It is official, the GOP and the media are going after Medicare and Social Security. Yesterday Scott Horsley (NPR) said that “Entitlements” are the primary drivers of the deficit.” Today, on the Diane Rheem Show, I made the point that entitlements are NOT line items in the budget and since the deficit is the product of budget spending less tax revenue, there is no way that Medicare and Social Security can contribute to the deficit. At that point, I was cut off and Diane’s guest lied emphatically that they are in the budget and will destroy this country. The guest stated again that it is UNFAIR to ask young people to support old people and that they should be free to invest their own money in their own retirement. We all know how well that works. Prior to Social Security, eleven percent of all seniors were living in abject poverty. Again, they pit us against each other when they are the real enemy.
We do NOT have a deficit crisis; We have a jobs crisis. More importantly, cutting benefits to Seniors decreases tax revenue which further increases the deficit, as do most spending cuts. Our deficit, as I said above, is the product of spending over revenue. If everything else was equal, one could cut the deficit through spending cuts. However, all things are not equal and they are certainly NOT static. Spending cuts are actually public sector job cuts, because the spending is on people. What we need to do is put people back to work. Revenue goes up and the deficit goes down.
On the issue of the debt ceiling, this would be just silly, were it not for the fact that it involves the “Full faith and Credit” of the United States. The time to control the debt ceiling is when you pass the budget. The “debt ceiling” does not decide, as you would think, how much money we intend to spend. No, it authorizes Congress to pay the bills for money we have already spent. If Congress jacks us around on this then the interest rate on our credit cards goes up and our deficit gets that much bigger.
So, cut the crap. Leave entitlements alone; Stop worrying about deficit right now and start focusing on putting people back to work. If they do not like the part about people getting a tax refund for not earning enough money to survive, then GET THEM A DECENT JOB. They must end this war against the old and the young, the poor and the middle class, or they might get more fight than they anticipate. No more attempting to pit the young against the old, to scrabble over the crumbs. “No more!” I say.