The reason is simple.
Hint: Government debt is not a factor.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid quite literally prop up the middle class. Eliminate these programs, and the middle class will all but disappear. THAT is the whole point. The Republican attacks on social services are nothing short of a full-scale, systematic, intentional effort to eliminate the middle class.
Thanks to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, seniors can retire without completely relying on their adult children to take care of them. That allows those families to increase their household wealth through savings and investment, instead of living paycheck to paycheck while struggling with their bills. Thanks to Medicare and Medicaid, seniors, the disabled, and the destitute can received life-saving health care services that otherwise would have bankrupted them or their families. Without those services, these people would have died, and that is what the Republicans are proposing, in a sick new twist on Marie Antoinette’s famous slogan: “Let them go bankrupt and die.”
Eliminating the Competition
Republicans want to eliminate Social Security because they do not want members of the middle class to have the opportunity to increase their household wealth.
An important principle of doing business in a capitalist economy is that monopolies are profitable. Increasing market share increases profits. Therefore, any reasonable business person will do everything possible to eliminate the competition. The increased saving and spending power of the middle class is perceived by the ultra-rich as a threat. (Remember that most members of Congress have personal wealth greater than $1 million, and thus our nation’s highest governing body is stacked to over-represent the interests of the ultra-rich.)
In brief: It’s all about eliminating the competition.
Why eliminate the middle class? There is just one motive: profit. The aristocracy profits from the elimination of the middle class in many ways. For one, as previously mentioned, if you eliminate the middle class’s ability to make investments, then you automatically increase the proportion of investment income that flows to the aristocracy.
For another thing, desperate people are easier to control. Desperate people don’t complain about rigged elections because they’re too worried about feeding their families. Desperate people will work for next to nothing, even though it’s not enough to cover their basic expenses, because they have no other options. True, desperate people commit more property crimes: but the victims of those crimes are other desperate people. The aristocracy in their gated communities are generally not affected by crime, with one exception: privately owned prisons, and the forced labor that takes place within them, are very, very profitable.
Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal Throws Seniors Under the Bus
Budgetary concerns are a parlor trick to distract voters from the real issues. Republican fiscal mismanagement caused our budget crisis in the first place. Republican fiscal policy will never solve the problem it created: it can only make matters worse.
The media campaign has been ongoing for some time now, and it can only be expected to intensify. President Bush Jr. was unable to privatize Social Security in his administration, but the Republican Party’s animosity towards social services of any kind has found new life in the 112th Congress, which is presently holding the entire government hostage over the budget, and which may well force a government shutdown just to prove something or other.
The latest Congressional budget proposal for the next fiscal year got a big op-ed write-up in the Wall Street Journal by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s proposed budget includes dramatic tax cuts for corporations and for the wealthiest Americans; expensive tax cuts which he intends to pay for by slashing or eliminating social services including Medicare and Medicaid, which he categorizes as “welfare”.
If Medicaid is “welfare,” one wonders how the nation’s seniors will feel about being the targets of “welfare reform.” As Ezra Klein pointed out in his piece in the Washington Post, two-thirds of Medicaid expenditures go to provide care to the elderly and the disabled (Klein’s statistics are from the Kaiser Commission and the Urban Institute). Another 20% of Medicaid’s budget provides health care to children. A small minority of the program’s funds go to adults; and as I have argued before, if we want to get those adults off the public rolls, then we should start by raising the minimum wage, not by eliminating social services. Indeed, if the primary concern were budgetary, then we should start by increasing the top marginal tax rate and the corporate tax rate, not by eliminating social services.
But as I’ve already stated, the budget has nothing to do with this push to eliminate social services. The budget is just a transparent excuse. The budget could easily be fixed by taxing the rich and cutting military spending. Instead, Republicans want to increase military spending and cut taxes for the rich; and they will pay for these expenses by raising taxes on the rest of us and by eliminating the social services that were established generations ago to benefit the People of the United States of America.
Republican Fiscal Irresponsibility
Republican economic policies gave us high unemployment, skyrocketing bankruptcy filings, the collapse of the housing market, and a trillion dollar federal budget deficit. Obama inherited all these problems from Bush, even though the Mainstream Media seems to have some memory problems regarding this incontrovertible fact, since the media consistently fails to challenge Republicans when they LIE and try to pin all the problems on Obama as if he had somehow caused them … years before he got elected.
So, a Republican President Bush and his Republican Congress comrades inherited a budget surplus from Democrat President Clinton. They promptly turned this pile of money into a stack of “IOU’s” by handing out the contents of the Treasury to the richest people in the country. Remember that? It was called the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich. I got a lousy $300 “tax refund” check out of the deal. If I had been a multi-billionaire, my check from the government would have been for millions of dollars. The appeasement scheme was intentionally regressive: it mostly benefitted those at the very top of our modern neo-feudalist aristocracy. Someday, my son will have to pick up the tab plus interest.
Stealing from the Poor to Give to the Rich
Well, that’s where all the money went: we gave it away to the rich people. (Then we spent billions we didn’t have on wars we didn’t need…) Now that there’s no money left, the only solution Congress can think to propose is to give even more money to the rich people in an act which will strip away the last straw of hope from the needy, the destitute, the suffering, the aged, and the crippled.
Of course, that’s how Republicans think: you rob from the poor so you can give money to the rich. This is their agenda, their philosophy, and their intended course of action.
The Republican philosophy: “Let them go bankrupt and die.”