THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DEFICIT REDUCTION COMMISSION IS MORE LIKELY TO ATTACK THE SAFETY NET THAN IT IS TO ATTACK GREED.  With conservative Republican Allan Simpson and conservative Democrat Erskine Bowles leading a commission that is for all practical purposes evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans, Medicare and Social Security benefit reductions will be a highly probable outcome of the charade that is about to take place.  Why Democrats?  Why?

This is reminiscent of another Democratic Administration, i.e. the Clinton Administration, which cowardly slashed the safety net for poor women and children.  After decades of neo-conservative propaganda disguised as social science, President Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and proceeded to prove it by cooperating with Republicans to make life much more difficult for families needing public assistance.  

Yes, I said neo-conservative.  They were around long before they beat the drums for war in the Bush II Administration.  This group of conservative guiding lights, led by the ex-socialist Irving Kristol, populated the conservative, so-called, “think tanks” such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Bradley Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation and others in and around Washington, D.C.  Their mantra was as follows:  give people public assistance and they will become dependent; kick them off of AFDC (now TANF) and you will be doing them a favor.

This nonsense was spread by, amongst others, Edward Banfield, Irving Kristol, James Q. Wilson, George Gilder, and Charles Murray (one of the authors of the viciously racist Bell Curve).  The neo-cons gained academic respectability through their now defunct journal The Public Interest.  These fraudulent academics were funded by the same bunch of right-wing billionaires that are now funding the tea baggers.

  Make no mistake about it, the mainstream media bought into the idea that budget deficits were due to lazy, shiftless people who needed a jolt of tough love.  Now the mainstream media has bought into the idea – pushed by the right wing – that Social Security and Medicare will cripple the U.S. government.  The New York Times, in a news item rather than an editorial, had the following to say yesterday, February 19th:

“…Whether or not the commission succeeds in sending proposals to Congress after Dec.1, its deliberations will force both parties to address whether to raise more revenues and make long-range reductions in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – the tough steps many economists say are essential to controlling a debt growing larger than the economy.”

Which economists are saying this?  It is interesting that the “news” article (“Bipartisan Commission Is Established To Cut Debt”) didn’t say which economists are saying that “reductions in these programs are essential to controlling the deficit.  The following is what Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman had to say in an op ed piece in the very same newspaper on March 28, 2008:

 “The Social Security system won’t be in trouble:  it will, in fact, still have a growing trust fund, because of the interest that the trust earns on its accumulated surplus.  The only way Social Security gets in trouble is if Congress votes not to honor U.S. government bonds held by Social Security.”

In future posts, I will be discussing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in depth.  I will present evidence that controlling greed on the part of the Hospital-Insurance-Pharmaceutical-Medical Device-Physician Complex, which funnels massive amounts of money to political campaigns, is the path to a sane health care system for the elderly.  I will discuss the Greenspan Commission’s fix of Social Security and other taxing issues.