By Dave Lindorff
Now that it looks like the President Trump and the Republican Congress will succeed in ramming through the most regressive tax bill (not “reform” bill as the media keep slipping into calling it) in the history of the income tax, it’s time to gear up for the real battle — a battle that calls for not more lame Soros-funded, Democratic Party-led “resistance,” but rather a deadly serious mass movement to defend and expand Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what remains of federal welfare assistance.
The Republicans have made it clear that their claim that this tax bill, in slashing taxes on corporations and the rich, will “pay for itself” through supposed higher economic growth is bogus and that the real goal is to, as conservative strategist Grover Norquist once put it, “to shrink government down to the size that we can drown it in the bathtub.”
But make no mistake, the Republicans aren’t talking about shrinking the biggest drain on the federal budget — the military — which consumes 54% of each year’s discretionary budget. No, they’re talking about cutting social spending, or in other words the key elements still left from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
This campaign will be based upon a lie which the corporate media tend to repeat uncritically: that Social Security is “bankrupt” and more importantly that it is the main cause of the nation’s $20-trillion deficit (soon to be a $21.5-trillion or higher deficit after the new tax law works its magic). In fact, Social Security benefits are, always have always been and will through 2019 continue to be fully funded by payments made into the program by past and current workers’ FICA payroll taxes. The program has over its 81-year history contributed exactly nothing to the federal deficit. Rather, that deficit is the result primarily of the nation’s massive military budget and endless series of wars and cold wars since the end of World War II, as well as to a gutless Congress that continually adds to to the red ink by refusing to fully fund government programs, preferring to borrow and push the costs onto future generations. (Truth to tell, Congress has since World War II cravenly used borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund to finance US wars without having to raise income taxes to pay for them.)
The strategy for going after what Republicans scornfully (and Democrats ignorantly and lazily) deride as “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicaid, are actually earned benefits that workers have, over their lifetimes, paid for with taxes taken from both their paychecks and from their employers, is to claim that the government just can’t afford these programs anymore.
It’s true that because of demographic changes and medical advances — a declining birthrate, a major increase in life expectancy, and the arrival of a massive wave of so-called “Baby Boomers” born in the two boom decades that followed the end of World War II — there is a bulge in the number of people reaching retirement age and eligibility for both Medicaid and Social Security retirement benefits…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF (currently receiving spousal Social Security benefits while holding out until 70 to claim his own maximized Social Security benefits under a program that was made no-longer available after April 30, 2015), in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3730