New Orleans No matter how jaded we have all become about the cynicism of political experience and the hijacking of popular government, regardless of the party and people in power, by the interests of the rich and the corporations, it is still shocking to see the mean-spirited erosion of consensus that in the richest country in the world there should be at least some semblance of care and concern for the less well off in our society. The emerging multi-party détente on the need to cripple the last of the entitlements around Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security goes is a concerted effort to flatly impoverish both communities and entire populations.
This wave of attack on citizen wealth or income security is not simply a matter of Texas governor Rick Perry being a flame throwing crazy man arguing that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.” The fact that he could even hurl such a stink bomb calculating that it would move his base is undoubtedly a shrewd calculation that the last shred of “compassionate conservativism” is gone. Exposing Perry as whack and a con artist, will not rebuild the consensus, given that the economic debate has now become stuck on the issue of debt period.
The debt attack is a scorched earth strategy by the right designed to obscure that is being burned in the name of saving some fancy houses in another block that are already getting all of the goods, services, and tax breaks. The strategy is cynical because it focuses on the least organized constituencies politically and therefore the powerless. Subsidies for the military, financial institutions, oil companies, and many others can still roar on, while poorer and older people will be impoverished and in some cases given the death sentence.
It is scary to think that millions will only be saved by the right’s overreaching and extremism. Social Security may be cordoned off, while medical and feeding programs are eviscerated. There may not be a bait-and-switch on emergency aid for communities as some of the Republicans were arguing, but that does not mean that there will not be pain and suffering for others.
The organizational and oppositional vacuum that exists at the street level rather than the internet assaults is devastating. At what point do we come together with a new plan? Before it’s too late!