Snow Job
by Seth Sandronsky
March 29, 2004

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The Bush White House is picking up its campaign against the U.S. working class. Recently, Treasury Secretary John Snow said that Medicare, the nation’s system of public health care for seniors and the disabled, will be bankrupt in 2019.

Bush’s solution is to turn more of Medicare over to health maintenance organizations and pharmaceutical corporations. They are big donors to him and the GOP generally.

Meanwhile, Snow wants the American public to think that government spending to meet its needs is at-risk. A frightened citizenry is his goal.

For America’s political class, this is a way to better fleece the working majority. Thus fear of government red ink is a marketing ploy.

With the War Resisters League saying that about 80 percent of the U.S. national debt is due to military spending, the Snow job that Medicare is going broke is gathering steam. Against that backdrop, cutting government deficits is a smoke screen to drive down living standards for the U.S. working class.

This is a trend in capitalist democracies around the world. Consider the case of Australia.

Its Medicare is also under official attack for being too costly.

Editorially, the Green Left Weekly noted on March 17: “The Howard government’s goal is not to restrict health spending as such, but to accelerate the transfer of health care to the private sector and promote a user-pays health system.”

And so it goes in Oz, the U.S. and other rich nations whose governments preach freedom, while undermining it at home and abroad. The capitalists and the politicians of each nation are busy looting their working classes to better bankroll the forcible corporate theft of the world’s resources.

See the Australian government’s participation in the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, with its vast oil wealth. There are many other examples.

Meanwhile in the U.S., raising taxes on the wealthy few to cover funding shortfalls for Medicare is no solution for America’s ownership class. It is worth mentioning that rich Americans can well afford to pay more taxes.

Consider this data from nine years ago, well before Bush’s three income-tax cuts further enriched the top one percent of American households. In 1995, they owned 42.2 percent of all stocks, 55.7 percent of all bonds and 71.4 percent of all non-corporate businesses.

Part of the GOP and GOP-lite (Democratic) ideology to phase out government spending for the population’s well-being is the concept of efficiency.

Presumably, the rich are the model to follow for being efficient.

Why? In brief, they have made choices that enrich them.

In contrast there are many who are not rich. They have not made choices to amass much capital.

We are not supposed to see the rich who have gotten that way by choosing parents with great wealth. Or those who made such a choice and have grabbed more riches by exploiting millions of working people.

Take the (in) famous Walton family of Wal-Mart. But don’t blame them, blame capitalism.

The Waltons could disappear from the planet and the U.S. health care crisis would remain. The GOP and Democrat lads and lassies would still be united with their paymasters to keep health care a privilege.

Likewise, it is a given that U.S. government spending for the military and national security will not run short of money now and in the future. If the current political demobilization of the American working class continues, there will always be plenty of tax dollars from them for war abroad directly (Iraq) and by proxy (Israel), plus more policing at home, while public dollars for their health care shrinks.

In Bush’s America, the public goose that lays the golden egg for the private sector is fertile. He is continuing the efforts of Clinton, Bush 1, Reagan, Ford and Carter to redistribute wealth upwards.

Class warfare under all these presidents are connected, and all in the name of liberty and prosperity. Behold the land of the brave and home of the free for capitalists under the stone cold gaze of their two political parties.

Today, such politics leads to Medicare going broke, and the rich doing fabulously well at everybody else’s expense. Unless the working majority in the U.S. wakes up and smells the coffee that is brewing.

Many are. More need to.

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Peace Action and co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at: ssandron@hotmail.com

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