On Friday, 64 Senators signed a letter to President Obama pledging that they would steal money from Social Security and give it to the rich. 32 Republicans were joined by 32 Democrats in a bipartisan show of disdain of Americans. The 64 represent a veto-proof supermajority who have thrown down a gauntlet challenging President Barak Obama's promise that he wouldn't slash Social Security.
Under the guise of "deficit reduction," the immensely popular current iteration of excuses to take money away from services Americans really need so the rich can keep collecting jewel-encrusted private jets, the 64 lapdogs for the international monied elite wrote President Obama that discussions for the 2012 Budget would "include discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform."
"Entitlement changes" means slashing and privatizing Social Security as well as Medicare and Medicaid. And, "tax reform" doesn't mean tax increases for the rich who have absconded with the nation's wealth without paying taxes. It most likely means reducing taxes on the rich even further.
So far, President Obama's kept pretty quiet about what he's got up his sleeve for the nation's old-age safety net and the biggest pot of cash left that politicos can grab and dole out to their wealthy pals. He's said he won't weigh in until Congress has had their discussions, and that he wouldn't accept a straight out dismantling of Social Security. The President has said:
"...we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market."Those are fine words, but Republicans have made clear their goal is privatization, and Obama hasn't yet shown any resolve in standing up to Republicans on anything they really want. He's caved on extending the Bush tax cuts, and hasn't put tax revenue reform on the table to address debt and budget shortfalls. He's pretty much happy to give Wall Street anything it wants, handling the Mortgage Meltdown villains with kid gloves, and backing off on banking reform.
The US Senate has thrown down a significant gauntlet, stating they were going after Social Security, and the 64 signers gives Obama significant cover for allowing Social Security to be "privatized," the euphemism for handing all the money in the Social Security trust funds to Wall Street money moguls to blow on booze and high-priced private entertainment.
There are no more private sector pension funds to plunder, the private sector unions having been broken and bankrupted, the companies they worked at mismanaged out of existence, merged and acquired, and all the jobs downsized and offshored. There are no more public sector pension funds, the private sector unions gutted of their bargaining rights, the pensions funds paupered to subsidize plutocrats. Only the Social Security trust funds are left, and the rich have decided that no money should be set aside for anyone who hasn't robbed and pillaged and lied and bribed his way to mega-wealth.
The rich have decided they must have the money in the Social Security trust funds, and they've sent their Republican assassins to get it done, spearheaded by Tea Party zealots like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan. Dismantling Medicare and pawning off older Americans with a handful of worthless vouchers and coupons will be easy in comparison.
America is no longer a democracy. If it were, Congress would have heeded 81% of Americans and slapped an income tax surcharge on millionaires. America is a plutocracy, where the rich not only get whatever they want, their toadies and vassals vie amongst themselves to find new ways to plunder and pillage on their masters' behalf.