GOP Strategy - Bankrupt The US

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In a move by Republicans in the House of Representatives revealed yesterday, their Medicare strategy is going to be applied to Social Security. Their strategy has but one goal and outcome, to end the program. Medicare/Medicaid already had a dismal finacial future last year when the Republicans made the program exorbidently more expensive not only with the addition of the Rx drug benefit, but, also by putting in language that prevented the Government from competitive bidding for the cost of benefts and prescriptions.

The net result is that Medicare is financially an even greater burden on our national debt today than before, and will belly up even sooner than before as national debt climbs and historic tax increases loom as the only way to deal with the debt. Republicans know Americans would overwhelmingly oppose them if they offered legislation to end Medicare/Medicaid. So, they have taken a different route. Make the program so expensive that voters will one day want to end the program to prevent huge tax increases from taking place or Government default on its debt obligations.

As the Associate Press's Glen Johnson reports:

House Republicans are moving to super-size President Bush's Social Security overhaul with measures aimed at breaking Democrats' united front against it - such as bolstering private pension plans and improving non-retiree benefits for widows, children and the disabled.
In the convoluted logic of Republicans, the way to end Social Security is not by voting on it, but, by bankrupting it, all the while protesting that they are trying to save it. But, when was any program in financial trouble ever saved by increasing its costs? Never! Yet, that is precisely what the Republicans are going to do.

It is a double whammy. The GOP both intends to increase the benefits for non-retired beneficiaries as well as remove revenues coming into Soc. Sec. and redirecting them to private savings accounts. In a few years, Republicans will take the stand that Social Security is what is causing the federal deficit of then 10 trillion dollars to force dramatic tax increases. They will then offer the voters a choice; dramatically increase their taxes or get rid of the Social Security program altogether which could even mean further tax cuts in the future.

This is all part of a grand plan by Republicans to hasten the day the US reaches the brink of bankruptcy. The Transportation Bill this week, in which Pres. Bush called for 256 billion for roads and bridges repairs and maintenance, ballooned under the Republican Congress' pork layering which increased the size of the bill to about 290 billion despite Bush's idle threat of a veto. And a great deal of that pork added on to the bill, is not going to go for roads and bridges, but for all manner of other local and regional pork projects from gazebos to new historical site preservations to sports projects. When one steps back and takes a look at the big picture, one sees Bush and Congress coming to office in 2000 with about 5.5 Trillion in national debt. Today, that amount is more than 7 and 3/4 Trillion and rising. (9/11 and Iraq/Afghanistan account for less than 1 trillion).

The House report of the nation for 2004 indicates 1.3 Trillion will be added to the national debt based on current program projections by 2014. That of course does not include the additions to the national debt for our continued activities in Iraq and Afghanistan nor the minimum initial 2 Trillion dollars which private savings accounts will add to the national debt. Put all these together, and the big picture paints a national debt of well over 11 Trillion dollars in the early part of the next decade. Even conservative think tanks agree that debt level is not sustainable and will lead to hugely negative effects upon our economy. They also agree that growing the economy cannot begin to address that level of national debt. Much higher taxes or dramatic spending cuts will be needed to reduce an 11 Trillion dollar national debt back to a manageable 6 to 7 Trillion dollar level.

Our current national debt of 7.75 Trillion is costing the average worker over $2000 a year in federal taxes just on the interest payments for that debt. That is $2000 of your tax bill for which you receive nothing, not a single pot hole in the road fixed, not one extra dollar for education, not one extra dollar to save Social Security, nothing, nada! That portion of your federal taxes does however enrich Treasury bond investors, 40% of whom are wealthy foreigners in Saudi Arabia, China, India, and Japan. So, in reality, about $800 of the average tax payer's federal taxes each year goes for nothing other than to make rich foreigners richer.

This borrow and spend strategy of the Republicans will have one of two dramatic outcomes. if no other serious hits on our economy occur in the next 10 years, the result will be Congress killing the single biggest expenses of the federal government, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid to bring the debt under control. Or, with a 10+ Trillion dollar debt load, our economy is hit hard by another natural disaster such as a Yellowstone volcano or Tsunami hitting the West Coast or another devastating terrorist attack, which will literally force the United States to default for the first time in its history on its debt obligations. Under either scenario, somewhere between 50 and 150 million Americans will be forced into poverty.

This is the GOP poker hand. They are willing to bet such enormous negative consequences in the pursuit of their ideological belief that Americans helping Americans through the tax system is an evil we cannot afford. Their winning hand is a royal flush that pits American tax payers against themselves in the hopes of ending social spending in America. Follow the steps. How else can the party of fiscal conservativism's behavior in doubling our national debt under their leadership make any sense. It is not an accident.

It is not without plan and design. There is a goal behind doubling our national debt and risking US insolvency. And only one makes sense in light of ultra-conservative values which vehemently oppose American tax dollars helping Americans. The irony is these same leaders don't think twice about sending 100's of billions of tax dollars to Indonesia or Iraq to help Iraqis or Indonesians. But then that is easily explained by their Bankrupt America agenda too, isn't it?

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 18, 2005 7:58 AM.

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