Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Liberals' Lament

President Obama's remaining liberal supporters are in agony.

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

One by one Mr. Obama has abandoned the hopeful promises of his 2008 campaign, and has emerged as the champion of established wealth, Wall Street and war, and the global club of parasites in pinstripes.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was compelled to note that with his proposals to go after what remains of middle class security, Mr. Obama sounds no different than the Darwinian predators in the GOP.

First, Vice President Biden, the administration’s “regular Joe,” was dispatched to give cover to “negotiations” that proposed budget cuts of between $1.5 trillion and $1.7 trillion over 10 years.

Hit hardest were Pell Grants for college students, (while tuition goes through the roof), food stamps (while one in four American children already depends on them), transportation funding (while roads and bridges crumble) and pensions for federal employees.

Not members of Congress, of course.

Then the president put Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block.

Medicaid helps mostly those with no resources, a number that is rising with a vengeance. The administration has proposed to cut as much as $100 billion over the next 10 years, mostly by reducing funding to the states, cutting the Children’s Health Insurance Program and imposing restrictions on the states’ ability to tax hospitals and other health-care providers.
Corporate profit will be protected.

This will further squeeze the states and cut off health care for hundreds of thousands, and over the next 10 years millions, many of them the same children who increasingly lack a decent or sufficient diet. Nice.

Medicare is targeted for the biggest cuts, reportedly $353 billion over 10 years: cuts in prevention, medical education and public health programs. The future. Reimbursements will be slashed for hospitals that run up losses by treating patients who cannot afford to pay.

Charity and compassion must be discouraged.

The cuts in Medicare, combined with another administration proposal to raise the eligibility from age 65 to 67 will take a toll: An already large and growing number of older Americans will find themselves choosing between eating, getting a prescription, paying rent and paying their doctor.

Finally, Mr. Obama proposes cuts in Social Security, now, even though the fund is sound for another 20 years.

Two-thirds of the nation’s elderly rely on Social Security for most of their income, and for one-third, Social Security accounts for 90 percent of their income.

Wall Street has wiped out the investments, savings and home equity of millions, and Social Security is a life line for millions who worked all their lives but now have little left to carry them through old age.

But after months of bogus fear mongering over the debt and deficit as cover, Mr. Obama apparently concluded it was safe to turn his back on those struggling millions.

The change the White has proposed is an accounting devise designed to understate inflation and justify declining monthly support as people age. As noted by the actuaries of Social Security, the longer you receive benefits, the smaller they will be. Retire at 65, and by 85 the benefit level would be cut $1,000 a year; by age 95, $1,400 a year.

In Mr. Obama’s America, the longer you live the worse it will get.

Not for everyone, of course.

While wages for most Americans have remained flat for decades, the wealthiest saw their income double under Mr. Clinton, and triple again under Mr. Bush.

Americans have begun to wake up to the staggering transfer of wealth into the hands of a few, and with elections approaching the president and many in his party now say they want to raise the taxes of the richest.

Don’t hold your breath. Mr. Obama and too many members of Congress now depend heavily on the people who can pony up $75,000 per election in campaign contributions. So they will talk about taxing those Americans, but never put it to a vote without an off-set to give it back somewhere else.

Krugman offered up some pop psychology to explain Mr. Obama’s failure to stand up to the shameless monopoly of prosperity in America and protect the many millions now struggling.

“Mr. Obama is clearly still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences.”

Translated: He’s just too nice and a little too naive for the job.

Earth to Paul Krugman.

Mr. Obama and the GOP are equally in the pocket of the nation’s established wealth, the latter set up to make the former look good in an increasingly grotesque parody of representative government.

Mr. Obama will be re-elected in a set piece against a GOP candidate pushed to the right of Ebenezer Scrooge. And while it is possible that champions will emerge in the next Congress to join the few brave souls now there who want to mount a resistance to the destruction of the American middle class, it is unlikely.

Reapportionment will make the safe seats safer, and campaign contributions, an army of lobbyists and the prospect of lucrative post-office sinecures will keep many, if not most members in line.

If there is to be a restoration of the prosperity of the American middle class and some hope for those who aspire to a better future for every American, leaders must be found outside Washington.

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