Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday's collapse of the White House - with Social Security Phaseout included

Obama's tax cut agreement with the Republicans is an event that has the feel of a heavy curtain ringing down on two largely squandered years of reform. It's tempting to look to other Presidencies for clues on what's happening, like Bill Clinton's after the 1994 election.

But the one thing that's missing from all of them is that today we are in a depression. And we have a Democratic President committed to neoliberal dogma, which at the moment looking a lot like Herbert Hoover anti-recession policies. And while as Tom Tomorrow reminds us Obama is willing to fight some political group, he seems to have little stomach to fight the Republicans. Even though they are bitterly fighting him. And it will get much worse once their House majority is sworn in.

There have been some angry responses to the events of the last few days, before and after Obama caved in to the Republicans. Like Robert Reich, The President’s Last Stand Is No Stand At All: Why the Tax Deal is an Abomination RobertReich.org 12/07/2010. And Jamie Galbraith, Whose Side is the White House On? New Deal 2.0 12/06/2010. Galbraith says, "This isn't a parlor game. The outcome isn't destined to be alright. It will not necessarily end in progress whatever happens."

But if you read one article or blog post this week, I strongly recommend this one, The End of Social Security FDL 12/07/2010 by Nancy Altman, the co-director of the Pro-Social-Security, anti-phaseout group Social Security Works. She explains why the so-called payroll tax holiday is the beginning of Social Security Phaseout.

The massive subsidy for billioniaries in the midst of this depression is bad enough. The temporary payroll tax reduction is even worse. Because it's the beginning of the phaseout of the Social Security program.

In 2008, I would not have believed a Democratic President could or would embrace something like this. he certainly campaigned as the defender of Social Security. Up until Monday, I was hoping that somehow he would decide to fight for Social Security and against phaseout. I wasn't expecting Social Security Phaseout to slip into the tax deal.

But we now have a Democratic President pushing to phase out the Social Security program. It's disgraceful. This is a key thing he was elected in 2008 to prevent.

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