Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Irresponsibility of "Fiscal Responsibility"

[Editor's Note: choice words and salty language ahead.]

The Republican pre-primary is in full swing, meaning that there are a whole bunch of desperate shysters wanting to get their hands on that sweet, sweet Koch brothers cash.  The winner of the fund raising war in the GOP primary stage is usually the winner of the nomination, so this is prime time for potential also-rans like Chris Christie to make themselves relevant again with a money transfusion.

So what has the Most High New Jersey Bridge Troll done?  He’s decided to talk about “responsible” and “honest” fiscal policy.  What this means specifically is proposing raising the retirement age to 69, and then making Social Security a much reduced provision that would not even paid out to a large number of retirees.  Christie, in typically mendacious fashion, has spun all this as “telling hard truths,” assuming that his listeners believe, like he does, that the money to sustain old age benefits does not exist.

Of course, we all know that it does.  We live in the richest nation on earth, one where plutocrats are amassing ever-increasing piles of lucre.  Just this week comes the news that during a “down” year the top 25 hedge fund managers were still able to pay themselves bonuses that altogether add up to more than twice all of the money made by all the kindergarten teachers in America last year.  James Simons made $2.1 billion in 2011, about the equivalent of the yearly wages of 140,000 minimum wage workers.  Imagine that, the “bonus” to a select group of bankers eclipses the sweat and muscle expended by literally hundreds of thousands of laborers.  They also paid a lower tax rate than I did as a teacher last year.

And yet we are told that we are to sacrifice even more, that the nation simply can’t afford to give them a secure retirement before we might give out from overwork. 

When I hear the fiscal hawks talk about “hard truths” I know they are really spinning some diarrhea-soft grade A horseshit.  What they really want is a system where the wealthy can amass even bigger fortunes than before, and perhaps to shovel money out of Social Security and let their criminal friends on Wall Street play with it.  Perhaps due to the pernicious persistence of a Puritan streak in this nation’s culture, the media elite eat up this “hard truth” crap and never, ever question the motive, always taking these con artists at face value.  Because young voters are so far away from retirement, they do not take to the streets about being bamboozled.

Make no mistake, Gen Xers and Millenials, they are out to bamboozle you.  I made my first FICA payment at the tender age of 13, and have been paying into the system almost continuously from that time.  All that money has gone to pay for people already in the system, and I was glad to do it, since I knew that the next generations would do the same for me.  Now that contract will be broken, and I will spend the rest of my working life paying for the same Baby Boomers who got cheap college education and plentiful jobs to have a much cushier retirement than I will ever have.  It will be the final insult in a degrading generational war that many in the younger generations have no clue is being waged against them.

To consign future generations to the dung heap in their old age so that the plutocrats, hedge fund managers, and bankers dare not make a greater sacrifice is the height of fiscal irresponsibility.  To break apart the social contract that so many have benefited from is a horrible thing to do, not something deserving of the canting hosannas of “truth telling” so often heard in the more fatuous corners of our mediascape.  Please, for fuck’s sake, stop pretending that the attempt to end Social Security as we know it is anything more than a heinous crime of enormous proportions.

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