In Quentin Tarantino’s movie ‘Jackie Brown’ the illegal arms dealer played by Samuel L. Jackson laughs as he recounts the sales slogan used by the manufacturer of the ‘Tech Nine’ semi-automatic weapon—“the most popular gun in American crime, like they proud of that shit.”
Mere weeks after Barack Obama was re-elected farce is added to tragedy with his supporters complaining that while the Republican proposal to cut Federal government spending and social insurance programs is all bluster and misdirection, their guy (Mr. Obama) has a real plan to do so—like they’re proud of that shit. Thanks just the same folks, but I’ll take the fake plan.
The moment when the New Deal as we knew it became history by bi-partisan consensus was a long time coming. A trans-generational core of inherited wealth and right-wing cranks has been trying to undo the New Deal since Social Security became fact in 1935. Ronald Reagan echoed anti-New Deal cries of ‘socialism,’ first as a paid spokesperson of the AMA (American Medical Association) against the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid, and later through his racist caricature of the ‘welfare queen’ living fat on public largesse.
Despite the fact that Social Security is an insurance program paid for by its participants, much the same as private insurance but without the executive looting, the charge has always been of an undeserving public sucking on “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”
Democrats first joined the effort in earnest with Bill Clinton’s plan to partially privatize Social Security. The idea was to let our good friends on Wall Street manage a bit of the money for us, for a fee of course. That proposal faltered when Mr. Clinton was impeached. As was the fashion in European Central Bank circles in 2009, Mr. Obama took up the torch of fiscal austerity of his own initiative by creating his very own deficit commission.
This should have come as no surprise to anyone paying attention—Mr. Obama publicly stated his intention to ‘fix’ Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid when he allied himself with the Wall Street friendly ‘Hamilton Project’ in 2006.
(In Between Democrats Clinton and Obama came Republican George W. Bush who also tried to partially privatize Social Security. Mr. Bush quickly retreated when he saw the depth of political opposition to the effort. As the saying goes, it takes a Democrat to gut the New Deal).
For the uninitiated, the Hamilton Project is the demon spawn of the Clintonite contingent of the Democratic Party led by former Treasury Secretary and disgraced Citicorp Board member Robert Rubin. The kindest take on the Wall Street lootocracy populating the organization is that they don’t know how money is created (the U.S. has a fiat currency), making them morons.
The less kind take is that their greed has no limits. Whichever is more applicable (neither is mutually exclusive), if one group of Wall Street politicos bears responsibility for the economic catastrophe that an unregulated Wall Street has visited upon the world in recent years, the Hamilton Project is it.
Never one to let the wish list of the entrenched plutocracy go unfulfilled, Barack Obama chose Democrat, inheritance baby and Wall Street ‘welfare queen’ Erskine Bowles, to co-head his (Mr. Obama’s) very own ‘deficit commission.’ Of course Mr. Obama knew nothing of Mr. Bowles experience leading the earlier effort to (partially) privatize Social Security when he appointed him to the position. In his speech welcoming the Hamilton Project into existence (link above), Mr. Obama additionally described himself as an enthusiastic ‘free trader’ committed to globalization.
And of current relevance, he ascribed fiscal ‘discipline’ as the proximate cause of the Clinton economic ‘boom,’ deftly ignoring the greatest stock market bubble (as measured by price / earnings ratio—twice that of 1929) in human history.
One could be forgiven for believing that Mr. Obama, or any other placeholder Democrat for that matter, has something of a point regarding ‘entitlement’ spending if his words are the only that are listened to.
People in the U.S. are living longer and a strapped citizenry simply cannot afford the lavish promises made in an earlier age of plenty goes the toxic bullshit. By leaving out class divisions this formulation simply furthers the shift in social resources upward from poor to rich. As economist Paul Krugman has effectively argued, the rich are living longer and the working class and poor are not. Additionally, unless those in the ‘gap’ years between the old and new eligibility ages for Medicare simply forgo health care, the change will force them to purchase private health insurance under whatever terms the ‘market’ will bear. But of course, private insurance companies always act in the public interest when people’s backs are to the wall.
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