Written By Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson
The 1% is using the super-secret Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. the Super Committee), to reach directly into the pockets of the 99% and steal hundreds of billions of dollars from them. This committee has unprecedented power. It has been meeting behind closed doors for weeks. Finally, though, its plans are leaking out, and they are not pretty.
In order to spare defense contractors, the pharmaceutical industry, and other fat cats, while appeasing the credit agencies, whose AAA ratings to crony-clients helped crash the economy, the Supercommittee has proposed slashing benefits for current and future beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, notwithstanding that the current deficit has nothing to do with these programs.
Neither Social Security, which by law, cannot borrow a penny, nor Medicare, nor Medicaid is to be found among the causes. That hasn’t stopped the Super Committee, though.
The following chart shows the causes of our current deficits:
Politicians of all stripes routinely assert that any changes they make to Social Security will not hurt current beneficiaries or those close to retirement. Despite countless promises by politicians, a majority of the Super Committee members plan to do just that. In our elected officials’ quest for avoiding accountability, their cut is dressed up in mind-numbing verbiage — they plan to substitute the chained-CPI-U for the current CPI-W; just a little technical adjustment, they say.
Don’t be fooled and watch your wallet. This change translates to a large benefit cut which hits hardest that part of the 99% who are the oldest and poorest. But it goes after other segments of the 99%, as well. Our men and women in uniform — our wounded warriors and the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice — are doubly or even triply hit by this change.
Not satisfied with cutting the Social Security and other cash benefits of seniors, people with disabilities, widows, widowers, children, veterans, and others, the majority of Super Committee members reportedly are ready to impose devastating cuts of at least $475 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. Having touted universal coverage as one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act, a majority of Democrats on the Super Committee, as well as Republicans, are poised to make getting health care more difficult for the sickest, poorest, people with disabilities, and seniors. These cuts could literally be a matter of life and death for millions of Americans.
Democrats cower at the thought of requiring the top one percent — those who have benefited to excess from runaway tax cuts and galloping inequality — to be taxed a modest amount for the common good. Yet a majority of Democrats on the Super Committee have shown themselves willing, in the name of “shared sacrifice” and “a balanced package,” to cut the economic lifelines of the families of our soldiers wounded or killed in action and to cut the modest protections of our working men and women who have spent four or more decades building our country. Haven’t those latter sacrificed enough? Is it really “shared sacrifice” if the wealthy can no longer deduct their private jets? Sounds like Marie Antoinette’s, “Let them eat cake.” For the record, Republicans outright refuse to tax anyone of wealth, yet are also eager to cut the benefits of the other 99%.
The 1% is particularly brazen in making these destructive proposals now when the 99% are making their voices heard across this nation in a multitude of ways. On Wednesday October 26th in Washington, DC, Rep. John Conyers stood with nine other members of Congress and more than 100 seniors and supporters, to deliver more than 2.3 million petitions from the 99% along with a resolution put forward by 82 members of Congress representing the will of the 99%, with a single message: Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!
Almost immediately after these 2.3 million petitions were delivered, the Democrats on the Super Committee completely ignored their message and pushed more cuts to the middle class and less tax increases for millionaires and billionaires than any previous “bipartisan” commission. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the current Democratic proposal is to the “right of co-chairs of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission and the Senate’s ‘Gang of Six,’ and even further to the right of the plan by the bipartisan Rivlin-Domenici commission”
The secretive and unaccountable Super Committee is meeting behind closed doors and proposing devastating cuts that would be shouldered by the 99%. We just released new reports in all of the Super Committee states detailing the $621 billion that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid provide for real Americans in the Super Committee states.
Both the Democratic and Republican proposals represent a total hijacking of the Super Committee by the 1%. Members of the Super Committee and other elected officials may not feel the urgency of America’s unemployed and underemployed, but if they keep ignoring the will of the people, they will join the ranks of those unemployed, come election day. The 1 percent may have most of the money, but the 99 percent have the votes. It is time for the 99% to tell them in no uncertain terms, Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!