It’s here! Economist Dean Baker:
Last week, I wrote about the conspiracy of corporate chieftains to impose a budget plan involving large cuts to Social Security and Medicare, regardless of who wins the elections in November. According to veteran Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein, who wrote approvingly of these efforts, many of the top executives of the country’s biggest companies are meeting behind closed doors to design such a budget plan.
This plan is expected to follow the designs of the plan crafted two years ago byMorgan Stanley Director Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, the co-directors of President Obama’s deficit commission. The Bowles-Simpson plan called for a reduction in the annual cost of living adjustment for Social Security that is equivalent to a 3 percent cut in benefits. It also called for gradually raising the normal retirement age to 69 and phasing in lower benefits for workers who earned more than $40,000 a year. The Bowles-Simpson plan would also raise the age of eligibility for Medicare to 67.
Pearlstein indicated that these corporate honchos were prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get their plan put into law. He put the necessary figure at $278 million. This target is made easier by virtue of the fact that the CEOs sit on trillions of dollars of corporate revenue and, thanks to the Supreme Court, all their contributions for this effort will be fully tax deductible.
That’s the state of play, at least according to Pearlstein’s assessment, or my interpretation of his assessment. The question is whether this juggernaut can be stopped.
Well, if it were a straight question of where the money lies, the answer is clearly no. The CEOs seeking to cut back or dismantle Social Security and Medicare can probably outspend the defenders of these programs ten to one. However, there is still the simple fact that the voters overwhelmingly support these programs.
He goes on to describe how to get politicians to answer specific questions about Social Security. Go read the rest.