Ted Rall’s new animated series (animation by David Essman):
Tom DeLay may be in prison, but his staffers aren’t — and now they’re working for the new Republican leadership!
This is why arguments about term limits are pointless. Staffers hold much, if not most of the power in Congress. They’re the ones who pal around with lobbyists, they’re the ones who will be looking for work if their Congressional member ever loses re-election.
Honestly, I don’t think you can be paranoid enough about Big Pharma. Stories like this illustrate why.
Yeah, it’s pretty astounding. Instead of demanding that other jobs have good pay and benefits, people are clamoring to get rid of the jobs that do!
Republicans are building support for draconian cuts to the size and compensation of the public sector workforce – Those goddamn greedy teachers! – based on a very simple, natural reaction to tough economic times. Chris Christie, for example, isn’t doing anything more complicated than pointing at public employees’ benefits and telling the rest of the state, “Look! They have much better benefits than you. Doesn’t that make you mad?” Boy does it.
And of course voters react the only way American voters know how. Demand better benefits and working conditions for themselves? Heavens no. Demand that Christie reconsider the state millionaire tax he vetoed over the summer so the state can meet its contractual obligations? Oh hell no. They demand the dismantling of public sector benefits. If I can’t have ‘em, nobody can.
It’s yet another of the fantastic tricks our political elites have engineered since the 1970s. Cut private sector benefits, let real wages stagnate, and then tell the former middle class, “Now that you’re struggling, doesn’t it piss you off to have to pay for the pension of some cop who retires at 53?” It really is brilliant. Historically, plutocrats have had to force race-to-the-bottom capitalism on working people over tooth and nail opposition. Now they’ve found a way to make the serfs practically demand it.
It’s amazing how they can get people to think so counter-intuitively. You could even say I’m jealous.
Go read this Chris Hedges interview with Ralph Nader.
How they’re going to take away from Social Security and give us nothing in return — which is what they call a “compromise”"
But it’s not only the left and (presumably) congressional representatives from south Florida who oppose what will be marketed as “entitlement reform.” Bloomberg Business Week reported that an AP/CNBC News poll taken in November found “nearly two-thirds oppose raising the retirement age to 69 for people to receive full Social Security benefits. Most oppose raising the retirement age even if done gradually over the next 65 years.”
Those numbers will have to move if Social Security is to be undermined. “Social Security” will be replaced in the popular mind with “entitlements,” meant to imply money greedy individuals believe they are entitled to, rather than from a fund built up by employers and employees themselves. Politicians and the media will continue to conflate the trust fund with general revenues, inferring that the system is driving up the deficit. People just are living so much longer, we will hear; details will remain a closely guarded secret because life expectancy at 65, particularly for people most in need, has little changed.
Generational warfare will be invoked; we’ll be told- without being reminded the trust fund is in the black- that the young are being deprived. A proposal to raise the cap on contributing to the system, popular with the public, will be floated, only to be dropped later in the spirit of bipartisan “compromise” so popular with the media and this President.
It all will be done in the cause of reducing a deficit to which Social Security never has contributed. The cut will apply only to future retirees, who over the years have been fattened for the kill with misinformation and disinformation. Something, though, has to be sacrificed- and what better than a successful program which pays out guaranteed benefits year after year?