US Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, above, and below, lower left, during his career as a child actor playing the character "Eddie Munster."
Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget committee, released a proposed budget that grants tax cuts to the wealthy and eliminates Medicare and Social Security for senior citizens and the disabled. Under Ryan's plan, which is nothing but the latest of many schemes put forth to realize the long held Republican dream of eliminating any government program that benefits working Americans, both agencies would be privatized and seniors, who have contributed to both programs through payroll deductions their entire working lives, would be forced to pay their own health insurance costs, and their retirement pensions, that is, the Social Security trust fund, would be turned over to Wall Street speculators.
Neither program is in any danger of bankruptcy, despite claims to that effect by Republicans, and many Democrats. The so-called Social Security crisis is a long running hoax that has been dismantled time after time, as here, here, here, here, and here. Simply Google something like 'social security fake crisis' and you get page after page of articles and scholarly studies that show there is absolutely no crisis in the program. Even if you use the search terms "social security crisis', two thirds of the articles brought forth debunk the myth. That it is able to be portrayed as being in crisis time after time says as much about the media in this country as anything.
Now comes the idea that Medicare, too, is in crisis. Many of us haven't even heard of that one before. In 2005, when George W Bush decided to do away with Social Security, his hopes were relatively easily dashed. But that time, as Economist Paul Krugman points out, we had a steel-nerved Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House of Representatives, and we didn't have a weak, appeasing Democrat, Barak Obama, in the White House.
Dave Lindorff thinks the emerging senior citizen majority, the same Baby Boomers who ended the Vietnam war and transformed American society in many ways, might rise up, finally, again, and say No. With nothing else on the horizon, that might be the last best chance to halt our ongoing descent into a Brave New World where the US consists of a few tremendously rich people and then masses of we the poor and dispossessed living dreary lives of toil and drudgery.
One certainly can't count on the Democrats to lead the way out of the crisis that we, the people, find ourselves in as our way of life disappears before our eyes. By and large, with a few notable exceptions, as in the 1960s and 1970s, Democrats will follow the population to the left if it will get them re-elected, and as in the 1960s and 1970s, they will lead the way in co-opting any populism that breaks out so that the establishment they serve remains safe. Otherwise expect more of the same from them: appeasement, a weak bleat of protest now and then, perhaps a bone given to them by the Republicans they can take home and show their constituents, and then more appeasement.