Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bernie Sanders on social cuts

Keith Olbermann interviewed Bernie Sanders on 7/7/11. Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, is a self-described democratic socialist, which philosophy promotes economic democracy. In the interview Sanders discusses the suggested conservative cuts to Medicare and Social Security (SS). He explains that the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for seniors is already inadequate because they have to spend the majority of their benefits on drugs and health care, which costs are only escalating. Thus to cut the already insufficient COLA is tantamount to actual death panels, as opposed to the make-believe kind demagogued by the conservatives in the last election. And Sanders makes clear that SS has not contributed one penny to the deficit because it is funded by an employer payroll tax through worker and employer contributions and is running a surplus.

Meanwhile conservatives are recalcitrant in refusing to take one dime out of the pockets of the rich and corporations, who are seeing unprecedented wealth in a supposed economic downturn. Their tax rates are the lowest they've been in 60 years and they can't help out with contributing more to society as a whole? Is the “suffering” they will endure, perhaps having to buy one less Mercedes, equivalent to the low, fixed-income senior who will now not be able to afford buying life-saving prescription medicine due to COLA cuts? Can anyone seriously make this comparison?

Obama promised during his campaign that such cuts were inhumane and unacceptable. And now once again he is bargaining with the apparently insane conservatives, trying to meet them halfway by suggesting such cuts? Just to get perhaps one penny more in tax hikes out of the rich? He seems to have lost his bearings yet again, which leads one to question whether he had them from the beginning, whether he was just a master manipulator of rhetoric rather than a principled progressive of the people.

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