Not New and Certainly Not Improved: Bowles-Simpson: V. 2.0
The corporate austerians released their ‘new’ Bowles-Simpson recommendations today. They claim that they are building upon their original plan, not replacing it. They framed their recommendations as the last two steps in a four step process. For Social Security followers, Step Three includes the chained CPI. And Step Four includes all of the previous cuts to Social Security which they recommended in their first plan. Raising the retirement age starting in 2022 slowly to 69, cutting benefits through re-indexing and flattening all future benefits for our recipients in 2050. Our children’s benefits would look like this:
The corporate austerians go for installing the chained cpi first. Why? It could be that they still think that most Americans do not realize that the chained cpi is a cut which keeps on cutting:
Note the changes to Medicare and Medicaid in Step Three. “reducing provider payments….reforming cost-sharing…increasing premiums….adjusting benefits to account for population aging….”
The language is a vague euphemism for cuts; code words to their rich buddies that the uploading of wealth will not be threatened with significant new taxes. No pesky new scrap-the-FICA cap income taxes which might be used to pay for under-funded social insurance programs.
Or in their own words: “The problem is real and the solutions are painful, and there is no easy way out.” It is very, very painful for them to think of being responsible Americans and painful for them to think of paying their fair share of the cost of living in a decent society. But all of their solutions ask low income folks, approximately half of all Americans, to shoulder all of the burden of keeping tax rates super low for corporations and rich people. There is a simple, equitable, and fair way out but they do not want to hear about paying their fair share.