Sunday, March 4, 2012

Robert Samuelson's Dishonest Economics

Robert Samuelson, WaPo Neoliberal PR hack, has a solution for the ongoing deficit impasse ('How to Get A Deficit Agreement', today) which begins with the proposition that the automatic spending cuts required by sequestration are unfair and unbalanced. He further insists "the whole sequestration process is something of a sham". He claims, with straight face:

"The sequester is not neutral. though defense spending represents 19 percent of the budget in 2012 it would absorb half the cuts. Moreover, many entitlements (Social Security, Medicare) were excluded from the cuts."

He goes on to bitch:

"The sequestration now scheduled for next January means about another $500 billion in military cuts over the decade. These are in addition to the $487 billion in defense reductions already in the BCA and billions of earlier cuts ordered by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates."

Now, here are the facts and aspects this reprobate PR flack hasn't mentioned, for good reason:

- The military has been the beneficiary of a bloated, obscene budget - unpaid for by any taxes - since 2001! Indeed, the Pentagon budget doubled between fiscal year 2000 and 2001 and is now so big that it dwarfs the defense budgets of all the other nations of the planet together! Unlike any time in our previous history, when the military reaped its production and weapons via paid for taxes, this post--Bush pre-emptive war lot has been on the deadbeat end for over 11 years!

- Over this same time, I repeat the past 11 years, the beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare have continued to pay in their 6.2% in FICA taxes (the only respite being the recent payroll tax cut...which may not be a good idea in the end) and whose Medicare premiums -expenses have increased 133% over that time compared to only a 31% increase in paid benefits (COLAs suspended for over 3 years) hence amounting to a pure benefits cut!

- Given the military's unfunded liabilities, including $1.1 trillion reported "missing" since 1999 (which money they've been unable to account for) according to former defense analyst Chuck Spinney in an August, 2002, PBS NOW appearance, and their free ride via no tax support, the actual numbers show they've seized 58 cents of every federal dollar since 2001. Further, they've increased their share of GDP (unpaid for via taxes btw) to nearly 4.2% or in the words of Chuck Spinney: "Ensuring a war on Medicare".

- The "cuts" being bruited about for the military, that Samuelson has his panties in a twist over, are actually not direct military-defense cuts but ancillary cuts such as to VA funding including pensions, benefits, TSA support, and other security.....but not paring back on massive Pentagon boondoggles like the F-35 (estimated at $0.3 billion each) which provide jobs in mainly repup districts.

- The same "cuts", as numerous real world economists (e.g. Paul Krugman) have noted, do NOTHING to contain the GROWTH of Defense-Pentagon spending they only SLOW it! Given a whopping $750b a year budget (plus 'supplementals' for Afghanistan etc.) then the $98.7 b a year in proposed cuts Samuelson's yelping about appears for what it really is: a gnat in a snowstorm.

What this overpaid asshole really wants is simply to gut Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact that, according to the Economic Policy Inst., the average income for seniors on SOCIAL SECURITY is $12,000! Thus his yelping about "unfair defense cuts" is merely the ruse and smokescreen to try to justify it and protect the interests of the Military-Industrial complex! His "solution" then to the sequestration he maintains is exactly what we'd expect of a pro-defense establishment PR mutt (ibid.):

"Instead split the $1.2 trillion in automatic savings (to defense) between across the board tax increases and automatic across the board cuts in entitlements, including Social Security and Medicare"

In other words, this dork wants NO further cuts to his precious military, and only across the board cuts to the programs on which so many seniors depend (he has to know that any increase in taxes will NEVER be accepted by the Goopers). What is truly amazing is not so much that he could propose such an outrageous solution, but that the fucker still has a job, period! But then we know that in the modern world of pretend corporate journalism, there's always a place for public relations hacks and their hangers-on.

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