The Neocons have a wonderful new mantra…”austerity”…a lovely word that means, “let’s cut your government benefits so we can cut my taxes.”
It is expressed colorfully in Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s web site “A Roadmap for America.” Tadaa! It expresses so much of the Neocon agenda so beautifully that everyone should read it, just as everyone should read Dante’s Inferno to remind oneself of what might be and where you don’t want to put down roots.
The Neocons have all these wonderful solutions to our problems that you will certainly want to read. On the site there is also a little congratulatory article by Michael Gerson from the Washington Post, praising the Ryan plan, in which he says: “GOP Rep. Paul Ryan Tackles Obama’s path to deficit disaster.”
You see, this is how they roll, these Neocons, of which Gerson is a charter member, a former GOP White House staffer and speech writer. This isn’t Obama’s deficit. It isn’t “his deficit now. He owns it.” No. It isn’t.
George W. Bush, this feeble-minded, cartoon-character, this weak, intellectually slovenly prodigal son caused it, bought it and paid for it with Treasury funds borrowed from China and given to rich Americans. He owns it, paid for in the lives and treasure of this country, bartered out to oil companies and military contractors in the most sinister political Administration it is possible this country has ever seen.
We have a $13 trillion dollar debt of which $7 trillion was left to us by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The rest, save the roughly $800 billion accumulated from 1789 to 1980, was given to us by Reagan and Bush the First. Clinton served 8 years and only raised the total by half a trillion. And he came very close to balancing the budget by the time he left.
In an era when the Neocons in the Senate have filibustered 290 times in one session… Gerson complained about the Democratic lack of bi-partisanship, which is like saying that the New York Yankees refused to play virtually all their games but then complained about the umpiring.
The “Roadmap” is apparently on Ryan’s web site because Ryan is what the Neocons like Gerson see as a “sincere guy.” In other words, most of the Neocons are not sincere guys and only Ryan, because he does not yet have a record as an “insincere guy” will be able to continue the same, tired, voodoo economics of his predecessors.
Here’s the very unremarkable and unsurprising “Roadmap” for the over-the-cliff economic journey on which Ryan wants us to embark.
1. Health care. Wants to “restructure the tax code” to shift the burden of handling health care insurance from employers…and the federal government…to individuals. In other words, in an era when health care costs are going through the roof, he does nothing about reducing the costs or eliminating the costs. He merely says that he would put nothing between the insurance companies and the people they already victimize.
He would relieve corporations of any responsibility. His “big idea” is a $5,700 tax credit for families. That won’t even pay the premiums. It is, plainly, either disingenuous or stupid, one or the other. He ignores the public option, which is the only way, save for specific price controls, to regulate health care costs.
2. Social Security. Keeps Social Security for those 55 and over. Those who are now 55 or younger will get something else. They would get the opportunity to invest up to one-third of their current income into a retirement savings account.
Whoopee. All Ryan has done is to ignore the actions of the Neocons who have looted Social Security to give tax breaks to millionaires and looted to conduct wars and pay huge contracts to Neocon contractors like Bechtel, Halliburton and Blackwater. This will create a whole new class of retired, barely functioning poor.
3. Taxes. In the Neocon world, a flat tax is a wonderful thing. And why? Because it lowers the taxes on the richest 1%, it solves their big problem, the taxes on the huge fortunes that the Big Republican Donors pay from inheriting, not creating. It means that large incomes are guaranteed less income taxes and that the 35 to 39% rates of recent years, the income rates that have delivered $13 trillion in debt will be reduced to 25% or less with deductions, which of course will be added on later.
4. Medicare/Medicaid. Another flat amount to buy “Medicare certified” private insurance…$11,000 a year for people over 55 to buy private health insurance that will replace Medicare and for the poor to buy health care…a stipend that will do nothing to cut costs and nothing to prevent health insurance companies, for whom Ryan and the other Neocons like Jon Boehner are a wholly owned subsidiary. Nothing will prevent health insurance companies from raising your rates.
This whole plan is a boondoggle. First of all, it relies on tax-free Health Savings Accounts. Those help people with big incomes but don’t help the poor or those with pre-existing conditions or those with very large expenses. Then Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are shifted to private, for-profit institutions, the very institutions that created the urgent need to have health reform legislation. Tax-free savings accounts are still savings accounts. This is no solution at a time when Americans cannot even pay the mortgage, let alone establish what would need to be very large savings accounts.
The Neocons and Representative Ryan shout loudly that the CBO finds the Neocon Roadmap to be a substantial improvement in the nation’s economy. It will balance the budget, end the Social Security deficit, and solve the Medicare problem. We agree. And it would be the same for you if someone else (in this case the individual American citizen) would take over your debts and you could start over again. In other words, the reason the CBO’s estimate of what they call the Ryan versus an “Alternative Fiscal Scenario. ” The problem is that in the Ryan plan, the government is free of all its obligations for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Who picks up the slack? You do.
The Neocon governments under Reagan, Bush and Bush stole your Social Security funds, and reduced the size of the budget to make Medicare and Medicaid unsupportable under present circumstances. They encouraged health care CEOs to rip off the public with exorbitant costs and by cutting out of the system anyone who would cost them money. It is no surprise that the Ryan plan will save the government money….it is your money…the money you will have to spend for the same things that you had been paying taxes to get. Now you will get them from a private company, that Ryan will tell you will be regulated (as they regulated Wall Street) and which will–without any question–cost you more if you can get them at all.
This “Roadmap” is not a plan at all. It is a political ploy, just like the Gingrich “Contract on America.” What we should be doing is creating good American jobs by supporting wind, solar, hydrogen and good…not polluting natural gas projects. We should be building electric cars and retrofitting American homes and improving our electric grid. We should be building hi-speed trains.
We should be creating trade policies that encourage American jobs here rather than in China, Brazil and Mexico. We need good jobs too. It is time we made some adjustments to take care of Americans first.
We can do it. We can start with finding, and we can, $200 billion in cuts to pay for 5 million jobs for one year. There are innumerable jobs that need to be done. While those jobs are being done, we need to spend the rest of our time, encouraging and harassing the private investment community to start building new industries. We have the money literally just lying around. It is time to put America back in the driver’s seat with the rest of the world when it comes to making things that everyone else wants.
Once we get our economy going, with protected, yes, protected jobs in some industries (other countries do it to us every single day) then we can start to take on the problems of health care, Medicare, Social Security (no one objects to a real, not fake, change from a retirement insurance program to a 401K type program…if it is legitimate. The Neocon Roadmap is just another fraud…just another piece of Neocon political detritus.
Democrats have a job in all this. It is one single job. Get every Democrat, especially Liberal and Progressive Democrats, elected this fall. Without that, everything else is merely talk. The alternative, however, is perhaps the final countdown on our Democracy. And that is not hyperbole. We came so close under Bush. They packed the courts, the U.S. attorneys’ offices, educational institutions, media, Federal government and Federal courts, all with Neoconservative ideologues. They even made it known to the military officers’ corps that they were expected to be Neocons, Right Wingers.
Karl Rove and his Neocon Party wanted a totalitarian state…legislative, executive and judicial. Did they get it? Well, one of the Supreme Court justices’ wives brazenly calls President Obama a “tyrant.” Is that what Supreme Court justice Thomas feels, too?
We’ve seen what happened in Germany and Spain when court systems were controlled by one Party. We’ve seen that a Democratic governor of a state (Don Seigelman of Alabama) can be falsely accused, railroaded, convicted, sent to prison…for completely political reasons and with evidence that is controlled by the courts and prosecutors.
We are close to a totalitarian system still. We cannot afford another Republican Congress. A minority Congress that stops all legislation in its tracks is bad enough. Can you imagine what they will do to the People if they take control again?