By Dave Lindorff
If you want to know how moribund the Democratic Party is, how completely owned by Wall Street the president is, and how sick our national politics have become, just consider Social Security.
The president, earlier in his term, convened a “blue ribbon” panel, supposedly composed of a “broad spectrum” of opinions from liberal to conservative,” to come up with a plan to “reform” the system.
At issue: It is known that because of the huge number of Baby Boomers -- people born between 1946 and 1964 -- just starting to hit retirement age, and the general aging of the population, the Trust Fund composed of revenues paid into the system by working people will be depleted by about 2033. That would leave current worker taxes covering just 78% of the benefits promised to be paid out the same year, unless something is done sooner to increase revenues or decrease the rate of payouts of those benefits.
The commission, which proved to be a bust, was headed by co-chairs named by the president. For the Republicans, who since its inception have wanted to destroy this last vestige of the New Deal, it was former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, a cadaverous wretch of a man who promptly called the program a “milk cow with 300 million tits.” ‘Nuff said there. Nice pick Barack.
As for his Democratic co-chair, the president named Erskine Bowles. If you wanted to know the views of this former congressman and Clinton advisor on Social Security, you need only learn that a few days back, he publicly praised Mitt Romney’s VP pick, Paul Ryan, who has said he wants to privatize Social Security, and condemned the president’s last budget proposal as a joke. Barack sure knows how to pick ‘em. Bowles was simply Democratic a mole for cutting benefits, raising taxes and raising the retirement age on that commission.
But then, that was the point. In classic Obama fashion, before the debate even began on what to do to fix Social Security’s coming fund shortfall, due in a bit over two decades, he telegraphed to the commission that he wanted “all options” on the table. If that sounds like how he talks about Iran, it’s because he was telling everyone he was ready for the nuclear option -- cutting benefits, and perhaps even partial privatization.
The thing is, though, public support for Social Security is overwhelming. By vast majorities, Americans tell pollsters they want to solve Social Security’s future cash problem by immediately starting to tax all income earned by the wealthy, instead of just the first $110,100 of annual income.
If that one little change was made, the Social Security Administration calculates that 72% of the projected shortfall would be eliminated...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1288