Eagle, Obama should get serious

Friday April 19, 2013

Last Thursday’s editorial saw The Eagle incapable of getting its dander up despite Obama having become the first Democratic president to propose cuts to Social Security. The proposed cuts, its writer tells us, "have angered some Democrats," and that’s it in the way of showing not all establishment left politicians receive enough Wall Street coin to jump on board with this thing, and no mention of the fact that something like nine-tenths of the public, left, right, whatever, opposes it. The writer hasn’t any opinion on the matter, or expressed one, in any event. Perhaps if a Republican were in office we’d have gotten the sort of critical commentary so badly needed in this time of rotten, corporatized public policy.

But it’s "a serious plan," we’re told. And who can argue? It’s quite serious in its intent to fleece the elderly of a portion of their share of our already insufficient social safety fund -- one they’ve dutifully paid into all these years.

At ever-steepening grades, to boot -- amounting to well over $1,000 per year per senior within 20 years. In other words, a far higher proportional tax increase on those who cannot afford it than the one, sheepishly settled upon during last year’s fiasco, on those who can. The payroll tax holiday Democrats quietly allowed to expire around the same time constituted precisely the same thing.

Though it may seem like farce, this "serious plan" also comes, in all seriousness, at a time when not one of the Wall Street thieves who authored 2008’s financial collapse has been prosecuted and bonuses continue to fly, worker pensions fast go the way of the dinosaurs, multinational corporations like GE, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, Google and many, many more are allowed to MacGyver their effective tax rates down to zero (yes, zero, look it up) and the top 1 percent of the country has captured 93 percent of real income growth since 2009. That’s worse inequality under Obama -- the guy who undoubtedly utters the word "fair" more frequently than any other figure in the modern era -- than Bush.

You’d think a small, lefty newspaper in struggling little Berkshire County might have the courage to mention some of these facts, or at least question the necessity of cutting a program actually beneficial to the population at large -- rather than the corporate class -- and demonstrably solvent until 2033, whereupon a minor adjustment could then fix it for tens more years. Get "serious."




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