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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, April 29, 2013

How do you steal Social Security?

Paul Krugman has a good summary of the economic theories in play during the Great Recession. It's an interesting read if you haven't been following him since Enron collapsed like I have.
One of the many things he's said consistently is: Some of them see the crisis as an opportunity to dismantle the social safety net. And just about everyone in the policy elite takes cues from a wealthy minority that isn’t actually feeling much pain.
I'm going to refer to those who want to dismantle the social safety net using a phrase from Jim Hightower, the title to his book Thieves In High Places or TIHP's for short.
So how do you take down the social safety net? Okay social security works on the principle that those working contribute which pays for those receiving and when you retire the younger ones keep the program going. As long as there are a substancial number of workers more than retired the trust account keeps growing. THIP's started drooling over the Social Security trust the day it was created and about to grab all that wonderful cash. To the greedy there is never enough money. So what plan did they come up with? I'm not an insider but this is one way it could be done:
  • Control the Media. This can't be done if there are owners of News Broadcasts, radio stations and newspapers who let Woodwards and Bernsteins run amok. Reagan deregulated the media and the limit on how many stations and newspapers one person or corporation could own and soon all our news was in the hands the TIHP's. Spin everything the way the Billionares want it and the zombies watching their televisions will believe it. Remember Citizen Kane? Wife: Really, the things you say in your editorials, what will people think?  Kane: What I tell them.
  • Buy all the politicians. Citizens United may have paved the way lately for unlimited contributions by the rich, but the cost of campaigning since 1948 with the introduction of television turned all of our politicians local, state and national into money whores. Since TIHP's own all the propaganda outlets this lets them buy politicians so they can use their product so what you give with one hand is given back to the other. A nice closed system.
  •  Dehumanization. As with all things you want to destroy it has to be dehumanized. Ronald Reagan started it with his Welfare Queens feeding the lie that all those getting foodstamps don't need them. This led to Bill Clinton "Changing welfare as we know it." A neat trick when you can get both political parties to do your dirty work for you.
  • Fear tactics. Tell the Big Lie over and over again until everyone knows it's true. The baby boom will use up all the money in the social security trust. We can't afford universal health coverage. Illegal immigrants are ruining this country. These lies strike at the pillars of the safety net. It makes people doubt their future, while reducing the number of workers paying into the system to keep it working.
  • Ruin the economy. The social safety net after all isn't anyone's concern if there's only a few unfortunates using it and what money is spent on it is relatively small. Well Reagan launched the attack by deregulating the Savings and Loans. A few at the top partied hardy wiping out over a Trillion Dollars of tax payer money, but the elite took some hits. Keating and some others went to prison even. The agencies then in place shut down the institutions in trouble, reorganized them, stabilized the industry recovering much of what was lost. What FDR put in place worked, but for the TIHP's it worked too well, so they again reached out to Good Old Boy Bill Clinton who signed the bill ending the Glass-Steagal act. This was the bill that as Paul Krugman and others said kept banking boring. I cost the tax payers 800 billion dollars that the banks have been sitting on like a dragon watching over it's pile of gold for the last six years.  If our economy doesn't recover to the pre-2008 level until 2020, how much money that would have gone into the social security trust under a normal economy is lost? We are looking at an economic lost generation. A generation the social security trust depends on for its continuence. This alone explains why the stimulus was labeled by the media as a failure the minute it was passed and austerity has been the accepted economic policy ever since, even after five years of dismal failure to revive the economy. If your'e going to raid social security you have to starve it first.
  • Fight expensive, futile and needless wars. Trillions of dollars spent with no end in sight running up a huge national debt with nothing to gain. Both King George I and his idiot son bragged about winning, but what did they win? To win there has to be something that was better before the war than after it and that hasn't happened.
  • Tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. Before Dubbya stole the 2000 election when it came time to figure my income taxes I didn't need to pay, and didn't get a refund. My tax preparer did a good job of keeping a ballance between what was owed and what we earned. After Bush's tax cuts we had a rude awakening because the tax code raised the deduction percentage to income so high that even with a mortgage and medical bills we never reached that percentage resulting in a $1,500 to 2,500 increase in taxes all eight years of his miserable reign. Obama has settled things down again. Those whose income was under $250,000 did not get a tax cut instead they paid more, but no one in the media ever pointed this out. The middle class was also hit with higher property taxes, sales taxes, and governmental fees while getting few pay raises.
  • Kill the unions. Good Old Uncle Ronny started this by busting the Air Traffic Controllers Union and non-stop union bashing by every Republican over the last fifty years. Transferring jobs overseas has effictively destroyed the unions in the private sector and now they are focusing on Police, Firefighers, civil workers, state workers, teachers. Anyting goes wrong blame the unions.
  • Privatize everything. Schools, prisons, road repair, motor vehicle liscensing and registration, redlight and speeding tickets with cameras where the private corporations gets most of the money. This destorys one of the mainstays of the middle class: government workers with good salaries, benefits, and job security and turning it over to minimum wage drones.
  • Make the sick and elderly an economic burden. Didn't Ebinezer Scrooge when told that there are poor and sick who may die say it best? "Then it will decrease the surplus population" Never let there be universal health care, affordable nursing care for the disabled and elderly. Why should octogenarians and older keep drawing their social security checks. Cut off all medical care and bury them. Only the rich should live this long and have the luxury of decent doctors and facilities. It looks bad when minimum wage drones live longer than Billionares. What else explains all the lies, screaming and caterwallering about the National Health Care Act? Of course even to get this sickly and weak national health coverage it was purposely turned into a poison pill for the unemployed and minimum wage workers.
  • Raid the Social Security Trust Fund. It started again under Reagan. The screaming that the roof was going to cave in and something had to be done. He fixed it by raising what is withheld from our of pay checks. No one likes a pay cut. It didn't need to be fixed, but this started everyone being worried, and then the news media starts telling everyone going to college that by the time they retire there won't be a social security. Then with the new media telling everyone something needs to be done again, the TIHP's come up with a plan to turn the trust over to Wall Street. Maybe they were a little too obvious with this, because when Dubbya after stealing the 2004 election tried to sell it he hit a brick wall. Oops maybe their lies didn't have everyone that scared yet. Now they've shifted to a voucher system.
The one thing I know about the TIHP's is they never give up and they hold all the cards as long as people keep electing their lap dogs.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Hell of a Post. Spot on as far as I am concerned.

P M Prescott said...

Thanks Yogi.