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Tue Dec 11, 2012, 08:55 AM

As Washington Fiddles over the Fiscal Cliff, the Real Battle Over Inequality Is Happening in the Hea

http://robertreich.org/post/37674429285

As Washington Fiddles over the Fiscal Cliff, the Real Battle Over Inequality Is Happening in the Heartland
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2012
Washington has a way of focusing the nationís attention on tactical games over partisan maneuvers that are symptoms of a few really big problems. But we almost never get to debate or even discuss the big problems because the tactical games overwhelm everything else.

The debate over the fiscal cliff, for example, is really about tactical maneuvers preceding a negotiation about how best to reduce the federal budget deficit. This, in turn, is a fragment of a bigger debate over whether we should be embracing austerity economics and reducing the budget deficit in the next few years or, alternatively, using public spending and investing to grow the economy and increase the number of jobs.

Even this larger debate is just one part of what should be the central debate of our time ó why median wages continue to drop and poverty to increase at the same time income and wealth are becoming ever more concentrated at the top, and what should be done to counter the trend.
...
And theyíve taken on the unions that once negotiated good wages on behalf of the middle class and of those who aspired to join it.

The result has been a degree of inequality this nation hasnít witnessed since the days of the robber barons of the late nineteenth century Ė an inequality thatís harming our economy as much as itís undermining our democracy.

As Washington fiddles over the fiscal cliff, a larger battle over inequality is being waged all over America.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 09:22 AM

1. The problem is we spend 4 times more on our elderly than we do on our kids.

 

Kids are an investment in the future and will build a better future economy. Providing for the elderly is all nice and good, but it does not provide any future benefit.

Moreover health expenses are growing faster than GDP which ensures the gap will grow larger as the elderly are entitled to the promises made by this nation while children aren't entitled to much of anything.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:23 AM

2. I agree with you

I certainly believe in taking care of the elderly, but I agree that we spend too much on them and too little on children. When Social Security and Medicare were created, the poorest people in the country were the elderly. Now (probably because of the success of SS and Medicare), the poorest people in the country are children, but our policies don't reflect that.

That's why I am torn about the means-testing thing. I understand the arguments against it but at the same time I have a hard time justifying why we spend money providing Social Security and Medicare for those who don't really need the help while spending so little on poor children who do.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:44 AM

9. Child poverty has *nothing* to do with SS & MC, it has to do with low wages, high structural

 

unemployment, social service cutbacks, high hidden taxation of the poor, and high social tolerance for poverty generally.

Cutting SS & MC completely won't provide a dime more for children. And there are plenty of seniors on SS supporting children and grandchildren.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:48 AM

3. Everyone gets older

Even you will one day.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:08 PM

4. who do you think takes care of the elderly.. the parents?

It certainly does provide benefits.. children and grandchildren don't have to pay for their elders... the cost is spread out.. borne by the community as a whole.. it takes a village and all that liberal stuff...
Although I know you aren't really that liberal.

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Response to OKNancy (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 01:16 PM

6. Exactly!

On all observations.

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Response to OKNancy (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:38 AM

7. We need government to take care of people because families no longer do.

 

Sad but true.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:10 PM

5. Or...medical costs are much more than they should be n/t

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:39 AM

8. But the elderly don't want any changes. Do you see them fighting for cost containment?

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:45 AM

10. bullshit, as usual. leave it to you to ramp up the generational war. "we" do no such thing.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:54 AM

11. Here the stat...

 

"Children's 10 percent share in 2011 compares to the 41 percent spent on the elderly and disabled via Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; 20 percent on defense; 6 percent on interest payments on the debt; and 23 percent on everything else."


http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/07/19/157042695/report-federal-spending-on-kids-declines-for-first-time-in-30-years

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:05 AM

12. That omits spending on education, first. Second, it omits the fact that children <18 are about

 

20% of the population, and more than half of them are being supported perfectly adequately by their families.

and that 41% on elderly AND DISABLED includes SSI spending, Social Security disability spending, and Social Security dependents' benefits, all of which include spending on young people & middle aged people.

Third, federal spending on almost *everything* is down, and so is state spending, because, uh, in case you hadn't noticed, everything is being cut.

It's just rigged stats to ramp up the war against SS/MC, not surprising it's NPR, our rich peoples' foundation-funded "public" television.

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