The President’s offer of preemptive concessions on Social Security is not merely deluded it is a second term betrayal confirming that he has joined the “looting class.” With his lips still moist from the empty words of his Inaugural Address, he is sending seniors to the dumpsters and America on a course off the retirement cliff.
The first rule of negotiation is not to negotiate against one’s self. Yet the leader of the free world has made clear that he learned nothing from the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, where he was ridden hard and put away wet by the freshman Tea Party.
The American people didn’t even have a seat at the table before this president offered Republican’s what they’ve for years attempted to extort—structural cuts to Social Security benefits and savings from Medicare.
The proposed cut to Social Security in the form of a “chained CPI” is a slight of hand benefits cut on seniors calculating annual cost of living increases so that it will not keep up with the actual costs seniors have to pay for things like food and health care. Social Security is a regressive flat tax capped at $113,700–the same rate for everyone including the 5.2% of Americans who pay nothing beyond the tax earning cap. Worse, this gratuitous betrayal was offered at a time when the Employee Benefits Research Institute finds that 57% of American workers have less than one year’s annual income saved.
Not to be minimized is Americans are on the heels of a Wall Street-driven financial crisis which fleeced millions of people of jobs, pensions and home equity that were supposed to deliver a dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. “We, the people” of America, have become an unrepresented class where our president offers to impose austerity on an already faltering economy in the same breath as he proclaims his resolve “that a great nation must care for the vulnerable.”
The President knows well that corporate pensions have all but followed dinosaurs into extinction and that public pensions are consistently the target of cynical austerity hawks that use state and municipal budget crises as their excuse to make war on workers’ retirement.
How are “We, the people” not betrayed when our president fails to address mass unemployment, shows no resolve to revive the middle class, redress our Gilded Age inequality and inch by inch dismantles the social safety net for the Nation’s most vulnerable?
Most importantly, why shouldn’t Americans believe themselves already betrayed by this president who has catered to this elite “looting class” since 2008 and preemptively offers up the crown jewel of their agenda—cuts in the obligations of Social Security and Medicare so that they won’t have to pay as much in taxes?