Thursday, February 24, 2011

Boehner Not Looking Out for Our Grandchildren

John Boehner, Majority Leader in the US House of Representatives and his sidekicks are not looking out for our grandchildren.
Boehner says the “country is broke,” and a sidekick speaks of bankruptcy.  They are wrong.  The debt scare is the same old, oddly effective tactic of inducing fear.  No country that controls its currency can go broke or bankrupt.  Public debts are private assets.  If those assets get too large, the country can experience inflation.  And, we are no where near inflation trouble now.  At least it isn’t showing up in the Core Consumer Price Index shown below.
Percent change in CPI quarterly

Boehner says current deficits will “shackle our children and grandchildren,”  but he doesn’t say how.  They don’t have to pay off the debt any more than we do.  They will have to pay the interest, which in an expanding and more productive economy they will be able to afford.
Boehner and his cronies want to revoke “entitlements,”  Social Security and Medicare.  Social Security was reviewed in 1983 under Reagan.  The Greenspan Commission knew all about the baby boom generation and “fixed” Social Security at that time.  There is no immediate Social Security problem.
Also, Medicare is not a problem.  The root problem is rising health costs in the whole Health-Profit system.  We pay twice as much of our GDP for health care as any other modern nation.  For that we get poorer medical outcomes and cover fewer people.  If we could raise the level of our Health Care to that of the rest of the modern world, we could save $1 trillion per year.  Therein lies much of our future deficit problem.
Modern-day conservatives are looking more and more like the mean landlord in a bad melodrama.  They are trying to remove the social safety nets that should exist in a prosperous, modern economy.  The conservatives’ view of the future doesn’t look good for our grandchildren.
The real threats to our nation’s future lie not in entitlements as the Republicans claim, but in, at least, four Republican sacred elephants that will really “shackle” our grandchildren: 
  1. The Military-Industrial complex that would keep us in perpetual war.  The consequences of war are loss of blood and treasure.  The former counts thousands dead and 10’s of thousands wounded, the later amounts into trillions of dollars.  These numbers dwarf our foreign aid.  Why don’t we extend a helping hand instead of pointing a loaded gun?
  2. The Health-Profit complex that puts profit ahead of care. The profit motive is inconsistent with care, which is evident when health insurance companies deny care on technicalities.  Other modern countries have controlled costs through single-payer or non-profit operations.  Another possibility is utility-like regulation.  Once again: This is a $1 trillion per year problem.
  3. The Financial-Predator complex that continuously moves wealth to the rich at the expense of the average worker by privatizing profits and socializing losses.  Big business has successfully worked through Congress so that now 10% of the most wealthy families garner 50% (2007) of the nation’s income, which is up from 33% in the 1970’s.  Meanwhile the other 90% have seen very little income growth.  
  4. The Fossil-Fuel complex that stands in the way of any forward-looking energy policy.  Coal and oil companies have funded enough anti-science to relegate carbon emission measures to an afterthought, while at the same time thwarting large-scale development of alternative energy.
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