From Capitol Hill to state houses across America, one hears the refrain, mostly from Republicans, that "America is broke." We need draconian cuts to services because America is broke. We need to privatize Social Security and Medicare because America is broke.
Folks, America isn't broke. The Koch brothers are not broke. Rupert Murdoch isn't broke. I'm sure John Boehner has a couple of platinum cards in his wallet. America isn't broke. The U.S. government just hasn't sent out a proper billing statement for running the richest, most powerful nation in history.
America doesn't have a deficit problem. America has a revenue problem.
As former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich pointed out in his column Sunday, President Barack Obama's framing the budget debate on where and how much to cut just lets the Republicans set the propaganda goalposts for this debate.
Focusing on cuts creates the impression that cuts could somehow result in some sort of solution to our budget shortfalls. In fact, no amount of cutting can extricate the nation from dire straights. Either the cuts would be insufficient to address the problem, or too great for the nation to survive intact.
The solution lies only in finding more revenue. The top corporations and richest individuals are awash in countless billions in cash. A simple, reasonable progressive income tax, with rates that would actually be lower for nearly all Americans and higher for a tiny sliver of wealthy plutocrats, would solve any budget problem. There would be no need to abolish unions, destroy collective bargaining or to resort to free prison labor. And the capitalists most staunchly opposed to their taxes being raised would benefit from a more prosperous nation with a healthy economy.
But revenue is off the table. Only cuts will be discussed. Entitlements must be abolished.
The stage is set for the privatization of Social Security, and Wall Street can't wait to get their hands on the Social Security Trust Fund. The plutocrats see trillions of dollars within their reach.
Of course, there is no hope a bunch of Wall Street money changers could keep the nation's retirement savings secure. These yahoos will blow the whole wad on booze and hookers before the ink is dry on the last dollar bill.
Who would believe guys who tank the economy at a pace of once per presidential administration would be trustworthy guardians of your retirement? Fortunately, the plutocrats running this game own all the media and marketing outlets on the Earth, so they're pretty confident they can pull off their con.
And if the televised talking heads soft peddling social security privatization don't get the job done, the perps have their thugs in the wings as well.
The Republican Party has increasingly devolved into a a smal cadre of ultra-rich trans-national plutocrats and their hangers-on teamed with a motley collection of assorted Neo-Confederates and white separatists from the annals of the Southern Poverty Law Center's hatewatch pages. In the latest round of union busting in Wisconsin, we see the Koch brothers sending tea party enthusiasts as counter demonstrators against the grass roots protesters fighting to keep collective bargaining rights for state employes. It's pretty clear Republicans can just as easily tap the vast pool of racist extremists, anti-government militias, and Neo-Confederate revisionists at their disposal. Think Mubarak sending his thugs into Liberation Square, with the Koch brothers as Mubarak and the extremists as the thugs. GOP Rep. Paul Ryan was quoted in Paul Krugman's column Sunday saying, "It's like Cairo moved to Madison."
With Obama having framed the nation's budget debate on cuts instead of revenue, and having put Social Security on the table with his statement that Democrats and Republicans must come together to discuss entitlement reform, the field has been cleared for the plutocrats to grab the Social Security trust fund.
And Americans will lose their retirement money while America slips ever deeper into a chasm of debt created by the systematic plundering by rampant plutocrats.