Friday, February 11

Two Guns, ready to Fire

in the next week, California Senator Barbara Boxer plans to intoduce two "smoking gun" memos to Congress. One of which is apparently a leaked document written in January by an assistant of Karl Rove which states that "after 60 years we finally have our chance to [destroy] Social Security".

The second document is from a Neo-Conservative Thinktank and lays out a "Leninist" strategy for ending Social Security. That strategy involves ensuring that seniors are neutralized, by assurances that they will not be affected.

"I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way." 2005 State of the Union.

The second involves establishing a coalition of banking and media interests who will work together to help sell the plan to the public.

Not that I find any of this a surprise. George W. Bush claimed in 1978 when he was a candidate for Congress that Social Security was going to run out of money in 1988. He was wrong then. He's wrong now, when he claims that unless we change the system the outgoing benefits will outstrip the incoming revenues for Social Security in 2018. Under his plan of diverting FICA taxes to personal accounts - the latest information is that this revenue deficit will begin even sooner, in 2012. This is not a plan to "fix" the system, far from it.

In his Budget Bush claims that he is cutting "programs that don't work". Really? Part of his cuts are to supplemental funds for our police and firedepartments. He's cut farm subsidies which help keep food prices low, as well as Section 8 housing support, the (Republican founded) Even Start program for ESL parents, Food stamps and far far more all the while making the previous tax cuts permenent and introducing even more cuts for person earning more than $200k per year.

It's clear that the long term goal is to fully implement that age-old neo-con adage of "Starving the Beast". In this view, the poor, infirm, young and old are considered barnicles on the side of our country and economy that need to be scraped off, and make us a far more lean and mean economic machine. Hardcore Libertarians believe that without the welfare state propping up the weaker members of our society, and keeping them in dependance - our populace will be forced to rise up in a outpouring of generousity and charity that will create a life that is better for all. They claim that "America is the most generous nation in the world" - despite the recent and clear evidence that many other nations in the world are more than willing and able to give to the needy victims of the Indonesian Tsunami than was America.

America is a generous nation indeed, however it remains an open question whether the existing infrastructure for secular and faith-based aid to the needy is anywhere near robust enough to handle the demand for those services. Common sense says that some people are going to fall through the cracks, and fall hard.

Could taking such hard-knocks and learning to stand on their own feet ultimately be better for them? That too, remains to be seen. In the long term, there may be some few benefits to a more austere approach to the "common good", but in the near term and forseeable future it's clear that the most vulnerable of us are being asked to pay the highest price for the war and for Bush precious tax cuts. The Bush Administration is not playing straight with the American people. Their goals are not what they claim, their true agenda remains hidden behind false platitudes and assurances. With majorities in both houses of congress, they may be able to rail-road these plans onto the American people even without the support of Democrats -- but I suspect this may prove to be a grave tactical error.

The poor and middle-class outnumber the rich. If the neo-con wing of the Republican Party continues to marginalize the desires of all but the hyper-rich, while the Democrats succeed in holding the line as their staunch defenders - even while losing the House and Senate votes implement these plans. They risk losing control of the House and Senate - possibly both - as well as the Presidency in 2008.

So, although it may seem odd, I am cheering Bush on. That's right - be as arrogant and two-faced as you can be Geedub. Let that electoral over-confidence guide you right off the cliff.
Me and most of America whose values include the tenent that "how we treat the least among us, is how we treat God", will be smiling when you and the other neo-cons finally hit bottom and are completely discredited, never to darken our elections again.


1 comment:

Vyan said...

The Boxer Interview was on NPR's "Fresh Air" on February 10th.

The relevant information occurs at 12:18 within the interview. She quotes the Rove Assistant memo, written Jan 3rd 2005 and stating "For the first time in six decades, the Social Security Battle is one we can win."

One quote from the 1983 Leninist Strategy document was "Unlike many other socialists at the time, Lenin recognized fundamental changes is contingent both upon a movement ability to create a focused political coalition and upon it's success isolating and weakening it's opponents". She goes on to point out that everything suggested in the paper is being done by the President.