Saturday, 10 November 2012

Elections II – The Bad

[Second of three parts]

Subway track workers say the most dangerous moment for fatal accidents isn’t when a train is barreling towards you. An old hand knows where to find a concave safety shelter while working on repairs and step out of the way.

No, the worst moment for sudden subway death is when the train has roared past, and you feel safe. That’s when you move onto the tracks without looking both ways—just when the next unexpected, unheard train is approaching.

The soon-to-be-forgotten Mittster is the dangerous train that has just rattled through our lives on its way to historical oblivion. Given how long it took to pass, it felt several light-years long. That train, deadly as it was, isn’t going to flatten us despite its size, speed and ugliness.

But Obama’s might.

Now that our guard is down, Obama and his neo-liberal cabal have free rein to turn the will of the people on its head. In fact, he’s promised to do exactly that, and we, our ears still ringing from the danger we sidestepped, are deaf to what he’s saying. The ‘fiscal cliff’ is just the latest bogus, induced panic over the government’s books to be used to convince us that Something Must Be Done to right the fiscal ship of state and that that Something involves taking our public assets like Social Security and Medicare and starting to strip them away.

Oh, it will feel like minor surgery at the beginning, but given the RepubliDemocrat consensus gathering force like a new Stage 1 hurricane, the essential elements will soon be in place: that Social Security is ‘bankrupt’ and must be ‘fixed’ by reducing the benefits paid out in ‘entitlements’ to retirees. (Isn’t it odd that a social insurance program that we pay for during decades of employee is suddenly an ‘entitlement’? Does your car insurance company argue that anyone who submits a claim for accident damages is a whiny ‘entitled’ boomer?) In addition, despite our still-warm rejection of the Ryan plan to privatize and wreck Medicare, the long knives promptly will come out for that successful program as well.

Glenn Greenwald has a convincing narrative of how this occur with ample posturing by the ‘defenders’ of Social Security saying that this punishment is for our own good. Many economics and finance writers have been predicting what they call the Great Betrayal as its political rationalizations gel and set in the public mind, and they can even spot the rhetoric as its engineers from the Obama camp and attendant echo chambers in the big newspapers drum these talking points into us as if they were Revealed Truth. Here’s just the latest of a dozen ideological attacks from a former Obama team player, now employed by welfare queen Citigroup.

I plan to pound away at the scam regularly in this modest space while looking for an organizational vehicle to join for pushback, some sort of Occupy Social Security. (It will be far more difficult with Democrats in power as people will refuse to believe that such a lovely family would be at the service of Wall Street and the piggybanks. Romney would have been a much easier target.) I assume the long-term trends are unfavorable since the 1% no longer needs a prosperous middle or working class to sustain its accumulation. Instead, having milked dry the housing market, the parasitical finance sector needs new revenue streams to divert from public utility into private pockets.

The vast pool of capital set aside for Social Security is the next target (the huge spending on public education is already being looted). The bloated robber barons of today want to get their filthy mitts on it, and unless we put aside our party blinders and look at what is happening to the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, they will.

Feeling disempowered? Hopeless? Don’t be. Here’s a way to signal your discontent with the stealth attack by signing a petition against the rumored appointment to Treasury Secretary of Old-People-Should-Eat-Catfood Commission chairman Erskine Bowles. Bowles held up the Demo half of the ‘bipartisan’ attack on Social Security along with Republican Neanderthal Alan Simpson after Obama put them together on a blue-ribbon panel and gave them the mandate to justify what the big boys have already decided has to be done: slash, cut & burn our government-backed pensions. It’s a simple way of showing Washington that we’re on to what’s coming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the time for action is now. That second train is coming fast. Having read Obama's remarks since (and just before the election) I think it's pretty clear that he's signaling that he'll compromise on pretty much anything. I turned off his taped election night speech when the first person he mentioned planning to sit down with in coming weeks to discuss the country's future was MITT ROMNEY. Unbelievable.