The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Hands off Social Security and Medicare!

Apr 15, 2013

Under the guise of balancing the budget, President Barack Obama has taken the lead in spearheading an outrageous attack on the U.S. population, and most markedly, on senior citizens. In the most reactionary of proposals, he has proposed cuts in income to elders while at the same time raising costs for their medical coverage.

Of course the President is not alone in drafting his wish list: This is an old agenda that both Republicans and Democrats have been dreaming of for years. In fact, Obama laid the groundwork for his proposal last year in what were called “private deficit reduction talks” with John A. Boehner, speaker of the House. In fact, these two powerful leaders of both parties reached a basic agreement that the costs of the budget deficit would be put squarely on the backs of the population. Their only problem was how to do it in a way that would avoid a general outcry on the part of the population that could damage political careers or even perhaps lead to social mobilization.

But now, with the elections safely over, the gloves come off. Under the guise of balancing the budget, Obama loudly demanded higher taxes on the rich in exchange for cuts to the Social Security and Medicare programs.

What an elaborate charade! According to the press, even some Republicans called the proposal a shocking attack on seniors. (Not the Speaker of the House, Boehner, however, who mumbled something about Obama making a “decent” start on the problem.)

No one believes a word about the higher taxes on the rich: Hell, they have paid next to nothing in taxes as private individuals as far back as the Reagan administration. Their corporations pay even less. While working people may pay 25 to 33 percent of their income, the IRS has allowed these corporate giants to pay a tiny portion of a low percentage of 3 or 4 percent in taxes on billions of dollars. Some huge corporations even get refunds!

No, the only ones getting a tax increase are the poor and working people who got an added 2 percent hike in Social Security taxes; that is, a 2 percent reduction in current income, every day.

While the demand for taxes on the rich will be dropped along the way, you better believe that the cuts proposed for Social Security and Medicare will stay on the table.

More outrageous still, all of these lying politicians are well aware that the costs of Medicare and Social Security do not have any part in increasing or decreasing the Federal deficit! Social Security and Medicare programs are funded by direct taxation of the population on every dime earned. Social Security and Medicare both are paid out of trust funds that have accumulated huge resources over time. These funds are not depleted: far from it! The Social Security fund has been running at a SURPLUS for years. The funding for these two programs had NOTHING to do with the deficit that the Federal Government racked up.

All of these lying politicians know this. Deficit? Look to where the money really went. It is going to pay the costs of the outrageous wars the U.S. has carried out against Iraq and Afghanistan for more than ten years: wars that decimate the populations of these countries and destroy generations of U.S. workers while bringing nothing of value. Oh, but the war contractors have gotten fabulously rich in the process, haven’t they?

And what about the bailouts to the banks? Seven hundred billion dollars given to Wall Street in one gift alone from the U.S. Treasury; money that had to be borrowed from the very banks that received it back with no controls, no demands on how the money would be used. Money that threw the economy into a tailspin and created a deficit unprecedented in world history.

Finally, there is the outright gift to the wealthy of increased tax breaks. Taxes that were previously demanded were eliminated, leaving the most able to pay with little or no obligation.

The proposal to cut the Social Security and Medicare entitlements has nothing to do with paying the debt. If they wanted the debt paid, they would demand the money from the banks and those who stole it, increase taxes on the rich, and stop the wars.

This latest attack by the Democratic and Republican government bodies against the working class makes clear who the government represents. And it certainly isn’t the working class. They work for the wealthy capitalists and the bankers.

So why should we listen to them? Why should we pay the price they demand?

These cuts in Social Security and Medicare will certainly happen unless the working class fights back. The politicians up to now have been afraid they may push us over the edge. Every president since Roosevelt has been afraid to go this far.

Let’s show them that their fears are warranted, and that we are already over the edge when it comes to taking any more abuse.