Friday, October 18, 2013

The Grand Sell Out

Heads I win, tails you lose

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

Whatever may be said of the GOP members of Congress trying to kill Obamacare, one thing is certain. Someone is backing their play.

Whether it’s the promise of campaign contributions, the threat of well funded election opposition or the lure of post Congressional riches, there is a lot of money in play.

What does the money want?

Probably not what the tea partier next door wants, which is a dramatically smaller federal presence in their lives; a goal with which I suspect a lot of Americans are increasingly in sympathy.

But that is not precisely what the money wants.

The one thing you know for sure about modern American government is that it is a government of, by and for established corporate interests. In Washington, corporate profit trumps all.

Obamacare is a windfall for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. “Big pharma” is big, and the finance industry (of which insurance is a part) is the now the biggest of all, by some reports accounting for 60 percent of U.S. domestic profits. They are not going to let Obamcare go down. And neither will the president. It is his “legacy.”

Without it, what will remain for the history ebooks will be eight years of crushing unemployment and more than five million homes foreclosed, an assault on constitutional rights, massive student debt, an Orwellian surveillance and police state and mindlessly expensive foreign military involvement.

And the health care legislation has the president’s name on it. It is not negotiable and everybody knows it.
So Obamacare is a stalking horse. What do the global corporate elite really want?


Where will they get it?


Not of course from the corporate entitlements: tax breaks and billions in subsidies to banks, energy, defense, agribusiness, IT and the gods of modern American business. But rather, from Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment and any spending that does not go directly to the corporate bottom line and ever more fantastic salaries for corporate CEOs and dividends for shareholders (the less than 1 percent of the American people).

President Obama put these programs on the chopping block two years ago; the idea got no traction. But corporate America has not given up, because the big prize is big. Get rid of Social Security, and the employer contribution goes away.

Well, not away, exactly. More like diverted — into CEO salaries and shareholder dividends.
And Wall Street gets to play with the $1 trillion a year which Social Security collects, every year, while they load up private retirement plans with fees and commissions, as they have already done with 401ks.

So the puppet masters who pull the strings in both parties have got the president and Congress doing this little dance of crisis — the corporate media providing the sound track — being maneuvered into position to do their deal, bow nicely and end it in a great show of democratic civility.

The American people are being set up for what passes for compromise these days: heads, the 1 percent win, tails the 99 percent lose.

There is of course another possible outcome.

The people still will not accept more austerity for the 99 percent, and the predatory puppet masters will decide they are tired of waiting and collapse the economy entirely; in which case Social Security and about everything else that supports the people and American prosperity may disappear quite suddenly and quite completely.

In either case, it is time for the American people to get ready to shuffle the deck for a Second New Deal.