What about those other entitlements?
0 comment Thursday, October 9, 2014 |
Kudos to Paul Craig Roberts. He's written a piece about the assault on 'entitlements', especially Social Security, in the wake of the huge budget deficits.
Suddenly, in the last six months or so, it almost seems as if someone declared open season on the old and the disabled. Once upon a time, only the real curmudgeons decried things like Social Security, and suggested cutting off this program, which for many older Americans is their only source of sustenance.
Hard economic times have caused a commensurate hardness of hearts on the part of many conservatives and libertarians. Actually, though, I don't think that is true, when I reflect on it. I think they have always been hard-hearted, and now feel emboldened to say some heartless things that would not have been said in polite company, definitely not in Christian circles, anyway.
I haven't read many of Roberts' pieces on VDare. I do agree with him about the costly and immoral wars in Afghanistan and Iran, but it seemed he wrote about nothing else, and I generally go to VDare to read articles about immigration and the demographic warfare on this country. Roberts never seemed interested in any of that, but I give him credit for addressing this issue and speaking out where nobody else would. I fully expect the 'FReepers' and other conservative/libertarian mammon-worshippers will rake him over the coals for this column, but he is right.
If all the people baying for the elimination or drastic reduction in Social Security are doing so because they care about reducing out-of-control government spending, why are they not first attacking the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? They are not only an enormous waste of money, but a waste of the lives of our young people. Yet none of these right-wing advocates of reducing spending will mention the costly wars.
''There is not enough non-military discretionary spending in the budget to cover the cost of the wars even if every dollar is cut. As long as the $1,200 billion ($1.2 trillion) annual budget for the military/security complex is off limits, nothing can be done about the U.S. budget deficit except to renege on obligations to the elderly, confiscate private assets, or print enough money to inflate away all debts.''
He mentions, too, the factor of offshoring of business and the loss of much of our tax base (due to unemployment). The budget-slashers don't usually address those things.
''In America destruction is done with jobs offshoring, financial deregulation, and fraudulent financial instruments. In Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Pakistan) is it done with bombs and drones.
Where is all this leading?
It is leading to the destruction of Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans have convinced a large percentage of voters that America is in trouble, not because it wastes 20% of the annual budget on wars of aggression and Homeland Security porn-scanners, but because of the poor and retirees.''
Roberts mentions the fact that between 1984 and 2009, Americans contributed $2 trillion more to Social Security and Medicare than was paid out. What happened, he asks, to that surplus? Roberts says that it went for wars and bailouts, mainly.
But for whatever reason, it is being blamed on those greedy old folks who wanted to live in luxury on their Social Security checks when they retired.
When the proposed government health care system was working its way through Congress, I wrote then about the way that it transferred money from the old and chronically ill to the young, and it seemed to assume that the old are a burden and should be abandoned and neglected to death, while we used resources mostly for those who are still productive. And think about the demographics there: the old are the Whitest of all age groups, while the young are the least White. It is clear that there was hardly an impartial distribution of health care here. It looked like an effort to hasten the demise of the old, and transfer spending to the young, many of whom are foreign-born, and not citizens.
At the time, I was shocked by some of the commentary here and there which showed outright hostility to old people. 'Good riddance' or 'they were all a bunch of hippies' or 'they sold us out' were the kinds of comments heard here and there. I was taken aback. Is this what we've come to?
I believe Rush Limbaugh and other such 'conservatives' are fueling this kind of attitude. This is where I part company with the 'conservatives' and the libertarians who worship the Market and profits, and who have made a god of small government. These people who think the abstract principle of 'smaller government' (which I generally favor) is an absolute that must be sought even at the cost of human lives.
And if they think we must cut budgets drastically, why not start with cutting all benefits (ALL benefits) to or for non-citizens, whether here or in their own countries. Why are the slashers not directing their zeal toward cutting all foreign aid or benefits for immigrants? There are plenty of places where cuts could and should be made. Yet we are willing only to sacrifice our own folk.
I wonder what those who favor eliminating Social Security or Medicare plan to do when they are old or otherwise rendered obsolete in the work force? Have they all got a few million socked away for their 'twilight years'? Are they all rolling in money like Rush Limbaugh or the budget-cutting Republicans who are set for life, with all their government perquisites and benefits?
But as Roberts says, the government no longer represents us, the American people; it represents the powerful and the elite.
But somehow most Republicans and libertarians have chosen to identify with the wealthy and the privileged, not with the common, ordinary man.
Perhaps there needs to be a party which will remember the common man, the little guy. As of now, neither major party cares about the man on the street, and we have been duped into thinking that they do, or that the interests of Big Business always coincide with the interests of the average American.
If I sound as though I have strayed off the 'conservative' reservation, I won't deny it. I don't make a god of 'small government' or The Market. I care about my folk and about the common good. If that makes me an anomaly, so be it. I am content to be a minority of one, if need be.

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