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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

 
Guess what? Americans aren't selfish freeloaders after all.


by digby

In this piece, RJ Eskow details the elite Villagers' insistence that the American people are a bunch of spoiled children who want their "goodies" even though "the country" can't afford them -- and that they are going to have to endure pain and sacrifice for the good of the nation.  I think this from early 2009 illustrates the phenomenon perfectly:

MSNBC commentator: ... The subtext of all of this [call to service] is "hey Americans, you're gonna have to do your part too. There may be some sacrifices involved for you too." Do you think he's going to use his political capital to make those arguments and will it go beyond rhetoric?

Andrea Mitchell: It does go beyond rhetoric. He needs to engage the American people in this joint venture. That's part of the call. That's part of what he needs to accomplish in his spech and in the days following the speech. He needs to make people feel that this is their venture as well and that people are going to need to be more patient and have to contribute and that there will have to be some sacrifice.

And certainly, if he is serious about what he told the Washington Post last week, that he wants to take on entitlement reform, there will be greater sacrifice required from a nation already suffering from economic crisis --- to ask people to take a look at their health care and their other entitlements and realize that for the long term health and vitality of the country we're going to have to give up something that we already enjoy.
(What do you mean "we" rich woman?)

Here's Lil' Luke Russert:

If you look at the backdrop, Dylan, just look at the stats. Federal revenue now is at its lowest level since 1950. If you extend the Bush tax cuts the way the Republicans want, you get $3.8 trillion added to the deficits. If you add them the way Democrats want, you get $3 trillion added over the next three years. If you don't do anything to medicare or medicaid or social security, those programs will not be solvent. 
Both parties don't want to tell the American people it's time to drink their tough medicine.
Both parties are going to try to take 2012 as the avenue to have this debate further. But as this debate goes on and on and on. The real difficult decisions, the real ideas of how are we going to cut this deficit, they go unanswered.

But as Eskow points out, the American people have the answer to the projected Social Security shortfall, right here:

A new survey from the National Academy of Social Insurance reinforces previous polling which showed Americans across the political spectrum oppose benefit cuts to Social Security and want wealthy Americans to pay more.

But the NASI study did something new: It presented respondents with a range of options and allowed them to select among them. The results were striking, and revealed a rock-solid consensus which spanned generations and political persuasions: Americans want wealthy people to pay their fair share, but they're willing to chip in more themselves -- so much so, in fact, that Social Security benefits could be increased.

That's a very good idea, since Social Security's benefits are among the lowest in the developed world.

"Greedy Geezers" = Selfless Seniors

That includes seniors, as can be seen if you delve into the NASI survey's findings. Older people's activism in defense of Social Security has always been primarily selfless. After all, only the "chained CPI" proposal would cut their benefits, and it hadn't been introduced yet when Simpson called them "greedy geezers." They were fighting for the generations that follow them, not themselves.

That selflessness is borne out by the NASI survey, which showed that 88 percent of "Silent Generation" respondents -- the youngest of whom is 70 -- were willing to pay more in taxes to protect the program.

Everybody get together, learn to love one another right now ...

That spirit of generosity extends to Baby Boomers, too. Eighty-six percent of them said they "didn't mind" paying more in taxes to protect the program, even though most benefit-cut proposals would affect Boomers less than the generations that follow them.

The Baby Boom generation lost most of its wealth in the Wall Street financial crisis. Yet it's still willing to pay up to keep the program solvent -- especially for their children's generation.

The Kids Are AllRight

Younger Americans are willing to make the hard decisions, too. Eighty-seven percent of Gen X-ers and 85 percent of Gen Y-ers were also willing to pay more in taxes in order to protect the program.

Solid majorities of young people were willing to share in the sacrifice, across all income levels.

Consensus At Last

Did you think Republicans never want to pay more taxes? Not true, at least when it comes to Social Security. Three out of four Republicans said they'd be willing to pay more to protect the program. So did 86 percent of independents -- and 91 percent of Democrats.

What's more, 62 percent of Republicans thought we should consider increasing the program's benefits. So did 71 percent of independents and 84 percent of Democrats.

The President's vision of bipartisan consensus can be achieved - around strengthening Social Security.

Having Their Cake -- And Eating Yours, Too

Guess who isn't willing to step up and pitch in? The millionaires, billionaires, and corporations behind the deficit hysteria. Their pampered pitchpeople are hiding, too.

After all, the NASI survey's been out for a week and we haven't heard a peep from any of them. Not one of them has congratulated the American people for making those "hard choices." Not one of them has signed on to promote the NASI survey's common-sense, fiscally responsible agenda for Social Security.

Not even straight-shootin' Alan Simpson.
I think we can all agree that this was not the "sacrifice" that Simpson or Mitchell or Russert had in mind.

Medicare's woes are all tied up in rising health care costs which the privileged Villagers think can be solved simply by making senior citizens pay more of them. (One can only conclude that they believe sick old people are faking and if they have to pay they won't waste the money and costs will come down. Either that or they just hope a bunch of them will die younger to save money.) But even with all that the American people have shown over and over again that they value these programs, they want them to thrive and they are willing to pay for them through taxes.

The ideological and self-interested propaganda of the MOUs and the Republican Party has been very successful in creating the illusion that Americans only want these things as long as they don't have to pay for them. It just isn't true.

If this democracy were truly functional everyone would know this. And I would submit that the reason it isn't functional in this instance is the fact that the media has, for too long, been a willing conduit for this wealthy elite propaganda. I'm going to guess that it's because many of them are members of that same club or aspire to it.

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