One bit of minor calendar news before we get on with it: for the next two weeks, this column will be on hiatus. Instead, it will be pre-empted by our annual awards columns where we note the notable and laud the laudable from the past year.
When did older people become the enemy? Last week a judge ruled that Detroit could move forward with its plan to cut pensions for retired city workers. This week Washington is celebrating a budget deal which harms older people economically in several ways.
I can understand why Republican leaders like this deal. They don't want to risk another government shutdown, given how badly they got burned by the last one earlier in the fall. But America would do better with another temporary spending resolution than with this raw deal.
Federal workers will be expected to subsidize this deal with an increase in their out-of-pocket pension costs. There will be cuts to Medicare. Airline passengers will pay a new tax. Military retirees -- military retirees -- will see their benefits cut.
For many years the American Right -- and many of the most powerful elements of corporate and Wall Street elite -- have conducted a war on public employees. It's time for Progressives -- and Americans of all stripes -- to wake up and smell the coffee.