Archive for July 8, 2010
Social Security Under Attack While Iowans Look The Other Way
by Dave Bradley
While we look the other way
As our eyes are focused on the election, the monumental disaster in the Gulf, two wars that seem to be in stalemate and a host of other problems, there are forces at work to undermine Social Security. If you think that the war on Social Security is a never ending battle, you would be correct.
Social Security has been one of the three main targets for opponents of progressive government. In the past decades reactionaries in this country have been able through law and intimidation to dramatically decrease the effects of labor unions in this country. While health care reform was enacted, it was not near the sweeping changes that conditions call for. That leaves Social Security as the last jewel in the progressive crown to be plucked.
And now the reactionary forces have been given a golden opportunity. A bipartisan federal debt commission under the leadership of former Senator Alan Simpson of Utah and Erskine Bowles of North Carolina has been given the task of examining ways to lower our national debt. While technically aimed at discretionary spending, President Obama said that everything is on the table. Simpson has interpreted this to mean that Social Security is included. He makes no bones about wanting to dramatically cut Social security.
If you listen to the interview cited below you will hear echoes of 2005 and GWB’s big push to privatize Social Security. It appears that Simpson will have the votes to pass Social Security since 14 of the 18 members are described as ‘deficit hawks’ and it takes 14 votes to pass recommendations.
I expect the recommendations will include means testing. This is one of the GOBP’s favorite method for killing the effectiveness of programs. Split groups into smaller and smaller factions that battle each other for a share of an ever decreasing pie.
Fortunately, the commission’s recommendations will need to be acted on by congress. The recommendation is that the plan presented be acted on AFTER the election by the current Congress. Some Republicans have tried to get that moved back to the next Congress, but Speaker Pelosi is having none of that.
If they fail this time, consider it only a temporary set back for them. You can be assured that an unspoken, unwritten goal in every election is to get the votes to finally pluck the crown jewel of the New Deal.
Here is a video of the interview with Alan Simpson
And here is Paul Krugman’s take on the situation
Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.”