Robber Barons Terrorizing Americans

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    Huffington Post blogger Robert Borosage writes today that the so-called deficit commission is trying to scare and kick old people while they are down.  The oppo rants against the Social Security system are particularly devious because their “solutions” will do nothing to solve the deficit.   Borosage reminds:


    Social Security isn’t a problem and “fixing” it will have “virtually no impact” on long term deficits, but cutting the modest guaranteed insurance payments for the elderly and the disabled will show bankers we mean business.

    Indeed, the robber barons’ attacks against Social Security and its recipients are getting worse, we heard Monday on Democracy Now. It’s not that we need to be told.  The terrorizing of citizens threat level is at least orange.  The so-called deficit (alternatively dubbed debt, though they are not the same thing) commission is swamping the facts with malicious spin and falsehoods about the future of Social Security. Across the land they infiltrate the media of all types with propaganda designed to have their way with us.  There is a word for that.  It’s called economic rape.

    Also says Borosage:


    Now this makes no sense in policy, politics or morality. Social Security works. It is America’s great family protection program, insuring that workers can retire with some dignity out of poverty, helping to insure that parents are not a burden on their children, insuring against disability or the sudden loss of a mate.

    In Part I of Democracy Now’s recent interview concerning the assault on Social Security, we were reminded, as if we need to be, of where the real class warfare lies and just who are the culprits.  Here’s the transcript and video for Part I. And here’s the transcript and video for Part II.

    The wealthy, connected, fat cats recommending our fate via the so-called deficit commission have long been part of the problem.  They’ve been enriched at the public trough.  But they want us to pay with our futures.  Instead of let them eat cake, it’s let them eat cat food, they think.

    President Obama appointed a would-be economic hit-man, Alan Simpson, who infamously was videotaped sneering at Social Security recipients (“lesser people,” he calls them). He does so as if he doesn’t take his own Social Security check.  Then there’s Obama-appointed (also would-be economic hit-man) co-chair and Social Security eliminationist, Erskine Bowles, who according to economist Dean Baker,


    gets over $300,000 a year as a director of Morgan Stanley, a firm that should be famous to everyone, because it would be out of business without the taxpayers’ support. And he, right off the bat, said, “Well, we’re going to have to cut Social Security.”

    Let’s take a minute to contemplate that.  This man gets a bailout from the American people and then he wants to stiff the American people of their rightful Social Security, which they have paid for, and received the promise of a monthly check when they retire.

    I urge you to watch the video.  However, for those who cannot, here’s a quick summary of what Dean Baker said :


    DEAN BAKER: Well, it’s really absurd on the face of it. I mean, the program has a separate stream of financing. We all pay a Social Security tax when we work, 6.2 percent of our wages, and employers contribute 6.2 percent on behalf of workers. And that actually has been running a surplus. We’ve been paying more into the program than benefits have been paid out. This was a design that was put in place by the ’83 Greenspan Commission. They raised taxes. They also raised the retirement age. It is going up to sixty-seven, now sixty-six. And the result of that is that there’s been this huge surplus run, over two-and-a-half trillion, over the last roughly twenty-five years. And the program is supposed to continue to run a surplus for a bit more than a decade, at which point we’re supposed start drawing down on the money in the trust fund, the money that we’ve accumulated. So this idea that somehow we can’t afford this, we’ve actually been paying more than was need for benefits, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, the program, as it currently stands, could pay all scheduled benefits through the year 2039 with no changes whatsoever.

    Now, when you go further out-2049, ’59, ’69-at some point you are going to be facing shortfalls. The main issue there is people are living longer. And at some point, you’re either going to have to increase what you pay in, some source of revenue-you could raise the cap, there’s different ways you could do that-or some cut in benefits or raise the retirement age. But this is well into the future. So the idea that, you know, five years, ten years, fifteen years out, that we’re facing some crisis, that’s just simply not true. And everyone who’s familiar with the situation knows that.

    Read and reread Baker’s words.  The “crisis” is manufactured.  It is manufcatured to gain our consenting to the pirates taking what is ours.  They borrowed from us, or rather our Social Security, and now want to skip out on the debt.  That’s AFTER we have suffered losses in 401ks, and in our personal savings–if we are so lucky to have been able to save.

    We learned this week the awful truth: Half of Americans have less than $2K saved toward retirement. And only $36% have $50,000 or more in personal savings.  Even for those who have been able to save, the future isn’t rosy. Economists are now predicting a lost decade, which will depress return on savings and assure that seniors and the genrations behind them cannot hedge against inflation.

    The independence of two generations of seniors (boomers and their parents) is under immediate threat.  Boomers will fare far worse than their parents.  But both deserve better than the financial rug being pulled out from under them.

    This is an economic disaster if ever there were one.  And the “solution” according to most of Obama’s “commission,” is to steal from those same people who are most vulnerable. Indeed, the national Republican approach to today’s fiscal crisis is to condemn both seniors and the unemployed.  They do this with a straight face, even those Repubs who are seniors.  We’ve even heard the unemployed called hobos by a ruthless GOPher.  What these (mostly men, often triple dippers) need is a little reality check.  We pay two pensions for some of them (on top of their corporate fat cat parachutes) and they still want to stiff those who paid their salaries and still pay them in their cushy retirements ($300,000 for Bowles to do nothing as a director of a Wall street firm, which had to be bailed out)? The question I have is how long the so-called MSM will persist in this charade?  

    The Washington Post finally came clean about the massive throwing of (our) money at so-called security firms.  It only took them nine years.  In the post 9-11 era, the privatizing of our national security means essentially that we pay more and are less safe.  It’s profits over what’s good for the country. And yet some of the same folks getting rich off this privatization of our national security infrastructure want to continue throwing money away, while absconding with our Social Security. Will WAPO come clean about the hypocrisy of the Social Security eliminationists too?  Some of the oil barons and insurance tycoons, are among them as well. It’s the same people over and over: Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, The Heritage Foundation, The Club for Growth, Cato, and many more.  It is they who also formed the bulwark  supporting the so-called Tea Party.  It’s not a movement, but rather the manipulation of corporatized dupes.  The same cabal seeks to kill Social Security and medicare and end national (private) health insurance before it is even in place.  Why are they trying to hurt America and Americans?  And I wonder how many of the older individuals at Tea Party rallies know they are organizing to shoot themselves in the foot.  Let the fair and honest reporting begin.

    Furthermore, President Obama needs to distance himself from the eliminationists and extreme cutters of Social Security–soon.  He should tell the public the truth, the same truth he told before he was elected:  The system can be secured for 75 years with one simple fix: Remove the upper limit on income taxable under Social Security. As it is the wealthy pay a much smaller proportion of their income into Social Security than the rest of us. Yet they still persist in trying to terrorize America’s citizens:


    But the campaign against Social Security has succeeded in scaring the bejesus out of folks. The same USA Today  poll shows that six of 10 non-retirees don’t believe Social Security will be able to pay them a benefit when they stop working, as do fully ¾ of those 18 to 34. Even a majority of current retirees are terrorized, with a majority believing their current benefits will be cut.

    This cartoon sums it up.

    50 organizations representing 35 million Americans have organized to stop Peter Peterson, and the rest of those who are waging real warfare against our citizens.  Take a look at Borosage’s post for more information.  And then do something.

    • Dan Sullivan

      and kept the firm afloat long enough to bankrupt the entire universe

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      are more ideological than fiscally responsible. For example, Kent Conrad wants to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich–without paying for them.