BY SHARON MARTIN
So, here’s the situation, fellow baby boomers. We worked hard our whole life, lived frugally, and saved for a nice retirement. But there’s been some “social engineering” that puts our future in jeopardy.
Interest rates are so low that one needs $600,000 in savings just to earn $6,000 a year. And some greedy yahoos played with the mortgage markets so one can’t rely on Wall Street.
Now, Congress is trying to mess with our last remaining safety nets.
Paul Ryan, author of the Medicare voucher proposal, says he is saving us from the “debt crisis.” He adds, “You can’t balance the budget without getting rid of spending.”
He’s right. We must cut all unnecessary spending. But health care isn’t unnecessary. Education isn’t unnecessary. Tax credits to wealthy corporate donors, not so much.
When Bank of America can park money offshore to keep from paying taxes, we might want to consider the supply side of our revenue system.
Ryan’s Medicare proposal is privatization. We’ve done that experiment, and the Medicare Advantage programs cost more than traditional Medicare. Ryan’s scheme has the added feature of costing the consumer more. It’s a real winner.
When Ryan was confronted with the unpopularity of his proposal, he said, “I don’t consult polls to see what my principles are.” That can be translated to mean, “I don’t care what the people who elected me want.”
I agree, however, that we must “get on to a serious conversation to prevent debt crisis,” but I’m not sure how serious some of his colleagues are. I hate to be cynical, but the best chance Republicans have to win in 2012 is to destroy the economy and make Obama look bad.
One conservative even suggested that we should pass the deadline for raising the debt ceiling just to see what would happen. Economists on both sides shouted, “No, you idiot,” and predicted a stock market plunge.
Maybe that’s what they want. If you’ve read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, you’ll understand their philosophy. They believe that the rich are somehow more worthy. Those who do not run large corporations, including the unfortunates who work for them, are parasites. If they were real winners, they’d start their own multinational companies.
In the novel, the economy crumbles. The rich get to start over with a gold-based standard. Everyone else goes to poverty hell.
Yeah, that sounds like it might be good for less than 1% of the population. And, as usual, a lot of poor people will buy into the idea that we can’t possibly tax the rich.
If they’re lucky, perhaps they can spend their golden years working at McDonalds. Does that job at the fry machine come with insurance?
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer