Sunday, November 28, 2010
Recalling the 1958 science fiction movie "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," Mother Jones magazine portrayed the "Attack on the Middle Class" by a right-wing represented by Sarah Palin. This movement depends on "A confused and frightened citizenry vot[ing] against its own self-interest." Palin's pose as a "mama grizzly" obscures her role in a movement dedicated to destroying the programs that ensure the existence of a middle class. James K. Galbraith comments on those targeting Social Security and Medicare (especially following the release of the Bowles-Simpson commission on deficit reduction) in Mother Jones:
...The same forces that went after the unions in the 1980s, that relentlessly pushed free-trade agreements while manufacturing jobs evaporated, and that destroyed housing values in the 2000s—they're on the prowl again. If Social Security and Medicare are cut, finance and insurance companies will skim the cream—the wealthier, healthier participants—while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. Social Security and Medicare, they think, are easy prey, once we've been softened up by scare stories about how they're on the "brink of bankruptcy" and we "can't afford them."
It isn't true, of course. Social Security and Medicare can't go bankrupt, just as the Pentagon can't. They're not in some separate bank account or lockbox—they're government programs that we either choose to pay for or don't. And not only can we afford them, they're a bargain, providing modest comfort and decent care to people who would otherwise financially burden their families—or die.