The record of America's newspaper
of record is deplorable. It supports wealth, power, privilege and dominance.
It backs corporate interests. It spurns popular ones. It endorses imperial
It's comfortable about toppling independently elected governments. It's
silent about propping up friendly despots. It's quiet about disappearing
democratic freedoms. It ignores US duopoly power.
It endorses sham elections. It's waging war on America's social contract.
ObamaCare rationed healthcare to enrich insurers, drug companies, and
large hospital chains.
In March 2010, a Times editorial headlined "Health Care Reform, at last."
It praised what it should have condemned.
Ralph Nader called it "a pay-or-die system that's the disgrace of the
Obama's financial reform was a Wall Street giveaway. It was old wine in
new bottles. It was more scam than reform. ATimes July editorial headlined
"Congress Passes Financial Reform."
It "merit(s) broad support," it said. It established "consumer protection(s)."
"The bill is a milestone," it claimed. Wall Street malfeasance today is
worse than ever. Government complicity permits it. Media scoundrels don't
A previous article discussed Times' support for austerity harshness. Imposing
it eases pain, it claimed.
In August 2010, a New York Times editorial headlined, "The Latest on Medicare
and Social Security," saying:
"Of course, neither program is sound for the long run. (Yet there's) time
for lawmakers to reform and strengthen both (for) the long haul."
"(A) combination of benefits cuts and tax increases is required. (It)
could be distributed fairly and phased in over decades."
Times editors lied. When properly administered, both programs are sound.
More on that below.
In November 2011, a Times editorial headline "Fixing Medicare," saying:
"There is no way to wrestle down the deficit without reigning in Medicare
"The only way to make Medicare sustainable is to have it grow at the same
rate as the economy that provides the tax base to support it."
"The solution, most experts agree, is to have Medicare pay doctors and
other health care providers fixed sums to manage a patient’s care and
then let the doctors decide which services are truly necessary."
In other words, let providers and bureaucrats choose who gets care, how
much, under what circumstances, at what cost, and perhaps leave out those
requiring expensive treatment.
In April 2012, a Times editorial headlined "A Year in the Life of Social
Without "reforms," full benefits can only be paid "until 2033 - versus
2036 in last year's report - and three-fourths of benefits after that."
"(L)awmakers should act soon to bolster the system's financing….What is
needed is a balanced mix of modest benefit cuts and moderate tax increases
(to ensure) solvency (and) fair (burden) sharing."
On January 5, The Times called Social Security "worse than you think."
Saying so belies reality. More on its duplicitous scaremongering below.
On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act became law. It's called the
federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI).
It provides retirement, disability, survivorship, and death benefits.
It's America's most effective poverty reduction program. It's worked remarkably
well since inception.
It provides secure inflation-adjusted retirement or disability income.
Personal savings aren't risked.
It's sound and secure. It's not going bankrupt. When properly administered,
modest adjustments alone assure it. The same holds for Medicare.
It's "the nation's largest health insurance program." Payroll deductions
defray costs. Tens of millions rely on it. It covers eligible recipients
aged 65 or older, some disabled ones under age 65, and people of all ages
with End-Stage Renal Disease.
Duplicitous scaremongering claims both programs face bankruptcy.
Republicans never wanted them in the first place. Obama and most Democrats
support killing them. They favor death by a 1,000 cuts. Perhaps The New
York Times agrees.
On January 5, it claimed Social Security is "Worse Than You Think." Saying
so turned truth on its head.
America must "confront" a "huge cliff," it said. In 2010, "$49 billion
dollars more in (Social Security) benefits" were paid than received. Doing
so will exhaust Trust Fund revenues "by 2033."
"Those facts are widely known," claimed The Times. If remedial action
isn't taken, benefits no longer will be paid.
False! The Times omitted key facts. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson adopted a
"unified budget." He combined Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF) receipts
with general revenues. He did so to defray Great Society and Southeast
Asia war costs.
Henceforth, SSTF surpluses ("Intra-Governmental Holdings of Debt") concealed
the true national debt. At the same time, SSTF revenues used annually
for federal expenditures reduce Washington's ability to pay future beneficiaries.
SSTF exists in name only. All sources of retirement income and security
are under siege. Social Security works well as mandated. It's Washington's
most successful program. It could easily be made structurally sound in
Active workers and employers support eligible retirees, their dependents,
and the disabled. Steady income is assured. Marketplace uncertainty is
Critics falsely claim it's going broke. It's sound and secure. Modest
adjustments only are needed to keep it that way. Separating Trust Fund
receipts from general revenues would strengthen it.
Contractual federal obligations would be assured. Benefits could increase,
not decline. The New York Times didn't explain. It claimed otherwise.
"To save Social Security," it said, "tough choices have to be made. One
option is (keep) raising the retirement age." Doing so combines a stealth
tax increase/benefit decline.
"A second option is increase payroll taxes." Wages are taxed up to $113,700.
Low/middle income earners are disproptionately taxed. Most of what high-income
ones earn escapes entirely.
All income should be taxed equitably. None should be exempted. A simple
fix would change things. Progressive taxes, a modest Tobin one on speculation,
combined with making corporations pay their fair share would raise hundreds
of billions annually.
Taxing hundreds of trillions in annual derivatives trades one-tenth of
one percent would raise $500 billion alone. Sweeping progressive tax reform
would at least double the amount. Cutting defense spending responsibly
would triple or quadruple it.
Payroll taxes could be eliminated. Deficit-cutting hysteria would end.
Benefits could be raised, not cut. Retirements would be secure. Medicare
for all could follow. So could other benefits. America's social contract
would be strengthened.
The Times highlighted a third option instead. Limit annual cost-of-living
adjustments, it urged. Inflation-adjusted benefits currently decline annually.
They do it substantially. The Times suggests cutting more.
A fourth option stresses it. Lower "initial benefits for workers whose
lifetime wages (exceed) the national ($43,000 a year) average."
Perhaps discourage retirement. Make it "an option." Delaying "reform"
assures "more disruptive" changes ahead.
Times readers are betrayed. Social security didn't cause deficit problems.
Benefits shouldn't be cut to address it. Privatization should be ruled
out. So should means-testing. Retirement age shouldn't be increased.
Greater revenues are easily raised. Institute progressive taxation. Make
everyone pay their fair share. Make corporations do it. Increase benefits.
Don't cut them.
Prioritize helping those most in need. Assure no one retires impoverished.
Provide Medicare for all. Everyone in. No one left out.
Good governance isn't rocket science. It's as simple as doing the right
thing. Times editors didn't explain.
Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Let popular needs go begging.
Bipartisan complicity plans it. Media scoundrels support what they should
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.