Friday, November 12, 2010

Government Death (er, Deficit) Panel

Obama’s Deficit Panel has launched a large scale assault on the majority of Americans. Some of their proposals include:

  • ·         Increasing the retirement age to 68 by 2050, and then to 69 by 2075
  • ·         Cutting  cost of living increases for retirees
  • ·         Cutting Medicare and Medicaid
  • ·         Implementing tort “reform,” limiting our ability to sue doctors for malpractice
  • ·         Cutting 10% of the federal workforce (approximately 200,000 more people will become unemployed)
  • ·         Eliminating many tax deductions, including mortgage deduction interest.
  • ·         Reducing the tax rate for those earning over $375,000 per year from 35% to 23%
  • ·         Reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 26%
Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons

    The last two proposals actually worsen the deficit, but they mollify the rich who run the show. Obama defended the proposals saying, “We’re going to have to take actions that are difficult and we’re going to have to tell the truth to American people.” Their “truth” goes something like this: The sky is falling because we are living beyond our means. The deficit harms all Americans; therefore, we all have to tighten our belts. However, if this was true, then the rich should have tax increases, not cuts. Former republican senator, Alan Simpson, a commissioner on the panel, joked that he might have to go into the witness the protection program, which might be true if we were in France, or Germany, or England, or just about anywhere else with a semblance of labor militancy.

    Meanwhile, over 26% of American adults are without health insurance. The total number is 49.9 million, up from 46 million in 2008, according to the CDC. The largest jump in uninsured individuals occurred among middle class families. Nearly one-third of adults in households making between $43,000 and $65,000 a year were uninsured last year, while one in five adults in households making between $65,000 and $87,000 were uninsured last year. Uninsured children declined slightly. However, uninsured adults must care for children, which is much more difficult when ill, particularly when they have serious chronic illness, which is the case for one in eight uninsured Americans. The uninsured are also much more likely to die of preventable or treatable diseases, which puts further strain on families and children, who then suffer emotionally, from the loss of a parent, and financially, from the loss of income.

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