According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), there is a stealth momentum growing for a win with the debt ceiling in order to then push "entitlement" cuts. That means targeting Social Security and Medicare, which Reeps see as the two biggest "enchiladas" driving deficits. Never mind, as Lawrence O'Donnell noted last night, Trump drove up the largest deficits in his term than any president in the previous 220 years.
But that's become irrelevant, as Kevin McCarthy intends to use Democrats' spending bills as a smokescreen to hold the debt ceiling increase hostage and force a default. Or try. But the point people must grasp here is you don't negotiate with terrorists, in whatever guise they appear. Let's also bear in mind McCarthy is beholden to the right wing extremists (Matt Gaetz. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene etc.) in his party who helped push him over the top to finally grab the Speakership on the 15 th try.
By the NCPSSM's reckoning the current impasse with the massive, bogus austerity bill ('Limit Spend & Grow Act') the GOP is pushing, e.g.
Is merely a first iteration toward their next demands - for the next debt showdown- to gut Social Security and Medicare. But woe betide citizens, especially poorer, if McCarthy and his extremists gets their way in this round. There will be hell to pay for the most vulnerable. Start out with the fact that rental aid will be stripped away for hundreds of thousands (Denver Post, p. 2A, yesterday) even as the pandemic rental moratorium has ended. That means tens of thousands more out on the streets. Add to that the veterans who will lose benefits and McCarthy's claim of a "$4.5 trillion savings" rings hollow. I.e. On whose backs is that trillion-plus "savings" to be implemented?
According to an alert memo from the NCPSSM received last Monday, the further GOP plans targeting Social Security and Medicare, include:
- Cutting the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) which helps seniors deal with inflation
- Hiking the Social Security retirement age to 70, so that even the minimal payout which is now for age 62, will be delayed until age 70. Needless to say, many workers in punishing jobs may die before collecting one cent.
- Implementing 'Fair Tax Act' which will basically eliminate the payroll taxes which pay the benefits for current retirees.
- Placing 50 percent or more of Social Security monies, i.e. in the Trust Fund, under the control of Wall Street via privatized accounts. See e.g.
- Reversing the recently passed legislation - part of the Inflation Reduction Act - that reduces drug costs and requires Medicare to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.
While we can all agree a certain amount of political fatigue has set in (I notice it in fewer blog post topic reads) citizens must still keep minds focused on what's going on with the debt ceiling process. Basically, make sure you keep in mind who the real bad guys are in this standoff, and recall only one side is prepared to hold most of the nation hostage to its demands. Do I really need to spell it out and name them?
by Richard Eskow | May 11, 2023 - 6:13am | permalinkby Joan McCarter | May 12, 2023 - 6:41am | permalink
In a May 4 article about the so-called debt ceiling crisis, the New York Times made this declaration about the looming showdown between House Republicans and the White House:
“The only point of agreement so far is on the one thing Mr. Biden and Mr. McCarthy consider off limits in budget talks: Social Security and Medicare ...”
These programs are sometimes called “entitlements,” a term that has taken on pejorative overtones in right-wing rhetoric. A better term is “mandatory spending,” since Congress has established rules for funding them. Biden’s defense of these programs, and McCarthy’s newfound diffidence toward them, reflect their enormous popularity with voters across the political spectrum. So they’re safe, right?
— from Daily Kos
President Joe Biden gave the first indication on Tuesday that he would consider unilateral action on the debt ceiling, following his meeting with congressional leadership. Biden and the “four corners”—House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minority Leaders Hakeem Jeffries and Mitch McConnell—agreed to nothing besides having a second meeting on Friday. In the meantime, their staff will continue to talk.
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