A Week's Worth of One Elder's Trivia
Elder Brains and Multi-tasking

The Fight of Our Lifetimes

category_bug_politics.gif After last week's budget battle, the lines are drawn. Two factions are in control of the debate for the future of the United States:

  • The religious zealots who intend to make their ignorance the law of the land
  • The corporatocracy who intend to bleed every last dollar from the rest of us for their personal use

Aside from a small number of sane pundits dismissed by the other two groups as leftwing or socialists (horrors!) and a few Congress members (of whom only Bernie Sanders and Harry Reid regularly speak up) hardly anyone, including President Obama, speaks for the people.

The budget debate last week, devolving into an abortion argument over funding of Planned Parenthood, got so stupid I wanted to fire everyone. Crazy, ignorant legislators in Congress apparently never heard of the Hyde Amendment which has banned federal funding of abortions since 1976.

Having defeated the president (who weirdly claimed a win), the zealots were all over the media telling us what we are in store for. Following on Senator Paul Ryan's draconian and fraudulent deficit reduction plan, they made no secret of what's next.

Here is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) talking on Fox News Sunday about a proposed $750 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (transcript via ThinkProgress – my emphasis):

CANTOR: We are in a situation where we have a safety net in place in this country for people who frankly don’t need one. We have to focus on making sure we have a safety net for those who need it.

WALLACE: The Medicaid people — you’re going to cut that by $750 billion.

CANTOR: The Medicaid reductions are off the baseline. So what we’re saying is allow states to have the flexibility to deal with their populations, their indigent populations and the healthcare needs the way they know how to deal with them. Not to impose some mandate from a bureaucrat in Washington.

WALLACE: But you are giving them less money to do it.

CANTOR: In terms of the baseline, that is correct…What we’re saying is there is so much imposition of a mandate that doesn’t relate to the actual quality of care. We believe if you put in place the mechanism that allow for personal choice as far as Medicare is concerned, as well as the programs in Medicaid, that we can actually get to a better resolve and do what most Americans are learning how to do, which is to do more with less.

”Most Americans.” Except for rich people, of course. And don't forget that Social Security is in their sights too. Eric Cantor, again, in March:

“If we want America to be what WE want America to be”?

Which “we” would that be? I sure don't want the America he describes.

It's not just Republicans who are pushing for an increased transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class.

David Plouffe, a White House senior adviser, also made the chat show rounds (emphasis mine):

"'We can't take a machete,' Plouffe said on ABC's This Week. 'We have to take a scalpel, and we're going to have to cut, we're going to have to look carefully.'”

[According to AP, Plouffe also] “said Obama was committed to finding ways for the nation to spend within its means, including reducing Medicare and Medicaid, the government's chief health care programs for seniors and the poor.”

Why in the world are the Democrats – the White House in particular – selling out elders to the zealots and corporations? Perhaps they are counting on support in the 2012 election from the growing number of old Americans who increasingly vote against their own and their offsprings' interest.

Here is another possible reason: The current New York magazine has a graphic showing the previous employment of 14 high-ranking White House advisers. Seven of them, half, are former executives of Goldman Sachs. The rest were hired from Lehman, Citi, UBS, Hartford Financial and JPMorganChase.

These are the people who already stole an estimated $2 trillion in life savings from the people of the United States, an additional $3 trillion in home values through fraudulent mortgage practices, have sent millions of jobs overseas and who pay lower tax rates than you and I.

Now that corporations can contribute unlimited, unreported money to candidates, do you really expect them NOT to do everything else in their vast power to grab all the money that now goes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?

With a list like these 14 talking to the President Obama every day, do you really expect him NOT to bow to their demands?

Tomorrow, he will deliver that speech about deficit reduction. I am frightened for us and for all future elders. Obama's past record is not good. He has capitulated to the zealots and corporatocracy at every opportunity and although I hope David Plouffe will be proved wrong, I am not expecting that to be so.

It looks like we are in for the fight of our lifetimes. I don't know if we can win, but there is no choice except to try.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Words

Comments

Horrifying!

Voting against Hillary Clinton (I voted for her) was the worst decision this country ever made. I don't think I have ever seen a bigger sellout than Obama.

...People who don't need the safety net." I'm coughing, I'm rolling around on the floor. Geee....I think I will switch my focus to the newest Chernobyl instead.

Yes -- it is all most frightening. All these people are operating under the maxim "From those who don't have it, to those who don't need it."

Looks like we may be in for a Cold New Reality, if "they" win, that is.

Whatever happened to compassion?

Oh, wait, dopey me, I keep forgetting ... we all have to sacrifice for the good of the wealthy, don't we. Wouldn't want them trembling inside their mansions, after all.

The great divide is widening in front of our eyes.

As for the religious zealots, they're even scarier than the far right politicians. Oh, wait ... they're one and the same.

Will AARP help? Or are we seniors on our own?

Just when we thought it was safe to get old ..........

