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Dr. Wilmer Leon: Over the Fiscal Cliff and Into the Social Abyss

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By

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Last week House Majority Leader Boehner (R-OH) threatened America and tried to bully President Obama with his “Plan B” vote.  He suspended negotiations and spent his time on the floor of the House slapping backs and twisting arms to get the necessary votes to pass his alternative plan.  Boehner said that after his plan passes the House, “Then, the president will have a decision to make…He (the president) can call on Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in history.”  Well, the “Plan B” vote failed.  Boehner could not slap enough backs and twist enough arms; he could not control his caucus. We are closer now than ever to the fiscal cliff. The Emperor has no clothes.

So, here we are at the edge of the ledge peering over the fiscal cliff into the social abyss.  After all of the hand wringing and arguments end this really comes down to conservatives being unwilling to ask those in the country who can afford to pay a little more to do so and cutting back on the defense budget in order to ensure that the working class, poor, and elderly in this country can continue to receive the support from their government that they deserve.

This is not a new argument.  Conservatives have been opposed to social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps, and others since Roosevelt introduced the “social safety net” in the 1930’s.  Conservatives are using the current fiscal crisis that started during the Bush 43 administration as the new pretext for their age-old argument.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration has done a very poor job explaining this to the American people.  They have allowed Conservatives to control the narrative by basing the discussion on what to save (tax breaks for the wealthy and he defense budget) instead of what not to cut (much needed social programs).

By allowing the debate to center around the Conservatives approach the Obama administration is forced to make concessions that extract more pain from those who can least afford it.  According to FactCheck.org, “Geithner claimed that the president’s deficit reduction plan is about “strengthening Medicare, not shifting costs to seniors.” However, the president’s plan does shift some costs to seniors — mostly to higher-income beneficiaries, but also for all new beneficiaries.”  Also, President Obama has conceded making changes to Social Security that do not need to be made.  According to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), “The people of this nation are depending upon us to be true to our word…I don’t know how many members ran on a promise not to cut Social Security.  Now, without any hard proposal to raise taxes on the rich, some are using Social Security as a carrot to get a deal.  We cannot, and we must not play with the lives of senior citizens.”

What Lewis failed to mention is the impact that changes in Social Security benefits will have on the African American community.  According to the Social Security Administration, in 2010, the average annual Social Security income received by African American men 65 years and older was $13,617, compared to $11,064 for African American women. In 2010, among African Americans receiving Social Security, 28 percent of elderly married couples and 57 percent of unmarried elderly persons relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. Cuts in these benefits and others will send too many Americans over the fiscal cliff and into the personal social abyss. According to Lewis, “Social Security is solvent.  It is insurance citizens have paid into in good faith.  They have honored their commitment, and the federal government should honor its commitment.  We should not tolerate cuts to Social Security.  It is a sacred trust that should not be violated, not a piggybank used to fix fiscal problems.”

According to Bread for the World, “We live in the world’s wealthiest nation. Yet 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 16.2 million children—struggle to put food on the table. In the United States, hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.” President Obama was sent back to Washington to fight for the programs to help those who need them the most not negotiate their demise.

Congressman Lewis was right, “Democrats have made concessions in these negotiations.  We created $492 billion in Medicare savings, and in prior negotiations around the nation’s fiscal problems we offered another $300 billion in cuts.  We have done our part.  Why can’t Republicans do theirs?

So here we are at the edge of the ledge peering over the fiscal cliff into the social abyss. While Boehner, Cantor (R-VA), and others engage in political kabuki theater and argue about ideological BS that will only result in those who have the most getting more and those who need the most getting less, the poor are getting poorer and the hungry get “hungryer”.

Happy Holidays!

© 2012 InfoWave Communications, LLC Dr. Wilmer Leon is a political scientist at Howard University and host of the nationally broadcast call in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” on Sirius/XM channel 128. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or Dr. Leon’s Prescription @ Facebook.com or www.twitter.com/drwleon

 

 

 

 

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  1. The “ideological BS” is that which the TEA PARTY and many other RE-thug-LICANS have been pushing…which comes from that Russian AYN RAND *author of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ …. and others who claim “libertarian philosophy.” It is a concept that only rewards the RICH…and those who are able to dominate other people…suck the money from them via “the free market”….and ‘make it financially.’ They don’t believe in helping other people, paying taxes that equalize services to all…or anything like that.

    So…Pres. Obama had faith….and tried to negotiate with these Neanderthals in the rightwing nut club. They have always wanted to get rid of him and the programs for the poor.

