Politics as Usual Doesn’t Work: Obama, Boehner and Pelosi Plan More Theft Under the Guise of the Fiscal Cliff

Congress Debt Showdown

The fiscal cliff is a self-created bi-partisan drama that demonstrates the failure of traditional politics and the need for mobilized resistance and a new independent political movement. The mass media and operatives from the Democratic and Republican parties have raised all sorts of imagined fears to provide cover to unnecessary cuts to health, retirement and social programs, while marginally increasing taxes on the wealthiest. But watch out, this is really only the set-up for the payback to big business interests that bankrolled the 2012 elections.

President Obama is on track to be the first Democratic president to cut Social Security benefits at a time when pensions are disappearing and it is the primary source of income for elderly Americans. Social Security does not add to the deficit as it has a $2.7 trillion surplus, expected to rise to $3.7 trillion according to the Social Security Trustees. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are also on the table; no doubt other safety net programs will also be cut.

While Democrats like to blame Speaker Boehner, and he and the Republicans deserve their share of bi-partisan blame, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is cheering on the retirement cuts saying they would “strengthen” the program. Pelosi, who keeps her leadership by raising millions from the wealthy has raised $328 million since becoming leader including $85 million in the 2012, seems out of touch with how retired Americans teeter on the verge of poverty. In fact, while Social Security keeps 21 million out of poverty, the Census Bureau reports that in the last decade there has been a 78% increase in Americans over 60 facing the threat of hunger, and one in six seniors live in poverty. The Social Security Administration reports projected poverty rates are quite sensitive to the assumption that benefits are not further reduced. The proposal made by Obama and endorsed by Pelosi (and other leading “progressive’ Democrats) as strengthening would noticeably reduce benefits of retirees – a person who retired at 65 in 2000, if they live to 92 will have one month cut annually as a result.

The bi-partisanship of Washington, DC has also taken military cuts off the table. In fact, while the Congress, president and media elite were fretting over the deficit both Houses passed the $633 billon NDAA with super bi-partisan majorities, a vote of 315 to 107 in the House; 81 to 14 in the Senate. The reality is the Pentagon is so over-budgeted that many retired generals and admirals are calling for military cuts. There is a lot of waste in the Pentagon; much of it quite embarrassing in a time of economic collapse and austerity. The reality is when 6 out of 10 discretionary federal dollars are spent on the military and national security, the U.S. will not be able to provide the resources for a new economy or meet the necessities of the people.

The full article originally appeared at OpEdNews. 

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