I saw a report on the Nieman Watchdog entitled "Has Obama created a Social Security death panel?" this week that has me extremely concerned. Evidently the Obama Administration and the leadership in Congress have empowered enormous and unaccountable authority to 18 unrepresentative, excessively wealthy white men. These guys could quite possibly decide the financial future to some degree for every single one of us. They are the members of President Obama’s newly-formed National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The fact that they lack any type of diversity is abhorrent, but more worrisome is they lack variance of opinion. While claiming "everything is on the table" (*wink*), one of them is the CEO of a major defense contractor.
One area that they're in agreement on -- targeting programs that help the middle class and those Americans who are the most vulnerable. Erskine Bowles went on record before the North Carolina Bankers' Association saying that if the Commission doesn't "mess with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ... America is going to be a second-rate power" in his lifetime. It's been suggested with regard to Social Security that it doesn't affect anyone over 60. Well that's very nice, but what about those of us in our 40's and 50's who have been paying into the system our entire lives? Tough shit? We all knew 20+ years ago the we had to supplement our social security earnings with IRA's and later 401K's after Reagan made it vogue to start union busting and encouraging companies not to offer pensions to their loyal employees. However supplementing something and suddenly losing a decent amount of your own money that you were expecting (and faithfully paid into) returned should be considered grand larceny. At the very least, they should pay us out for our "contributions." I could begrudgedly live with that, even with interest lost - at least it's not the entire "contribution." My guess is that they'll raise retirement age again to a point where they'll be comfortable knowing most of us won't collect a red cent of our own money. Eventually we'll have a society of paupers and wealthy pricks who took our homes when we couldn't afford health insurance or our property taxes as we get older. Maybe I'm cynical, but the rules are skewed to the wealthy who will destroy anything and everything in their quest for power and domination. When will we collectively ask in earnest, how much is enough?
So, that begs the question; Why bother fighting to elect Democrats when they're just more polite versions of the Republican agenda? In some ways it's worse because we got our hopes up..."change we can believe in" and all that jazz. At least Republicans make no bones about the fact that they're corporate loving assholes. Even Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) who I thought was on our side said, “the bleeding-heart liberals have to make real sacrifices to strengthen our nation.” Why? Why can't the wealthy or the corporations make sacrifices? Why do "we the people" allow them to treat every individual as dispensible? Is what we're facing right now due to years of destroying education in this country. People blindly follow their party without questioning their motives. I think the time has come for a real third party, one that really works for the people. I know in time they'll become corrupt as well, but at least "we the people" might get a honeymoon. I'm not talking about Libertarians, they're just Republicans who smoke pot; I'm not talking about the Green Party who just worry about one issue; albeit an important one. I'm talking about a real Independent Party; a party that does the people's business. There are only 2 or 3 current Senators that might fit that mold in my opinion; Bernie Sanders of Vermont, possibly Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and I think Ohio's Sherrod Brown has potential. When they vote no on bills that are sometimes wanted by the Democratic Party, it's because the bills haven't gone far enough for their consituents...not just to say no. President Obama has done numerous things that concern me, but this alleged backroom deal may actually be the most upsetting to date. Apparently the war on the middle class is one that they're comfortable putting into the win column.