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Obama's Plan: Cut the Safety Net

Michael Kwiatkowski's picture

So now we've heard Barry's big "jobs speech" and it turns out to be the exact opposite of what is needed to rescue the crumbling nation. No surprise there.

Obama's so-called "jobs plan" is huge cuts in the payroll tax that are designed to manufacture a real future shortfall in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which will then be used as the rationale for imposing deep cuts on, or even the elimination of, all three programs. Corporate tax cuts will drain even more revenue from the treasury, which will make extending unemployment insurance for the unemployed who currently qualify, not to mention infrastructure repair, highly unlikely.

Hugh over at Corrente Wire explains in greater detail what this "plan" entails:

$65 billion cut payroll taxes in half from 6.2% to 3.1% on first $5 million in payroll
and from 6.2% to 0 on first $50 million in wages for new hires

...

$175 billion to cut employee payroll taxes in half from 6.2% to 3.1%

You know how right-wing extremists have been lying for years now about Social Security's trust fund being empty, filled with nothing but IOUs? That was a deliberate lie then. But now, with Obama's cuts in the payroll tax that resulted from his shady deal to reduce the deficit on the backs of working Americans, and with further proposed cuts, what was once a total fabrication would become a reality as collection outpaces replacement revenue.

Before Obama stepped in to do what George W. Bush couldn't, Social Security was solvent until 2037 or 2042, depending on which figures you looked at. This means that the trust fund would have been able to pay 100% of benefits until 2037 or 2042, by which point action would need to be taken to ensure that there is enough money to cover all of retirees' benefits. But under existing and proposed cuts in the payroll tax, the point at which the trust fund begins experiencing a shortage would arrive far sooner, thus providing the rationale for imposing steep cuts in the program.

The far right, and this group has always included Obama and his cronies, has been trying to gut the safety net for decades. Now they are closer to achieving their goal than they've ever been, no thanks to a Democrat in the White House. This sick joke is something that Democrats fail to get, not only to their own party's peril but to the nation's as well.

Also telling in Obama's no-jobs plan is that it doesn't actually add new help for the growing number of unemployed; it merely proposes to extend unemployment benefits for those already receiving them — jobless people whose unemployment benefits already ran out are still up a creek without any paddle. So while one in four Americans (possibly as many as one in three) is either unemployed or severely under-employed, there is no income coming in to support people as they continue their never-ending search for work. This means a lot of hungry people clogging up bread lines at the church food banks who should be devoting their time to looking for work, but now can't because they have to spend that time begging already overburdened churches for a little bit of food to get them through the next few days without starving.

The proposed corporate tax cuts, which are ridiculous in the face of historically low taxes on corporations (many of which pay no taxes at all)), is another sick joke played on the public. Reagan's depraved trickle-down lie, which has been standard political orthodoxy for decades now, has yet to produce jobs for working people, who have watched as the jobs they once had are shipped to third world countries where labor and environmental laws either don't exist or are even more lax than our own.

The proposed money for infrastructure repair, while a seemingly large amount, isn't nearly enough to get this monumental task done, and is unlikely to pass the Republican-dominated House. Even if that were to happen, Obama made no mention of exactly how such projects would be paid for, a critical omission in his speech. They would have to be paid for by ending America's wars and taxing the wealthy, neither of which Washington politicians, including and especially Obama, are willing to do.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: Obama's latest EPIC FAILURE. It's too little, too late, and serves as merely the next step in gutting what's left of our safety net.

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Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Obama's so-called "jobs plan" is huge cuts in the payroll tax that are designed to manufacture a real future shortfall in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Whether it's their policy goal or not, these policies will do exactly that.