Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NO Thanks! No “Bipartisan Budget Deals”!

"The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school for more than 30 cities, …two finely equipped hospitals, or 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million barrels of wheat. We pay for a new destroyer with new homes that could have housed 8,000 people…Under a cloud of threatening war it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” - Dwight Eisenhower, April, 1953.

Call me a curmudgeon, or just plain cynical at the whole U.S. monied political system and distrustful of the two parties that amount to two sides of the same corporate party lobbyist coin. But I do not want any “grand” debt deals especially designed in any “bipartisan” way (which Grover Norquist once described as “date rape” by Reepos, of the Demos.) as espoused four days ago by Sen. Michael Bennett and his “gang of six” in The Denver Post.

Yet every where you turned the channel, including this morning, you heard monied Goombahs- like Warren Buffet- blabbing that, oh yes, we must ‘deal with entitlements”! Says WHO? The Neoliberal yappers and their political nabobs mostly in the pocket of billionaire Peter G. Peterson (who’s had a boner to gut Social Security since the end of the Reagan era). .

As blogger William Rivers Pitt put in his smirking post today: .

A bunch of billionaires are working hammer and tong with their bottomless pockets, their hired Congressional stooges, their idolaters in the press, and all those useful idiots who hate government but love Medicare and always vote, to destroy Social Security and Medicare because government programs that actually work really well are the enemy, and must be scourged. .

At the forefront of this crusade is the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which has already spent a billion dollars trying to convince Congress to come together on a "Grand Bargain" that eviscerates the social safety net represented by Social Security and Medicare, which are only the two most successful and important government programs besides the GI Bill.”

Pitt went on to call out Peterson's “wingman” - billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller,( formerly of Duquesne Capital), who’s plowing millions of smackeroos into trying to convince young people that Social Security is the prime reason they're looking down the barrel at an increasingly grim economic future. According to a Wall Street Journal columnist (James Freeman), Druckenmiller "has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don't hear out of Washington. It's how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller's generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z."

Unmentioned by Drucko is the real reason the Millennials are looking at an impoverished future: the massive and bloated war-national security state which can afford to piss $800 billion a year away on F-35 bombers, killer drones, and a spy structure to peek in on every American and every other government on the planet – including the emails of the other nations' leaders. One security moron quoted in The Guardian actually had the chutzpah to assert: “Well, the FRENCH do it too to our people!” Hey dumbo, you actually have the balls to obscure the fact that the NSA security budget – including black operations – dwarfs the French spy system by several orders of magnitude!
Millennials and those who love and value them would be better served by focusing on Robert Kuttner’s take on Drucko in The American Prospect :

”Where to start? If you itemize all the reasons why recent college graduates face a wretched economy, Social Security doesn't even make the list. What does make the list are unreliable jobs that pay lousy wages, the aftereffects of a financial bubble created on Wall Street, and unaffordable college that leaves graduates starting life with more than a trillion dollars worth of debt.

The biggest lie in Druckenmiller's crusade is the premise that the income distribution problem is somehow generational and that he, as a billionaire, has anything whatever in common with most college students or most recipients of Social Security. One of his pitches to students is that Social Security is excessive because he, a very wealthy man, receives it but doesn't need it.

But for the vast majority of the elderly, Social Security is a lifeline, and a meager one at that. Some two-thirds of all seniors depend on Social Security for half of their income. Fully 46 percent of elderly widows and other unmarried seniors depend on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income. The entire projected 75-year shortfall in the Social Security trust funds that conservatives make such a big deal about is around one percent of GDP per year. We could make it up with modest tax increases on wealthy people like Druckenmiller. "

We could also stand to cut back on our bloated military! I mean, come on, does the U.S. REALLY need 702 military 'installations' in 63 foreign countries (it has 4,471 bases altogether), according to the Defense Department's annual budget statement? ( Figures that don't include bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.) We're talking about our military presence in nations like Germany, South Korea, and Japan. ALL of these represent redundant costs since the wars that incepted the bases are now more than a half century over! While the total cost of these bases is kept secret, the best analysis I've seen estimates their ten-year cost at approximately $1 trillion. Cut that fat and waste, and Social Security and Medicare can easily be left alone – apart from the fact they haven’t contributed to the existing deficits! The wars and tax cuts have!

Yet the Neolib pro-market uber Alles rats keep beating the drums for a new “deal” to appease the Tea Baggers – who now have the lowest favorable ratings (according to recent polls) since their inception.
As opposed to stealth cuts, like the Chained CPI to Social Security, what we really need is an INCREASE in the COLA based on the fact the existing index is predicated on a lowballed estimate of inflation (it excludes fuel, food and meds). Ask any senior, seriously, if he believes the forthcoming COLA increase (based on the supposed 1.6% inflation increase) is real and he will say, “Yeah, about as real as Santy Claus or elves!”

Real inflation, factoring in costs like prescription drugs, food, energy and housing is more like 4% which means that is what the COLA ought to be. And the thought of cutting it even more via chained CPI? Let Peter Peterson and his rogues try to live off it! Since when did billionaries start running this country and determining its budgetary priorities? Well, maybe since we turned into a corporate-billionaire Oligarchy, as Sen. Bernie Sanders puts it in the November 'Playboy' interview!

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