Ever since I read Dean Baker's last HuffPo diary, I've been worrying.
Word has it that President Obama intends to appoint a task force the week after next which will be charged with "reforming" Social Security. According to inside gossip, the task force will be led entirely by economists who were not able to see the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which is giving the country its sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. [...]
[...] Due to the reckless policies of the Rubin-Greenspan-Bush clique, this cohort has just seen [baby boomers'] housing equity wiped out with the collapse of the housing bubble. Tens of millions of baby boomers who might have felt reasonably secure three years ago are now approaching retirement with little or no equity in their homes. [...]
In short, the vast majority of baby boomers will be approaching retirement with little other than their Social Security and Medicare to support them. And now President Obama is apparently prepared to appoint a commission that will attack these only remaining pillars of support.
It is especially infuriating that this task force is likely to headed up by economists who somehow could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble. The incompetence of such economists has inflicted enormous pain on billions of people around the world. However, unlike people who fail in other professions, economists who mess up on the job just get promoted so that they can do even more harm.
And if that's not scary enough, take a look at William Greider's story at AlterNet!
Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.
These players are promoting a tricky way to whack Social Security benefits, but to do it behind closed doors so the public cannot see what's happening or figure out which politicians to blame. The essential transaction would amount to misappropriating the trillions in Social Security taxes that workers have paid to finance their retirement benefits. This swindle is portrayed as "fiscal reform." In fact, it's the political equivalent of bait-and-switch fraud.
Oh yes, none other than Mr. "IOUSA", Republican billionaire Peter Peterson, is out on a mission to finish what George W. Bush started in destroying the bedrock American social safety net. And why is he out to take away working people's right to a poverty-free retirement? Bascially, he and his fellow "market fundamentalist" buddies hate The New Deal. They hate the fact that "socialist" policies have kept the American capitalist system intact, so they're out to dismantle our social safety net so they can have their laissez-faire nirvana.
But why is President Obama cozying up to this? Hasn't he promised us that he will protect Social Security and Medicare? Yes, he has. So why are we even talking about this "fiscal responsibility summit" that's nothing more than a radical right scheme in disguise? That's what we need to know.
Now's a good time for us to contact President Obama and our members of Congress, before any "fiscal responsibility" ponzi scheme takes hold. Again, we need to remind them that they work for us, not the "Broder-Friedman media establishment". We defeated Bush's privatization program in 2005, and we can defeat it again in 2009. With so many other crises to tackle, like health care and climate change, there's no reason to rush into the non-crisis of Social Security & Medicare.
We elected President Obama & the new Congress on the promise that they will bring change to Washington. So why should we let Washington change them? Let's remind them who they're working for and what kind of change we want to see on "entitlement reform".