FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Smear Campaign Against Social Security

by JACK RASMUS

With the interim ‘debt ceiling/government shutdown’ agreement reached last week between the Obama administration and the Teaparty-driven U.S. House of Representatives, the real negotiations on deficit cutting—aka Austerity American Style—are about to begin again.

A long campaign peddling falsehoods around social security and medicare has created a myth that they are facing a budget and fiscal crisis. This claim will be rolled out by Democrats and Republicans alike, to justify cutting programs for the poorest Americans, while handing tax breaks to the richest corporation.

Both Obama and the Republicans in the House were agreed last summer, before the Teaparty faction upset the negotiations agenda by injecting the Obamacare issue, to proceed toward cutting ‘entitlements’ and seeking Tax Code Overhaul. With the Teapartyers in temporary retreat, Boehner and the Republicans have now returned to their initial strategy of of demanding entitlement cuts for a budget deal, and Obama has indicated that he is prepared to meet them halfway.

At the center of coming negotiations will be hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed cuts to social security and medicare, in exchange for a longer term debt ceiling extension beyond the November 2014 midterm congressional elections. In the ‘ mix’ for an agreement will also be big corporate tax cuts in exchange for token, ‘smoke and mirror’ tax loophole closings, as Tax Code legislation moving through Congress comes to a concurrent vote.

Obama recent record on social security and medicare cuts includes his 2014 budget –  where he cut $630 billion.  On the flip side of this austerity for the poor is Obama’s largess for business, and his support for dropping the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%.

It is important to make clear that neither social security or medicare are facing a long term financial crisis.

A closer look at the 2014 budget and at reports by social security-medicare trustees shows that problems exist for financials of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) within the social security program, however, the retirement benefits program in social security does not suffer these issues. Nevertheless, Obama is proposing to cut future social security retirement benefits. The ‘fix’ goes beyond the problem.

Similarly, problems exist with funding for Part D prescription drugs program within Medicare, which has never been funded by a tax since its inception in 2005. Under the program drug companies are allowed to price gouge everyone on drug costs – so there is need for reform. However, Medicare’s basic hospital and physicians programs – Part A and Part B, are fully funded for the next decade, and these programs should not be painted with the same brush.

It is time to get the facts straight, before the hype and lies start to flow once again in the run up to the next deficit cutting-tax cuts for the rich deal that is now on the agenda once again.

Dr. Jack Rasmus is the author of the book, “Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few”, published by Pluto Press, London, April 2012. He is the host of the weekly internet radio show from New York, ‘Alternative Visions’, on the Progressive Radio Network, prn.fm. His website is www.kyklosproductions.com and he blogs at jackrasmus.com. His twitter handle is drjackrasmus.    

For more analysis of Obama’s 2014 Budget follow link to this June 2013 interview, on the Progressive Radio Network.

More articles by:

Jack Rasmus is the author of  ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy’, Clarity Press, 2015. He blogs at jackrasmus.com. His website is www.kyklosproductions.com and twitter handle, @drjackrasmus.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Greenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail