Writing for the Guardian today, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research comments on the emerging entitlement wars:
The classic definition of “chutzpah” is the kid who kills both of his parents and then begs for mercy because he is an orphan. The Wall Street crew are out to top this. After wrecking the economy with their convoluted finances, and tapping the US Treasury for trillions in bail-out bucks, they now want to cut Social Security and Medicare because we don’t have the money.
Besides being so galling, the attack on entitlements is based on disinformation: As Baker points out, “Social Security is solidly funded long into the future”–unlike the big banks and other private financial institutions. Medicare’s funding problems are due largely to “the explosion of private sector health care costs,” and could be vastly alleviated by a single-payer system.
But advancing the fear of old-age entitlements as a ticking time bomb, serves an important purpose: It diverts attention from the real purveyors of economic malaise: It’s not the banks, the investment industry, or the insurance companies who are bankrupting our country–it’s the greedy old geezers! It’s not the corporations and the rich people who are getting more than their share–it’s those greedly old geezers! And where are we going to get the money to pay for our stimulus package, our jobs and our infrastructure and our tax cuts? From those greedy old geezers, of course.