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A Conservative in the Mix?; Don’t Cut Social Security; The High Court’s Latest Low Blow

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Conservative in the Mix?

In regard to Tom Vannah’s June 20 Between the Lines column (“To Forty More”): just like Fox Mulder on The X-Files, I want to believe. I would love to relive my college days, when my venomous pen would strike down liberals with savage ferocity, when my semi-semester newspaper was voted “best paper on campus,” when women swooned at my conservative rhetoric. But I don’t—for a minute—believe that the Advocate welcomes anything to the right of Che. I imagine your sense of balance is somebody mentioning the illegal wiretapping of James Rosen before being sent out for coffee.

And how awkward would it be if you hired me on as a writer? Oh, dear, imagine the staring daggers I’d have to endure, the pangs of moral righteousness.

But, what the heck, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I’ll be needing some fat extra writing cash to put my kid through college, starting next year. He wants to major in engineering, the lousy capitalist. So call me. Or don’t. It’s your funeral.

 

Don’t Cut Social Security

To those who say that Social Security was never meant to support seniors but only to supplement other income and savings: FDR started it in 1935 as a forced savings plan to lift seniors out of poverty, which it has done. It would be nice if seniors also had pensions and savings. But with the crushing of unions, pensions are now rare. Saving may be impossible for people working at low wage jobs, paying off their student loans, paying for college for their children and dealing with health problems in a family without insurance. It is not that they don’t want to save for retirement; it’s just more important to eat and get medicine today. Actually, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks the intent of Social Security was. The fact remains that many seniors have nothing but Social Security to live on.

When Republicans talk about Social Security reform, what they mean is cutting benefits. Social Security should be raised and tied to inflation. If they want to increase the funds available to pay benefits, they could make all types of income, including carried interest and capital gains, subject to Social Security taxation and raise the cap from the current $113,000. There is no need to cut benefits and programs.

If we keep giving to the rich (through tax havens, subsidies, no taxes required from onefourth of corporations) and hurting the middle class, we will end up with a few super rich, many very poor and no middle class to support the country. We have 50 million Americans below the poverty line and another 50 million close to poverty. Cutting Social Security would push many seniors into poverty and contribute to the further demise of the middle class. A society without a middle class is weak and unstable.

 

The High Court’s Latest Low Blow

I see the Supreme Court is well on its way to sealing the fascist takeover. Five angry men are leading the agenda of overturning all the gains minorities have made in the last 50 years. Their most recent decision was a disaster, squashing the Voting Rights Act. What’s left of our democracy is being whittled away. First we had the 2000 selection of King George II by the Extreme Court, then the Citizens United decision, now this. What will be next? I am 62 years old and stand aghast at the horrors our government keeps inflicting on us, Democrats and Republicans alike: the Patriot Act (designed to squash true patriots); the Military Appropriations Act that can throw any of us in jail, Guantanamo-style; the relentless prosecution and Kafkaesquely abusive punishment of whistleblowers; the new revelations of NSA intrusions on our  privacy; the illegal media monopolies that have silenced the free press. As our election system becomes more and more of a joke, you can be sure any legislation that helps ordinary people will be thrown down the toilet. The horror show has just begun!

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