Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Just Say Hell No!

One of the things that pisses me off the most about the people promoting a benefit-slashing Not-Grand Bargain is their utterly shameless hypocrisy. I mean, it's mind-boggling! Simpson and Bowles, not content with just making recommendations for their Cat Food Commission assignment, have taken their pathetic dog-and-pony show on the road for personal profit. As in $40,000.00 per speech. I'd call that personally profiting.

 On Alternet yesterday, Leo Gerard wrote that "Simpson, a former Republican Senator, and Bowles, a Morgan Stanley director, charge $40,000 a pop to promote their rejected scheme to fix the debt by slashing Social Security, Medicare and other programs for the middle class. That means every time they speak, Simpson and Bowles each pocket more than 2.5 times the $15,000 that a typical senior citizen gets from Social Security in an entire year.

The Simpson-Bowles personal profit tour reveals that for them, for their creation – the speciously labeled Campaign to Fix the Debt – and for the CEOs, right-wing groups and Republicans rallying round them, the effort has nothing to do with deficits or fixing anything. For them, it’s all about personal profit. And if their personal gain costs the vast middle class any sense of retirement security after a lifetime of paying into these earned benefit programs, well Simpson-Bowles & Co. are just fine with that". Read more about who's poured huge sums of money into developing that campaign here.

 And the CEOs that are part of the charade known as "Fix the Debt" for the most part haven't even successfully manged their own company retirement programs!  Leo Gerard continues, "An examination by the Institute for Policy Studies found that the 71 CEOs of public companies endorsing the campaign have set aside for themselves an average of $9 million in retirement funds from their corporations. That would pay each $110,000 a month for life after age 65.

These CEOs are careless, however, about their workers’ retirements. Forty-one promise pensions to workers, but only two corporations have sufficient assets to meet those obligations. The remaining 39 carry a combined pension deficit of $103 billion.

These CEOs, the very ones who’ve accumulated those massive deficits, are telling the federal government how to solve its budget problems. Right."

So let me get this straight: These CEOs will have an average income of $110,000.00 each month for their retirement - but those of us who paid into the system our entire working lives (and undoubtedly paid more taxes proportionally than these folks) are somehow not entitled to our meager Social Security retirement income?? And Simpson had the unmitigated gall to call seniors "greedy geezers".

I keep saying this, and I know you know it's true: If we don't speak up en masse NOW, at the very least through calls, letters, emails, etc., we will not have the benefits we've EARNED when we need them the most. Your kids won't have them, either. So I suggest we ignore the corporate programming to do nothing but consume for "the holidays", and pester the living shit out of these people!

This should never have been an issue at all because these programs should have never been on the table in the first place! Social Security and Medicare are solvent programs for years into the future, and any needed adjustments can be handled entirely by raising the earnings cap on the Social Security tax. Problem solved. Furthermore, these programs have nothing to do with the deficit!

How about taxing the activities and entities that have caused our current financial crisis? You know, like Wall Street? Now there's a concept!  Eliot Spitzer suggests something that progressives have espoused for some time: "A tax on financial transactions. It will give us gobs of revenue. It will fall on a sector that has generated enormous and unwarranted profits for a very few, who at the same time have benefited from huge bailouts and regulatory help and largely escaped any responsibility for their central role in creating the financial cataclysm that we are still struggling with.

Here is the idea: A tax of less than half a percent on every $100 of stock sales or sales of other financial instruments including bonds, derivatives, and options. The tax could raise anywhere from $170 billion to $350 billion per year depending how it was applied. Extend that over 10 years, and we are raising almost what the White House and Republicans agree needs to be raised in order to accomplish the objectives of a grand bargain."

These solutions are among those that could solve fiscal problems without looting the poor and middle class yet again, but lawmakers and the corporate media talk only of "hard choices" that involve "sacrifice" for 97% of us, while preserving corporate entitlements, breaks, subsidies, and off-shore profits for the wealthiest. This is utter bullshit! Don't accept that, and if you aren't already squawking to the PTB, then for heaven's sake please start!!


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