Huff Post ran a story this week by blogger Dave Johnson, titled “The Shock Doctrine Push to Gut Social Security and Middle Class .” [Here] Johnson is a fellow of the progressive Campaign For America’s Future, [Here], a 501(C)(4) organization which is concerned with issues such as the environment and the preservation of Social Security and Medicare.
It’s good to see Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine title being used to describe the current campaign to privatize and dismantle the Social Security system as we now know it. We have written about the book before. It is important that the destructive neoliberal, Friedmanism theory gets as much exposure as we can manage. Briefly, the neoliberals have realized that when people are still in shock from an unexpected violent attack (as the 9/11 attack), the time is ripe to do something that would be opposed in a calmer moment, e.g. invade Iraq. Natural disasters can present the same opportunity to neoliberals. For example, after Hurricane Katrina while the people were scattered all over the country, the privatization of hospitals and all schools in New Orleans was accomplished.
Author Dave Johnson has pointed out that the current severe recession has presented the neoliberals with a perfect environment to enact more of their agenda: cut taxes; reduce the size of government; deregulate and privatize, privatize, privatize. Obama’s Debt Commission has opened the doors for a full frontal attack on their bete noire, Social Security. Unfortunately, the President chose for his co-chairs two men who have not been defenders of the Social Security system. In fact, the Republican co-chair Alan Simpson has been a poster boy for the dismantling of the system, likening the system to a “milk cow with 310 million tits.” Unfortunately, his fellow chair, Erskine Bowles, is not a staunch defender of the system, either. (What was Obama thinking?)
In his article Dave Johnson points to a Washington Post piece [Here] and calls it “punch two” after the Bowles/Simpson surprise early report which he calls “punch one.” The Post article smells of billionaire Pete Peterson’s fine hand and we must always view WaPo’s positions on Social Security as filtered through Peterson’s passionate enmity.
Johnson gives us a rundown of recent polls that proves, in Johnson’s words, that “the public hates this.”
A recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research report showed that an overwhelming 69% of voters agreed that "politicians should keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare" when they address the deficit. The public hates this.
Only 6% of the public says the government's priority should be deficits now. The public hates this.
An AARP poll finds that 90% of people aged 18 to 29 say Social Security is important. The public hates this.
An NBC/WSH poll finds that 57% are against cutting Social Security no matter how bad the deficit is. The public hates this.
A USA Today poll finds that the public by 66/31 says don't cut benefits to fix the deficit. The public hates this.
I can continue citing poll after poll; there are no polls that show the public is in any way behind this.”
Johnson has announced a grassroots action which will happen on the last day of November, a National Call Congress Day and a petition that one can sign expressing support for Social Security and a call to strengthen it. If you are interested, click [Here].
We should thank Dave Johnson for using Naomi Klein’s language and for giving us the opportunity to join with other voices to call for preservation of the nation’s most important safety net.
By the way, did you note that American corporate profits were sky-high? This is from the NYTimes on Tuesday, November 23rd, “Corporate Profits Were The Highest On Record Last Quarter” by Catherine Rampell. [Here]
The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.
American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms.
It is very hard for me to fathom why these neoliberals who are currently enjoying unprecedented corporate wealth and a recovering stock market would be so hell-bent on gutting Social Security. (Maybe they have stock in cat food companies.)
I repeat: what was Obama thinking???