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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 10, 2010

WAR ON SOCIAL SECURITY UPDATE

SHAMUS COOKE, INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE - In Washington each new day brings a fresh call to "reform entitlement programs" - Social Security, Medicare, etc., (in Congress, the word "reform" now means to eliminate, or drastically reduce). Tackling Social Security has been on the to-do list of the corporate elite for years, and they're not waiting any longer. After years of promoting this cause, conservative think tanks have now garnered solid support from the political establishment as a whole, which includes the Republican and Democratic parties.

The newest liberal recruit to the destruction of Social Security is Thomas Friedman, the influential columnist for The New York Times, who wrote recently:

"The president needs to persuade the country to invest in the future and pay for the past... We have to pay for more new schools and infrastructure than ever, while accepting more entitlement cuts than ever [Social Security, Medicare, etc.] when public trust in government is lower than ever."

The nonchalance which Friedman calls for cutting Social Security is indicative of the climate in Washington, where the last remnants of liberalism have been suffocated under the heavy demands of profit-hungry corporations, especially financial institutions and big banks. For political hacks like Friedman - and there are thousands of them - the only solution to curing the U.S. deficit is cutting social services in general, while specifically targeting Social Security and Medicare. . .

Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a bi-partisan group that is set to attack Social Security in a way where, in the end, both political parties will be blamed, so that neither party is overburdened with guilt. The Republicans - having made their contempt for Obama more than known - are salivating at the chance to cooperate. . .

Since the foregone conclusions of Obama's panel will be so unpopular, the Washington Post explains that they will be announced after the fall elections, in December 2010.. . .

What will the "reformed" Social Security look like? Again, the conservative think tanks have an idea waiting in the wings: personal savings accounts. In the same way that 401(k)s killed the pension, Social Security is set to be privatized for the mighty benefit of Wall Street.

Just last week, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced a privatization plan that just happened to coincide with the creation of Obama's commission. Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angles Times called Ryan's plan "a roadmap for killing Social Security." He writes:

"His [Ryan's] privatization scheme would allow workers under 55 to place more than one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, with the ultimate goal of shifting most of that money into the stock market."

By creating individual accounts, Wall Street is bolstered while the public nature of Social Security is undermined, since Social Security is a "pay as you go" program: if workers under 55 decide to invest in Wall Street, and not to pay into the Social Security fund, older workers don't receive benefits. Social Security is thus dismantled.

Only workers who have money to save - and are gullible enough to trust their money to Wall Street - will put money in their new Social Security accounts.


2 Comments:

Blogger Hubert said...

When they reduce social security benefits, will they also reduce the social security tax, or will the tax remain as it is now, a disguised higher income tax on working people for the last 25 years, while the rich got tax cuts?

March 10, 2010 10:45 PM  
Blogger Hubert said...

When they reduce social security benefits, will they also reduce the social security tax, or will the tax remain as it is now, a disguised higher income tax on working people for the last 25 years, while the rich got tax cuts?

March 10, 2010 10:46 PM  

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