Goodbye to Democracy if we, the people, don't start standing up against this criminal take over of our country. Protest, protest, protest. Keep those letters, phone calls and faxes going to your representatives before it's too late.

I don't agree that Hillary would have been better than Obama as the above commenter said because her husband was part of what allowed corporate America their take over. Things like the Glass-Steagall Act's gutting helped let the big guys take people like Ronni's savings. I don't know if there are leaders who think otherwise by the time they get to the top. That said, I am very concerned about today and what they are doing apparently with Obama's help. The lies are rampant and no one seems to speak for the middle despite what they say with a few exceptions like Bernie Sanders.

Great point to end on about having no choice but to try. When statements like "we have a safety net in place in this country for people who frankly don’t need one" arise, it is clear that our elected officials are not speaking on behalf of the people they represent. Besides, if we really wanted to get rid of unnecessary safety nets, why do the super wealthy pay less in taxes? Thank you for sharing and I agree with Darlene in that everyone should keep the letters, phone calls, and protests flowing to their elected officials.

Depressing, I keep writing and calling our so-called representatives. I am so fearful for my children and grandchildren. What a pile of doo.

I am so disgusted, fearful, and very disillusioned.

Screwed and NOT kissed is what I am feeling more and more like.

There's always hope, but this trainwreck seems neverending.

Of course, it WILL end with an even bigger gulf between the wealthy and "the unfortunates".

Unfortunately, I am an unfortunate.

Ronnie,

From what the Washington Post says today, it appears Obama is going to support the findings of his debt reduction panel which included Alice Rivlin (not the bipartisan debt commission, I think). Alice is a seasoned economist and one of the brightest thinkers in DC.

I also support my Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), who along with Dick Durbin snd another Dem, plus 3 Republicans, is part of the "gang of six" trying to address the nation's REAL fiscal issues (income and outgo), and whom, according to Plouffe, Obama admires.

The truth is we do need to find ways to reduce the debt and annual deficit, and there are plenty of places to cut, beginning with agricultural subsidies to ADM and other AG giants.

Also, the GAO identified many duplicative programs that could be combined to save $$.

We need to look at the tax deductions of folks who own more than one home (and the tax deduction for mortgage interest in general). The rest of the taxpayers, some of whom cannot afford a first home, subsidize the landed few.

The Tax Code should be repaired so small businesses are not affected if taxes on the upper income brackets are increased. Congress is aware of the problem, and can fix it.

We CAN make necessary adjustments to Medicare, through reasonable means testing.

As Seniors, we can choose to be part of the solution or obstacles to any solution. Name-calling avails us nothing (no matter what our private thoughts might be).

Compromise is the name of the game in Washington DC, as the Tea Party Republicans learned this past week.

I think it is time Seniors to admit:

1/ there is a problem;

2/ there are things we CAN do as a nation through bi-partisan efforts, to improve our balance sheet that won't result in hurting our most vulnerable citizens ir wrecking the future of our grandchildren.

If we don't act soon, the whole kit and kaboodle could go down the drain and that certainly won't help the elderly or the poor.

My 2 cents. Dianne

I feel encouaged by Dianne's input. It sounds like wisdom to me. Gladys

Eric Cantor has his lifetime retirement pension courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer (with perks) and has made plenty besides to perhaps never worry about how he and his family will be covered for health care in their life times.

Why should he worry if his actions to "improve" Medicare seriously hurt any of us "small people"?

You better believe I expect Obama NOT to bow to their demands. He just hope he has some level headed and pragmatic folks around him who can deftly find ways to reduce the deficit without cutting average Americans at the knees.

Why isn't the rest of the population fed up with the greediness of the rich and big corprate?

I just to understand with their isn't more public outrage.

I just don't get it.

Bridgemor

Eloquent and righteous, Ronni. We liberals keep letting the ultra-conservatives skew the agenda and warp the direction. There's a petition that we can sign at http://act.boldprogressives.org/survey/survey_obamamedicare/?source=bp

I fear we are experiencing a coup d'etat.

All these TP people get what they want -- because BO gives it to them!

Now why would he do that? Seriously. It all smells to high heaven.

They are horrible people who do not care what happens to ordinary Americans.

I was sickened by the posturing and game-playing delaying the budget vote.

There's no help coming from my Congressman no matter how much I write as he's part of the problem. Amazes me he keeps getting reelected but Dems. never field a good opposition candidate. Too many voters keep casting ballots against their own best interests.

As for corporate financial interests, you can be sure the pharmaceutical companies will want their cut. Likewise lets pour more health care dollars into the middleman health insurance companies. People will find out too late what care rationing is like though it will be mostly covert, especially for older population.

My mind reels with the proposed cuts. I think it's incredible more people aren't upset and actively protesting.

It's also helpful that he explicitly noted that Social Security is not the cause of any of our debt problems. That's an extremely important point, and frankly a lot of Americans don't recognize that. I wish he had separated SS a bit more explicitly from Medicare and Medicaid and pointed out that it should be easy to fix it.

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