Friday, December 31, 2010


The more I look for it, the more I find articles about "what to do about state budget shortfalls?" not including the obvious solution of raising taxes and fees at all, let alone on the wealthy.  Again and again we're told the only solution is painful cuts in vital social programs.  A prime example of this phenomenon is today's Philip Moeller article in US News & World Report covering the subject of the senior safety net.

As the United States slogs its way through a third year of recessionary conditions, the cumulative impact on government support programs for older Americans has become worrisome. Most eyes are on the federal government's massive budget deficits. Safety net programs would be affected by deficit reduction proposals that have been introduced to generally favorable receptions. Whether you call them entitlements or part of a welfare state, the big three — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — must be reined in for meaningful deficit reduction to occur. The battle over these programs has already begun and will intensify when the new Republican majority takes office next year in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here's point number one:  these programs must be "reined in" or else.  Cuts are coming.  You have to accept that, because tax increases are unfair (especially on America's precious rich people).  You're not lazy like one of them, are you?  Good.  Tighten your belt like a good Christian.  (You are a Christian, right?)

Even as the lines are drawn for the federal deficit-reduction war, the states have become a battleground for resources to fund Medicaid. The states share funding for Medicaid services with Uncle Sam, and have been increasingly hard-pressed to come up with their portion of Medicaid funding. Where Washington can, in effect, print money to pay its share of the tab, states cannot. Their budget deficits are, in many cases, getting worse instead of better.

Along with the Medicaid battle there will be countless skirmishes over continued funding for local support programs for seniors. Such efforts may receive some government funds but also depend on private philanthropy and the work of an extensive network of nonprofit agencies. After three years of flat or reduced contributions and austere operating budgets, this government-volunteer network is stressed and tired. And there is no relief in sight.

Note the clever wording here:  if you feel guilty about America's seniors taking program cuts, then you need to get off your ass and donate to charities.  If you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is, then you clearly don't care about America's seniors.  Don't you dare mention raising taxes, you horrible person.  Don't tread on me!

The concept of tax increases doesn't even enter into the article.

Tax increases don't exist, so you'd better be ready to take your medicine, America.  Your betters demand it.  And the more the Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy, the more you'll have to tighten your belt.  Or don't you work for a living like a Real American?

A Real American who used to understand what shared sacrifice truly meant, anyway.  Now it's just sacrificing for the lords of the manor.

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