I blogged about it previously here. Glenn Greenwald warned of it immediately after the election here. And here it comes. Obama is apparently putting cuts to Social Security on the table as part of a deal that resolves the so called fiscal cliff.
Social Security is one of those clear cut government success stories. Hasn't contributed a single penny to the debt. In fact it has run a surplus. And probably nothing has done more to reduce elderly hunger and homelessness in the US. But the rich don't like it. Chomsky has commented that the issue is more than just more profits for the financial industry. He thinks it's even deeper than that. Social Security is based on the principle that we care for others and want to alleviate their suffering. The widow down the street may not be someone we know personally, but we want to contrive a system that means she doesn't starve. This is the problem on capitalism. You're not supposed to care. You're supposed to think "You didn't prepare. Screw you." That's very unnatural so it has to be driven home. Social Security has a way of reinforcing this notion that we care about others, and that is why it faces so much hostility. That is why it is placed on the chopping block even though it is not the source of the problem. A roughly $700 billion defense industry protecting us from non-existent threats? In fact it largely enhances the threats. Scaling that back isn't even part of the discussion. That's because we do not have democracy.