Monday, December 12, 2011

Prepared Comments at "No Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security" Rally, Saturday, December 10, Cleveland, OH

[what I actually said deviated somewhat from these]

Thank you all for being here.

In the midst of WWII, FDR proposed a second Bill of Rights. It didn’t call for extended political liberties but economic liberties. FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights included,
- The right to earn enough income to provide adequate food, clothing and recreation;
- The right to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.

“We have come to a clear realization of the fact,” FDR said, “that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”

Four years later on this day, December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It proclaimed that political, economic, cultural, religious and other rights were inherently entitled to every human beings.

Compare these visions of inherent economic rights for all people with recent proposals to slash and plunder deferred income programs (Social Security and Medicare) and other social safety net programs that provide basic medical and income protection to millions of people. The ruling class over the past year has called for cuts of upwards of $4 trillion. The failure of the so-called “supercommittee” does not mean these efforts have ended. Far from it. Austerity efforts will continue in 2012 – most likely building momentum and seeking political cover following the fall elections during the lame duck session of Congress.

Economist Jack Rasmus has calculated that the US Federal Debt rose between 2000 and 2010 by $9.2 trillion. The major causes (by %) for this were:
Bush Tax Cuts: 34.2
War spending: 22.9
Bush-Obama Stimulus Package: 20.6
Direct bank and other bailouts (TARP, etc): 9.8
Nonfunding of Part “D” Prescription Drug plan: 4.8
Excess inflation costs for Medicare and Medicaid: 1.9

Guess where the 1% ruling class have focused their slash and burn deficit reduction energies?
On the 34% Bush tax cuts? The 23% war spending? The 10% bank bailouts? These 3 causes amount to 2/3rds of the increased debt over the last decade. The 1% ruling class, true to form, is, instead, focusing on the 1%. Actually the measly 1.9% increased costs for Medicare and Medicaid – claiming that this is the real cause for the exploding federal debt.

Nonsense.

Their ultimate goal, of course, is to privatize/corporatize them. To create voucher programs. To turn Social Security and Medicaid, at least, over to Wall Street to do with our social security and health care what they’ve done with our housing and pensions. Plunder them. And profit from them.

They say cut back. We say fight back.

It’s up to us to stop this nonsense. We must not accept calls to “balance” domestic cuts with war spending cuts – what will happen automatically in 2013 if no other deal is reached. The 99% must not accept austerity when the 1% are plundering us for their own prosperity. We must not accept that millions of people who depend on these social programs and deferred income programs will be bargaining chips to be used by some politicians against other politicians to wrestle a few minor tax concessions.

A majority of Washington public officials have been bought, rented, leased or retained by the super wealthy and corporations. They won’t turn it around. Only we will.

It’s time to say Enough.
It’s time to come together like we’ve never come together. And stay together after today.
It’s time to demand an economic bill of rights
It’s time to expand our political rights
It’s time to slash the military budget. To end the Bush era tax cuts on the wealthy. To end bank bailouts. And to end subsidies to health insurance corporations… in fact, to all corporations.

This is how to reduce the debt. And while we’re at it, eliminate the debt completely as Dennis Kucinich has proposed by democratizing our monetary system and ending the power of banks to create our money out of nothing.

It’s up to us. We must have the vision to see human rights extended far beyond where now are. And the commitment, drive, and desire to make it happen.

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