    • Pres. Obama has been worried about the cuts that will come from the last “negotiation” with those cavemen…during the ‘Debt Ceiling’ madness. Congress set it up so that if they could not agree…we would have these “auto cuts” that they call the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Pres. Obama has bent over backward trying to fix these problems…but the rightwing nuts don’t want to fix it…they are protecting the RICH.

      NOTICE that these Conservatives complain about “too much spending”…but never want to cut off the WELFARE payments to BIG OIL…to RICH FARMS…to other wealthy companies. They don’t want to tax big companies.

      For proof of this screwed up, cruel and inhumane philosophy ….one only need read the PLAN B…put forth by Mr. BONEHEAD… I mean, Boehner. It gives more tax breaks to the RICH…and cuts of most of the funds for programs like: MEALS ON WHEELS, PELL GRANTS, FOOD STAMPS, etc.

      So…after BUSH and his RE-thug-LICANS caused the entire economy to crash….jobs to go overseas in the millions…factories to close, and worse — leaving American workers and families in deeeep dooooky….THEY WANT TO CUT OFF FUNDS THAT HELP PEOPLE.

  2. This fiscal cliff bullshyt is a joke!!! This political bullshyt is a joke, also. These parties are ‘sleeping’ with each other at the end of the day!!! They are one-in-the-same…RACIST!!!

    I just sit back and laugh at people, who think this country is so da*mn united!!! This is the most racist country in the world, and these redneck peckerwoods ain’t gonna change. As a matter of Truth, they have gotten worse!!!

    If this country is so rich, why does it owe England so much money? Why does 40 cents of every amerikkkan dollar go towards China? This country is becoming a communist state. The government controls what is taught at our schools, they cater to BP Oil, which is owned by the British, and NONE of those corporate bast*urds went to jail for that oil spill (which was purposefully done) to pollute the water, land and seas. We have no control over the food supply; therefore, we have no rights, especially Black amerikkkans!!!

    Now, wildlife in the ocean is sick, people are getting sick, and the animals on the land are getting sick, due to that oil spill by BP. The animals in the ocean have become ‘hom*ose*xuals’, and can’t produce, due to the chemi(kills) they put in the water!!! This was a plan to keep the population under control because caucasoids are dwindling in population growth. WHEN YOU STARVE A PEOPLE; THEY DIE!!!

    Fishermen in New Orleans are going broke because the shrimp and other wildlife in the ocean are full of poison, and can’t produce! IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF WORLD HUNGER?

    There is no fiscall cliff!!! These yankees can fix this economy overnight, but they want the cheapest labor, no unions, and a block on people’s salary. Just think; Hostess STOLE their employees pensions, 401k, and retirement funds, before they went under!!! NONE OF THEM WILL GO TO JAIL BECAUSE THEY ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE ‘LAW’!!!

    What good is a vote when these caucasoids continue to do the same da*mn thang they have been doing for decades…stealing, lying, usurping, killing, maiming, hanging, beating and shooting Black people. We pay these bas*turds to argue with each other for another 4 years, and the cycle continues.

    THIS IS THE UNUTED SNAKES OF ENGLAND!!!

    • The fact that you don’t believe how RICH this nation really is …shows that you don’t understand the problem like you think you do. The U.S. has numerous millionaires, billionaires, and major corporations that have tons of money. The money is jut not in the hand of most Americans. They are hoarding it — trillions of dollars…and they get big tax breaks.

      VAN JONES gave a good description of this lie about “America is Broke.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9wnVPFEwSI

      I know a lot of folks on this site think that the ONLY way to solve problems is to SEGREGATE our Black community from everyone else, but I don’t.

  3. PEOPLE CAN HAVE THEIR OWN OPINIONS, BUT NOT THEIR OWN FACTS.

    The “fiscal cliff” is not a joke. They are just calling it by that label…but what it is — the AUTO CUTS to the budget that started last year when the TEA-PUBLICANS did not want to pay the bills. When they could not agree…they set up a SUPER COMMITTEE and they could not agree…so these “auto cuts” go into effect. And it will effect most people…either because taxes go up…funds get cut…or some other benefit will be gone.

    The United States will hit its borrowing limit on December 31st, according to a just-released letter from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. As a result, Congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling in the next five days or “extraordinary measures” will have to be taken to avoid defaulting on our debt, but this would only buy two months.

    AND THERE IS ALSO A CLIMATE CLIFF…. even if folks don’t want to admit it or face it…or they listen to the off-base lies that come from FOX NEWS…and other deniers.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/issue/

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