Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Freakout Continues, cont'd....

His Serenity Back In The Day

Now that His Serenity's Budget has been released, shrunk wrapped and all, and yes, indeed, it contains cuts to Social Security (scheduled benefit increases are to be based on the Infamous Chained-CPI instead of current COLA formulae and expected inflation rates; it's complex) and Medicare (scheduled payments to providers are slated for cuts and beneficiaries contributions are scheduled to increase), all heck has broken loose, at least among "progressives."

Who insist that there be "NO CUTS!!!"

Well. Fine. That's not going to help much, though, when All The Serious People insist that these aren't "really" cuts, at least not from current benefits, they merely slow the rate of increase "to more closely reflect the actual impact of inflation." Yeah, right. Lies and damned lies, but whatever.

The issue, as I've said before, is that maintaining the status quo -- which is all that "NO CUTS!!!" does -- is actually a step backwards because current COLA formulae don't reflect actual cost of living increases for anyone, let alone elders. Consequently the only serious progressive position should be to increase SS benefits by substantially more than current COLA formulae do.


But of course, that's not the "progressive" position.

Not even Bernie Sanders'.

If "NO CUTS!!!" is the opposition position and only "progressives" are expressing this position, then the game is already lost no matter what the outcome.

Young Ezra may have actually written a column with charts and graphs and stuff that show -- or suggest -- that increasing benefits is better for the economy than reducing them or their rate of growth, but so what? Who is claiming that the economy will be better for these cuts? Who is claiming that the intent of these cuts is to improve the economy? Ha ha ha.

The intent is obvious: ensure that the High and the Mighty will never be required to pay one dime in taxes to support other people's old folk or to pay back any of the trillions of dollars in tax reductions they've received due to the trillions in surplus SS taxes already paid for their own and their parents' retirements.

It's been obvious for years.

Cutting scheduled Social Security benefits has been on the political agenda of the Highest of the Mighty ever since the failure to privatize the system under the Busheviks. This doesn't mean they are giving up on their ultimate goal of stealing the entire SS money pot. In fact, the payroll tax "holiday" and the White House's open advocacy for Chained CPI are almost as obviously means toward that end. Privatization of the program can then be hailed as the means to increase benefits, and I'll bet you even Bernie Sanders supports it.

Sometimes it's so easy to read these entrails.

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