September 10th, 2010at 07:58am Posted by Eli
Obama’s handpicked Catfood Commission, continuing to lick the third rail of American politics:
If back-channel sources are correct, the Deficit Commission is finalizing a deal that would increase Social Security benefits slightly for low-income recipients while cutting them for everyone else. The Commissioners apparently believe that putting this “progressive” gloss on a package of unneeded cuts would allow them to move forward with their predetermined anti-Social Security agenda.
The new proposal would pit middle-class seniors against the elderly poor, forcing them to compete for a stripped-down pool of dollars. The end result would be the one that many Commission members have pursued for years: to cut the most stable and successful program in the Federal government’s history.
The cynicism is breathtaking: The commission is essentially trying to use the poor as hostages or human shields for their efforts to gut Social Security, in essence saying, “But you liberals luuurrrve the poor, right? You do want to help the poor, right?” It’s a very similar approach to the one the Democrats used on healthcare reform, where they used the people that the bill would help against those of us who had major concerns about the insurance and pharma corporations it would help, and the millions of people that it wouldn’t help, and would even hurt.
The other frustrating – but thoroughly unsurprising – element of this (aside from the fact that Social Security is self-funded and therefore has nothing to do with the “deficit commission’s” nominal purview) is that the commission steadfastly pretends that the payroll tax cap doesn’t exist. Raising or removing that cap to put more of the burden on the people who can afford it is never even discussed as an option – no, the only way to “stabilize” or “protect” Social Security is to cut it and put the burden on the middle class retirees who rely on it.
If the commission goes through with recommending Social Security cuts, and its proposal gets through Congress and the White House, Obama can forget about a second term. That’s not a threat, just a prediction.