Tom Brokaw: "Would you give Congress a date certain to reform Social Security and Medicare within two years after you take office because in a bipartisan way everyone agrees that's the big ticking time bomb that will eat us up maybe even more than the mortgage crisis?"
Obama: "We’re going to have to take on entitlements, and I think we’ve got to do it quickly. We’re going to have a lot of work to do, so I can’t guarantee that we’re going to do it in the next two years, but I’d like to do it in my first term as president.”
From the very beginning of Barack Obama's path to the presidency, he sounded like any run-of-the-mill Republican. The deepest bankster-created depression in modern U.S. history was descending on our national economy at the very time that Obama claimed we had "to take on entitlements."
At the time, Obama knew that federal tax rates were at 60+ year lows. At the time, Obama knew that nothing had been done to slow or reverse the highest medical costs in the world. At the time, Obama knew that Americans, paying in to both SS and Medicare all their working lives, were....your damn skippy...."entitled" to benefits in retirement that they had worked for over several decades.
That was all before Obama actually became president.
Fast forward a couple of years. In April, 2011 and again in March, 2012, Paul Ryan introduced and Republican House members voted to privatize/voucherize Medicare. At the time.....seriously.....I could not believe Republicans would be so foolish politically. All but 5 GOP members voted in favor of ending Medicare as we have known it. It was remarkable.
In 2011, unemployment was still too high, consumer demand was still lagging, wages and net worth for average citizens were on a downward trajectory, household and small business debt still strangling a slow recovery......and this was what President Obama was willing to give up in order to motivate Republicans to....pretty please....go along with increasing tax rates on billionaires a few percentage points....
.....the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.
Fast forward to yesterday. If you go here and watch the two short videos of GOP Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Representative James Clyburn, you will find that Democrats seem willing to go along with the plan Bob Corker outlines....which includes raising the qualifying age for Medicare from 65 to 67, as well as a numbers game to reduce the Consumer Price Index formula, which in turn will lower cost of living adjustments for Social Security checks.
After reviewing and rethinking all this stuff from over the last 4 years, I'm coming to the conclusion that both political parties....at least when it comes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.....are playing all of us for suckers.
Obama tells us that "entitlement" reform is urgent before he is even elected. Paul Ryan sets forward a radically-to-the-right proposal to basically privatize Medicare which is, then, properly mocked by Obama and the Democrats as outrageous. But was all that just posturing for the upcoming post-election, bipartisan dance.....when both sides, as they are now, embrace cuts to SS and Medicare while raising the qualifying age?
Could it be that both sides knew this is where they wanted to go all along? I think it could be.
The U.S. economy was looted in 2007, 2008. So egregious was the looting and consequential destruction of the national economy in the mortgage derivative and credit default swap con-games that some $12 trillion in purchasing power was removed from the overall U.S. economy. Millions and millions of Americans lost their homes, jobs, health care, and futures. The average net worth for American families dropped from $112,000 to $70,000. Average weekly wages dropped, new jobs paid less, if you could find one. Government tax revenue plummeted while demands on government services increased dramatically in the wake of the looting.
It is in the middle of those economic realities that both political sides decided to trick the American people into accepting cuts to Medicare and Social Security. It is disgraceful. It is inexcusable.
But why? Why would both sides work a con-game on the American people during the worst recessionary period since the 1930's? Why would both sides come together for an embrace over cutting SS and Medicare right in the middle of such an economic decline?
For sake of discussion, here's my answer.....both political parties serve the powerful and the wealthy...because...the powerful and the wealthy pay for the re-election campaigns of their candidates. The powerful and the wealthy, having secured historically low tax rates during W., want to keep those rates permanent and then move to lower those rates even further. (See Romney campaign).
Federal revenue right now is at 1950 levels....mostly caused by recessionary pressures. With federal revenues at such a low ratio to GDP, rich and powerful players realize reducing tax rates further, or even making the Bush rates permanent...will be a difficult sale. But if "entitlements" are trimmed, gutted or looted in a bipartisan way, the rich and powerful can still bribe elected officials from both sides to reduce tax rates just as soon as the Medicare age is raised and SS checks are reduced.
In short....elected officials in 2012, not all of course, but a majority....only really serve the interests of the top 2%. The rest of us are simply played for suckers.
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