amazing to watch all of this budget talk on the news; I can hardly watch. Yesterday Trump made a point of saying that we were the highest taxed taxed nation in the world.. I watched the interviewer take him at his word with no discussion or attempt to prove or disprove. The media is on a mission to drill austerity into the viewers minds. Why is everyone on a mission to cut spending? Cutting almost any spending other than military or defense is not going to help in any way, but will lead to less revenue and then more cuts will be needed. This doesn't make sense in a growing population and economy. Who really thinks that you can have more people and less government or remain stagnate? When a family is growing; the expenses go up and if income does not rise then certain things can be cut back on but not essentials. This country has a rising income, but we are not using it for expenses that should be paid, but for stuffing in bank accounts. This is a very immoral thing to do to our people. All of that money in accounts will be worthless if there is not a government to back up the currency or to maintain the value of what ever form it is in. Wall Street cannot function without a government to provide the services and infrastructure that it sits on not to mention the laws and security forces.

Jon Stewart demonstrated the silliness of the House yesterday when he did a little math on his show. He simply added up the 100 billion dollar cuts over ten years... and compared it to 1 Trillion dollars in cuts in the Obama plan. This shows how well the media is pandering to the right and not taking out their courage and journalism ethics to give America the real story. This is exactly what they did when Bush was bent on invading Iraq. This is what they do every time it serves those in power to achieve their aims... Whose side is our news media on? Not ours and not reporting the truth. I am very tired of them hitting Social Security and now union pensions along with other benefits for workers.

RYviewpoint said...

Thomas:

You hit the nail on the head with "Whose side is our news media on?" In fact, the media are corporations which means their ownership is mostly in the hands of the ultra-rich. So you get a tension. The shareholders wanting the editorial stance and the news stories to slant toward rich-friendly stories: cut taxes, waste & fraud in social programs, too much regulation, incompetent bureaucracy, etc. But the writers are all middle class with a fair number of working class people hanging out in the building doing the grunt jobs. So the writers want people-friendly news & editorials. Guess who wins? The editors! So Rupert Murdoch's news empire (Fox, Wall Street Journal, etc.) pushes a hard right agenda under the direction of Roger Ailes.

But the degree of "political message" differs. NBC and MSNBC are owned by GE which has a more "hands off" approach and so those stations tend to be more people-friendly and less pushing the agenda of the ultra-rich.

Sumner Redstone owns CBS and your Jon Stewart show (actually all of Comedy Central). Stewart makes fun of Redstone which shows that he is more of a "hands off" manager, so the message there is more people-friendly than ultra-rich agenda.

But in the end, all of them are tilted toward giving the "standard view" which is more business friendly than it is toward people. But like all things in life, it is complicated and shifts. The corporate elite can get divided when the government starts going off the rails.

The only power people have is via the ballot. Street demonstrations don't change policy, but they make people aware of issues which then shows up in the ballot box. The Wisconsin demonstrations are unlikely to change the current government's policies, but they will make the next election a much more crucial one. Hopefully people will be less likely to pull the "Republican lever" and will remember what a disaster the Republican government has been to their state.