Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:
Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Edsall pens a thorough debunking of arguments for austerity. [...] The only significant misstep in Edsall's March 6 commentary is the title: "The War On Entitlements." Medicare and Social Security are not entitlements; they are earned benefits that most Americans labor very hard to receive during the last stage of their lives... The reality is that Social Security and Medicare are already flat regressive taxes – and the less affluent assume the biggest burden in terms of the percentage of their income paid toward these earned benefits. [...]
[H]aving the more affluent pay a progressive tax on Social Security and Mediare, along with lifting the cap on Social Security contributions, could solve any projected future shortfall -- and guarantee the minimum average benefit for years to come. [...]
[Vermont Senator Bernie] Sanders went on to make a provocative analogy:
The point that needs to be made is, when is enough enough? That is the essence of what we are talking about. Greed, in my view, is like a sickness. It is like an addiction. We know people who are on heroin. They can't stop….
How can anybody be proud to say they are a multimillionaire and are getting a huge tax break and one-quarter of the kids in this country are on food stamps? How can one be proud of that? I don't know.
It is not only income, it is wealth. The top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. During the Bush years, the wealthiest 400 Americans saw their wealth increase by some $400 billion. How much is enough?
Someone has to stop the mainlining of greed, and let it begin with progressive FICA taxation – without caps – on Social Security and Medicare.
Please read the entire post here.
And with that, here is Part 2 of today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
People get the greatest share of their lifetime medical care after age 65, and Medicare is currently the cheapest solution to that problem. The federal program's overhead is smaller than private insurance, but economists say the program is underfunded.
If raising taxes is a tough sell, then increasing the monthly medical insurance premium that most Medicare recipients pay above $104 would improve its financing. That is cheaper than having millions of seniors on the welfare rolls due to medical bankruptcy, which could happen if we place seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies by giving them vouchers.
The one thing Republicans hate more than government programs are government programs that work well. They can't seem to give up the idea of privatizing Medicare. They want to take a public program that has been copied by private insurance companies in its cost-control and quality initiatives and subject it to market forces that prize profits over all else.
Just compare the higher satisfaction ratings of Medicare with private health insurance, and it becomes obvious that the Republican proposals are the outcome of ideology over common sense.
Steven P. Wallace
The writer chairs the Community Health Sciences Department at UCLA's School of Public Health.