George W. Bush, with congressional approval, launched two costly, forever wars in the Middle East funded entirely on credit. He simultaneously cut taxes. These decisions reversed the budget surpluses of the Clinton years and the budget deficits have increased every year thereafter. They account almost entirely for the current deficit, according to the New York Times and Washington Post.
Some seven years after approving the wars without regard to the federal budget and approving the Bush tax cuts, Congress suddenly recognizes we are plunging into debt and declares our national security is threatened. This is a variation of the Chicken Little story except that the congressional Chicken Little placed the acorn above his head before it hit him.
Republicans and Democrats are stalemated on budgetary decisions. Obama, wanting to bring Republicans to the bargaining table, offers up the holy grail of conservatives, Social Security cuts. No other president, Democrat or Republican, has allowed a change in how Social Security payments are calculated such that payments are reduced.
Furthermore, the National Council on Aging wrote that a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment was not in the Republicans’ budget and such a proposal had never been the subject of congressional hearings.
It seems so unfair and so unnecessary to use seniors as bait. As it is, 60 percent and 40 percent of elderly women and men, respectively, are not able to meet their basic, daily expenses, according to the National Council on Aging.
As for Medicare, we should separate the actual cost of providing medical care from the cost of paying obscene profits to the health industry. The former category can justifiably be called Medicare and should be expanded as it is highly cost-effective.
The second classification should be called entitlements for corporate greed. It should be eliminated. It is nothing short of cruel to cut entitlements to the elderly and sick while maintaining entitlements to the rich and powerful.
Mary M. Zhu