You must sacrifice for your betters

Last week the war to cripple Social Security began in earnest. The initial attacks are working in concert. First up, billionaire Wall Street banker and Nixon appointee Pete Peterson riles up fear over government debt with a gigantic new ad campaign:

Then, miraculously, the White House has a solution for your fears! Behold the recommendations of Obama’s commission to reduce the debt, which includes (surprise, surprise) a rise in the Social Security retirement age and (surprise, surprise) tax cuts for businesses and the rich:

The plan would reduce cost-of-living increases for all federal programs, including Social Security. It would reduce projected Social Security benefits to most retirees in later decades, though low-income people would get higher benefits. The retirement age for full benefits would be slowly raised to 69 from 67 by 2075, with a “hardship exemption” for people who physically cannot work past 62. And higher levels of income would be subject to payroll taxes.

[…] Their proposed simplification of the tax code would repeal or modify a number of popular tax breaks — including the deductibility of mortgage interest payments — so that income tax rates could be reduced across the board. Under one option, individual income tax rates would decline to as low as 8 percent for the lowest income bracket (it is now 10 percent) and to 23 percent for the highest bracket (now 35 percent). The corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, would be reduced to as low as 26 percent.

Never mind that Social Security is fine and that our exploding debt is really the fault of rising health care costs for Medicare:

Where the money's going

Forget that! What you should do is work longer and longer to collect measly Social Security so that the rich can save some tax dollars and buy that extra car or yacht they’ve always needed.

But, you’re probably thinking “Why shouldn’t the Social Security age rise along with increased life expectancy?” Good question. What you may not realize is that life expectancy has only really risen for the wealthy, you know, the people that don’t need Social Security in the first place. As Paul Krugman puts it, “you’re going to tell janitors to work until they’re 70 because lawyers are living longer than ever.”

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Even while – according to Obama, Republicans and other assorted rich people like Pete Peterson and the Koch brothers – the United States is facing a supposed debt crisis, some curious news has popped up.

First, we’re going to be spending at least another 3 years in Afghanistan. Every week in Afghanistan costs U.S. taxpayers $2.5 billion. How come Social Security has to be cut to feed the war pig?

Second, Obama is getting ready to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich and middle class alike, instead of just the cuts for the middle class. Here’s a handy chart from the Washington Post which illustrates the difference:

Where the money's going

There’s a class war going on, and we’re losing.

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Let’s close this post with some prescient words from George Carlin:


  1. Andrea

  2. You know I read most of the draft and I agree that the SS part is disturbing…but on the hand hand there are some parts of it that make good sense….

    I posted a synopsis….in case anyone would like to see it and make their decision….