Fiscal Cliff – Senior Sell-out?

Social Security
When I voted for Obama again in this election I was hopeful he would be more supportive of economic and social justice and favor the middle class over the special interests. In reality, there wasn’t really a choice for any reasonable American voter. The alternatives were an unabashed plutocrat and more progressive candidates in parties that did not have a chance in our 2 party system. I also felt that since Obama didn’t have to run again he would be more supportive of his base, which came through for him again, rather than treat them with the disdain he showed them in his first term.

Unfortunately, it appears that his positions in second term may look very much like the first term. He did not accomplish the “Grand Bargain” of selling out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid during his first term, thanks to the Republicans wanting even more draconian cuts to our social safety net. This time around he’s proposed attacking Social Security using a chained CPI cost of living formula that can have many seniors eating pet food in future years – in spite of Democratic promises that Social Security would be off the table in the fiscal cliff negotiations. He even got Nancy Pelosi to agree to proposed cuts in Social Security in return for withdrawing his proposal to raise the Medicare age from 65-67 – which she insisted was unacceptable.

Obama promised consistently during the campaign that the Bush temporary tax cuts would be eliminated for those earning over $250,000. However, he has now proposed raising that to $400,000 and is expected to raise it to $500,000 before the sellout is complete. That does not raise enough revenues to impact the deficit so the monies had to be sought elsewhere. Hence, seniors may be thrown under the bus. We can expect that cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are soon to follow. The rest of the safety net cuts will be thrown over to Baucus’ committee – a politician who has totally sold his soul to the corporations.

While recent news coverage has focused primarily on the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, Obama has quietly conducted negotiations that will further hollow out the middle class so that the wealthiest 2%, corporations and the military can continue to live high on the hog. Those wealthy recipients of his largess are currently so bloated they would not even miss the modest tax increases that have been proposed. Further, it was always understood that those Bush tax cuts would be temporary. It seems unconscionable that a Democratic president who ran on hope and change would cooperate with the Republicans to increase the already large disparity between the 1% and everyone else. Unfortunately, we are continuing to experience a significant transfer of national wealth from the middle class to the wealthy and powerful.

Seniors have lived through an era of ongoing theft of their economic security. First corporations eliminated fixed retirement pensions in favor of 401Ks largely funded by employees. Next banks were deregulated to allow those 401Ks to lose approximately half of their value in the 2008 meltdown with no accountability on the part of the banksters. Now Social Security benefits may be reduced although Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit – it is funded by a trust fund paid into by recipients and their employers.

Shame on you Obama!

What can we do to stop the march of sending seniors over the economic cliff in their retirement years? We need a strong and vital movement that mobilizes many of those who will be affected but have not been politically active. We need to encourage everyone who is concerned about this situation to use their creative thinking to support such a movement. OSD inspired similar Occupy organizations throughout the United States. Perhaps concerned seniors can begin a network of Grey Panthers throughout the United States that would protest and lobby the Congress and the president. If nothing is done the theft of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy and the corporations will continue unabated. As Warren Buffet indicated there has already been a class war and his class won. It is time to reverse that victory.

Wake up America before it is too late!
Vera Moldt

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Point Loma Democratic Club of which she is a member.

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