Jan 9, 2012
In the middle of the Christmas holidays, Congress snuck through two measures that were advertised as part of a “jobs program” and “economic stimulus”. In reality, both measures are thinly disguised attacks against working people.
The first measure is a cut in the payroll tax to fund Social Security. This will be the second year that Congress has cut this tax. In the short term, it left more of what working people earn in their pay check. But the money they are keeping would have gone to fund Social Security. You can bet that in the future, the politicians will turn around and use that as the excuse to cut Social Security benefits for retirees. They already are. Right-wing publications, like Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard which openly opposes Social Security, have applauded cuts in Social Security payroll taxes.
The second measure was presented as the continuation of extended unemployment for the long term unemployed. But the fine print in the law specifies that the final extended benefits program is available only in states where the unemployment rate has risen significantly over the past three years. Of course, unemployment started to skyrocket in big parts of the country more than three years ago. So, even though unemployment remains extremely high, this rule means that in 11 states, including Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island and Oregon, the maximum unemployment benefits are being slashed by 20 weeks from 99 to 79 weeks, and less in Michigan, which just slashed its own payments by six weeks.
It was a New Year’s gift from Obama to the capitalist class. And, by the way, he hopes we will fall for his big lie, pretending it’s a gift to us!