Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Attack On Social Security Begins In Earnest

via TPM

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the chairs of the catfood commission, have issued their draft recommendations, and they are pretty much a whack at the middle and lower classes, as you would expect.
The plan would reduce Social Security benefits to most future retirees — low-income people would get a higher benefit — and it would subject higher levels of income to payroll taxes to ensure Social Security’s solvency for at least the next 75 years.
But the plan would not count any savings from Social Security toward meeting the overall deficit-reduction goal set by Mr. Obama, reflecting the chairmen’s sensitivity to liberal critics who have complained that Social Security should be fixed only for its own sake, not to balance the nation’s books.
The proposed simplification of the tax code would repeal or modify a number of popular tax breaks — including the deductibility of mortgage interest payments — so that income tax rates could be reduced across the board. Under the plan, individual income tax rates would decline to as low as 8 percent on the lowest income bracket (now 10 percent) and to 23 percent on the highest bracket (now 35 percent). The corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, would also be reduced, to as low as 26 percent.
Surpise, surprise, the wealthy get lower taxes, we lose our mortgage interest deduction,  and not only that but we get a cut in Social Security and a raise in the retirement age to boot. These people are still rolling Medicare and Social Security into the government deficits...which they are not. They are separately funded and their cost does not come out of the general fund. Note also that the commission was created to address the deficit and not entitlements.

Among other recommendations:
  • Index the retirement age to longevity -- i.e., increase the retirement age to qualify for Social Security -- to age 69 by 2075.
  • Index Social Security yearly increases to inflation rather than wages.
  • Freeze federal worker wage increases through 2014; eliminate 200,000 federal jobs by 2020; and eliminate 250,000 federal non-defense contractor jobs by 2015
  • Establish co-pays in the VA medical system and change the co-pays and deductibles for military retirees that remain in that system.
  • Eliminate NASA funding for commercial space flight.
  • Require the Smithsonian museums to start charging entrance fees and raise fees at the national parks.
  • Eliminate funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which many conservatives suggested in the wake of the firing of former NPR contributor Juan Williams.
  • Reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year.
Mind you, this is not the actual full recommendation of the commission, which requires 14 of the 18 members to sign off. Supposedly its a starting point to get the ball rolling on getting the full commissions approval.  Couple this with Pete Peterson's new attacks on Social Security and I think we are beginning to see an all out effort to finalize the plutocracy. Without Social Security, viable health care and the rest of the social support network we will be at the mercy of the plutocrats. They will, in short order, and thanks to the GOP be completely free of any government oversight and they will have us at their mercy. We will survive or die at their whim and we will survive only if it profits them.

You can read the draft plan here.

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