Now, the president knows, deep down, that America needs a total overhaul of nearly every element of government and the expenditures of public moneys. Fraud and corruption are common in everything from Medicare to defense contracting, with tax breaks and subsidies for big political donors running close behind. With Republicans howling at the deficit moon through the latest election cycle, Obama could not be blamed for creating the bad news, so he created the Deficit Commission himself, with orders to report back before Christmas. One can almost hear Br’er Rabbit begging Br’er Fox not to throw him in the briar bushes.
Now Sen. Simpson and former Clinton advisor Erskine Bowles are out with a first draft, and nearly every constituency imaginable is screaming as if they were being eviscerated alive, which most of them are. Homeowners would loose their mortgage interest deductions, parents could no longer deduct their kids, investors might see their capital gains taxes double and anyone born after the turn of the century will work a lot longer for less Social Security benefits. The preliminary draft does not recommend any of these draconian cures for America’s fiscal failings, simply laying out the measures needed to fix each problem in order.
Most observers agree that near none of the actions will be taken by the increasingly timid congress, particularly with the House Democrats demanding the newly empowered teabag majority make the cuts required to stop the hemorrhaging of dollars, mostly borrowed, in the budget. Some immediate move, however, could save Social Security in the short term.
Aside from making people work an extra 13 years to collect retirement, which won’t kick in for decades, how about we lift the cap on the Social Security tax, which currently sunsets at less than $100,000. Let the rich pay the same percentage as the line worker and see how much money it would generate from America’s millionaire class.
In taking extreme measures we need to remember that the numbers represent both oranges and apples, some of which are rotting in the barrel. Just because people live longer doesn’t mean they can work longer. Retirement means being worn out, and replacement is cheaper than repair from the companies point of view. Anyone laid off after age 50 should be able to collect retirement until they get another job. Long term unemployment is the future for industrial workers, regardless of which political gangsters are in charge in Washington, and now we know just how desperate things really are.
What we can do about it, is still an open question, but glad you asked.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.