The first modern social security program was begun by that notorious bleeding heart Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s. With it, the Iron Chancellor successfully undercut the socialists and communists, kept peace with the working class and helping Germany become a major power until he was dismissed by Kaiser Bill and the fuse was lit on the bloody 20th century. American Social Security began in the New Deal after a long fight with reactionaries and they've never let go of their dream of destroying it. Social Security is one of those "entitlements" we keep hearing about from our leaders in politics and business, as well as in the media, that must be "reformed."
I don't know about you, but I've worked full time since I was seventeen-and-a-half, paying for the Greatest Generation's Social Security. It is hardly an "entitlement," a word loaded with welfare for the undeserving. It is a social insurance program where younger generations pay for the retirement of older generations, and it's worked fine for 70 years. But no small amount of oldsters now want to break this foundation of the social compact. They got theirs. Now the dastardly baby boomers will "break the system." Well, no. Social Security is fine and needs, at best, modest modifications. Unfortunately, even President Hoover, the supposed leader of the supposed Democratic Party, accepts the premise that broad "entitlement reform" is a sine qua non of fixing America.
Medicare is a problem. This program of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society is not sustainable because of America's private, for-profit health-care system with its hugely inflated and ever rising costs. George W. Bush's Medicare D added greatly to the problem by offering seniors a prescription drug benefit without raising taxes or forcing pharmaceutical companies to competitively bid to provide drugs. Yet Medicare is not an "entitlement," either. Most Americans have paid taxes for most of their working lives for this addition to the nation's modest safety net. The right wants to eliminate Medicare, while President Hoover wants to "compromise" (read: eliminate Medicare).
So this is where we stand, dear readers. No one will fight for us. No one with political power will state the obvious: Taxes need to be raised, especially on the rich, and the money-driven medicine racket must be fundamentally changed. The ignorant rabble of the Tea Party, 44 percent of whom are on Medicare, drive the agenda. And comments such as "keep your government hands off my Medicare" show their grasp of the issues.
Among my questions for the right is: In your perfect world of "work until you die," where are the jobs for older people?
The nihilist fantasies driving the republic would not even be possible without these evil "entitlements" and all the other ways that the federal government and the fumes of the commons keep our society propped up. This mindset would not be possible without the remains of the common wealth it took a century of work to create, which has been looted by the Wall Street playerz for 30 years. These "rugged individualists" and "real Americans" would have no traction without what is left of a "we" society. But I fear they will get their way — they are getting their way — and a nasty, brutish future awaits us.