The House Republicans will cave in but should not extend the payroll tax cut. The Democrats are playing politics with the Social Security System. The payroll tax was to be a temporary one-year deduction from 6.2% to 4.2%. Yet that money is used to support Social Security, created by the great Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935. It is time for the Democrats to stop looting Social Security and protect its trust fund. Whether or not Social Security is a ponzi scheme or not as Gov Rick Perry alleges, it is legal and the main element of financial support for millions of seniors. Yes it is pay as you go; no one has the actual money they contributed set aside for them. Workers support a Moscow, Idaho woman on social security now. Obviously a full-employment economy is good for all and for Social Security because more money is flowing into the system, even if it ends up in Goldman Sachs’s Treasury Department.
President Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act of 1935. It is fitting his memorial is adjacent to that of Dr King’s on the Mall or literally on the Tidal Basin.
As far as extending unemployment compensation, both political parties should not tinker with that either and extend the benefits indefinitely. That should be a separate bill that does not hold hostage the Social Security Trust Fund. Medicare reimbursements for physicians should also not be reduced and also separated from the stupid payroll-tax extension bill.
What the nation needs is more deficit spending and more stimulus and more revenues from the rich. It needs jobs, a new war on poverty programme that would replace the mordant one of the 1960s. According to the Census Bureau, one out of two Americans are poor or struggling to make ends meet.
The nation is gripped by poverty and war. I know the Pentagon is the focus of evil, to paraphrase the great class warrior Ronald Reagan, and that its current imperial status is the third rail in taboo land. Yet that is the place and from its intelligence-terror network (DIA, DIA, NSA) to reallocate revenues to pay for many of the programmes needed to revitalise the country. That won’t happen of course despite the “mandatory” defence cuts in the wake of the failure of the Congressional Super Committee to find a path toward fiscal solvency. With Senator John “I am no longer a leftist critic of war and racism” Kerry on it, you knew he would talk it to death as if it were the Winter Soldier Investigation. We should investigate this turncoat. In any event, the nation is debating tax cuts; it should be debating the role of the military, the need to have a stimulus far beyond the $787 billion one that Barack Obama jammed through in 2009.
But for now: stop the rape of Social Security and let the payroll tax reduction expire; extend indefinitely unemployment compensation; prevent a reduction in Medicare reimbursements for physicians and attack the economic miseries with a new, New Deal with WPAs, FERAs, PWAs, CCCs and the like.