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Cut Social Security, Don't Tax The Rich: Where Is The Outrage?

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Maybe you feel, on days like this, the same way I do -- that you live in an alternate universe. In my alternate universe, I wouldn't consider cutting education, health care, or aid to the poor before asking the richest people in our society to pay their fair share in dues. In my alternate universe, I would tax the rich before even talking about "reforming" (read: cutting) Social Security and Medicare -- which are sacred compacts we have with people who have paid their dues for many years in society. And in my alternate universe I would be surrounded by millions of people filled with outrage that we are even discussing imposing more burden on the least able in our society, while letting the rich skate by.

Yesterday, I argued that we need not worry about deficits nor consider cutting domestic programs because we could easily fund our needs if we demanded from the richest people in society to pay their fair share in dues to live in our society--to the tune of several hundreds billion dollars.

Today, I read that the new Administration is looking at cutting entitlement costs. This from The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Obama pledged Wednesday to attack surging spending on entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, and he promised to lay out specific federal programs to cut when he unveils his first budget blueprint next month

Or The New York Times:

President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be "a central part" of his administration's efforts to contain federal spending, signaling for the first time that he would wade into the thorny politics of entitlement programs.

Actually, the headline I've used for this post is not accurate. Even if we don't tax the rich, THERE IS NO CRISIS IN SOCIAL SECURITY. I pointed this out more than a year ago in response to then-candidate Barack Obama's statement about a crisis in Social Security.

Let me repeat this: THERE IS NO CRISIS IN SOCIAL SECURITY. If you want to read an entire book about the phony Social Security crisis, pick up Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker's Social Security: The Phony Crisis. For a shorter version, see this.

As for Medicare, the crisis in that program is about one thing -- our insane health care system. If "reforming" means cutting benefits, that is a cause for outrage. If "reforming" means putting in place a single-payer health care plan -- which would save the system hundreds of billions of dollars and provide more efficient care -- I'm all for it.

But, the real question is: where is the outrage?

Where is the labor movement, the seniors' movement, the citizens' movements of all stripes who should be marching in front of the country clubs and mansions of the rich, demanding that the richest one percent cough up some of the massive fortunes they have amassed in the past decade so that kids can get schooled, people can get decent health care, and we can build roads and bridges that won't collapse--the very roadways that the rich use.

Where is the outrage?

Where are the mass protests when the governor of New York talks about cutting education and health care, yet refuses to significantly raise taxes on the rich which would mean that those cuts would be unnecessary?

Where is the outrage?