Privatizing Social Security and Medicare…

… another political giveaway to special interests.

By Jack E. Lohman

Can you imagine what would have happened had George Bush gotten his way in 2002, and we privatized social security? And then when the bankers went belly up, the taxpayer-funded bailout was enlarged to compensate?

The bankers would have had even more cash with which to generate even bigger bonuses and to create an even bigger bubble. THAT is the kind of stimulus they’d like! Unfettered capitalism that creates “opportunity,” if you know what I mean.

Follow me on this: We can cut social security payments and make it up with taxpayer-funded public aide, like food stamps, and we can force seniors to keep working for two more years when they can’t even find a job today. Or we can pay them (or the worker they displaced) unemployment insurance, all to satisfy the adequately employed executive who likes his current tax breaks left as is.

That makes a hell of a lot of sense. More money spent to satisfy a problem that shouldn’t even exist.

Yes, the SSI government bureaucracy must be trimmed, but adding profits for CEOs is not the way to do it. Nor is cutting benefits. But the politicians prefer this because they’d get a piece of the action through campaign contributions, which they are not getting today.

And privatize Medicare?

We already have privatized Medicare Advantage, thanks again to George Bush. It’s the Medicare Advantage arm that costs taxpayers 17% more than traditional Medicare (maybe that’s the piece that goes to the politicians!). And though they’ve attracted 20% of the patients, here’s why few Medicare patients like these plans.

One thing is for sure…

… if political campaigns were publicly funded, neither of these discussions would be going on. They’d simply quit spending SSI and Medicare money on industry subsidies that pad the pockets of the rich. And incidentally, their own in the process.

Yes Social Security and Medicare should be means tested, and seniors with over $200K income should pay their own way. The income caps should be eliminated, for which deductions apply, and the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire.

And yes, we have a deficit that was caused by exorbitant tax breaks and excessive spending, and this hole should be closed with increased taxes for those over the $200K income level. At least temporarily until we can get rid of the political corruption.

But the wealthy folks won’t stand for any of this, and are willing to bribe the politicians to block meaningful reform.

So the bottom line is…

… we have a corrupt political system, no better than those in Somalia or Afghanistan. Our politicians should be in jail, not in Washington running our country.

All because their campaign coffers have been more important to them than a solid America, politicians trashed our economy by eliminating regulations that stemmed the greed inherent in some executives. And all because those executives padded the political pockets with legal campaign contributions, we must live with a trashed economy.

Only public funding of campaigns will free politicians from the conflict of interest they now face. That system is even optional for those who want to continue under the current system, but in Arizona and Maine over half of their politicians chose clean, public funds.

Allow politicians to make laws without the corruptive influence of campaign contributions and they’ll run the country in the best interest of the public rather than Corporate America.

After all of the bribes are taken out of the system, I may still dislike some decisions. But I’ll know they were made honestly.

What you can do to help:

Ask your Senators and House representatives to co-sign the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826)

And vote 100% against incumbents, during the primaries so you can keep your favored party. There are few (if any) of today’s politicians that deserve another term. Even if an opposite party were elected it would send a vitally important message.

One Response to Privatizing Social Security and Medicare…

  1. “Social Security and Medicare have proven to be the most successful social programs in our nation’s history, without which the poverty rate for seniors would be 48% instead of 10%.”

    from http://www.healthcare-now.org

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