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