Sometimes It Hurts To Be Right
by Scott Morrow, President DMAL Retiree Chapter
I take very little pleasure in accurately forecasting what we are in store for from the Republican majority in Congress. For those who read my article in the last edition of the voice, titled Elections Have Consequences, you know my outlook was a bit dreary.
Writing this article just a couple days after the Republican’s took control of Congress it is clear an all-out assault on the poor, the middle class, Unions and our
environment was the top priority of those folks. This is a surprise for those who miss their opportunities to pay attention to the agenda. This party has been for the rich and the monopolies since President Eisenhower finished his term.
First, the rules have been changed in the House regarding economic impacts of legislation. Our High School Civics class taught us that ALL spending must start in the House. In past years, the Congressional Budget Office or CBO, a nonpartisan agency, would determine the cost of legislation many times before a vote was taken. Now, under the new rules passed, dynamic scoring will be used. This is the “voodoo” economics theory we saw originally instituted during Reagan where by giving hundreds of billions in tax breaks for the rich and monopolies, that money will ‘trickle down”. Over three decades of history have shown us this did not work and will NOT work for retirees, or anyone else except the affluent.
Also introduced on the first day of the new Congress was a rule to prevent what was a routine transfer of social security trust fund cash to the disability fund to ensure payments to disabled Americans. Many estimate that nearly eleven million SSDI recipients will experience reductions of around 20% in their social security payments. Millions more will be cut off from the program entirely.
Added into the omnibus bill right before the last Congress adjourned were massive cuts to pensions of Union members. Many companies with Union Workers pooled the pension funds into shared funds. These funds were hit hard by losses due to the banksters crash of the world economy in 2008. Due to thepassage of the continuing funding of the US budget last month, all those folks receiving pensions or getting near retirement will see drastic cuts to their annuities of up to 50% to balance the pension books.
The top legislative agenda for both the House and Senate is to bypass current protocol’s for the Keystone XL pipeline. While the President at this time has promised a veto, this is a disaster for retirees health and property. Under current law, a foreign company will take property it wants (called eminent domain) to build the pipeline to move the dirtiest oil on the planet through the USA to refineries on the gulf coast for export to foreign countries. Gas prices will increase in the USA. Materials for the pipeline will be foreign. Retirees will get the oil spills, the deadly pollution and increased health care costs while foreigners enrich themselves at our expense. All for about 30 permanent full time jobs.
Combine this with the dynamic scoring that will result in huge deficits like it did when Reagan tripled the National Debt, causing screaming from the highest rooftops about debt once a democrat got into office with cuts in pensions and social security already passed and we are in serious trouble.
Currently in committee already are bills to end Obama Care (PPACA), restrict abortion, cut SNAP and TANF, tax cuts to the wealthy and monopolies, etc. The same old legislation we saw in the last two Congresses to finalize our transformation into a full blown oligarchy.
What can we do? First we need to take back our democracy before it is too late, get out the vote, support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United (Supreme Court Decision that legalized limitless cash bribery of elected Representatives in the form of contributions) and get involved with your Union and Retiree Chapter Legislative Departments. Educate yourself on what is going on. If you have cable or satellite, watch CPAN. Use non-monopoly media for your news. PBS, Link TV and Free Speech TV are examples of viewer supported stations that actually practice journalism. Come to your meetings and read all the publications you receive. The APWU monthly periodical has articles on the key issues facing Unions by our Legislative Officers, every edition!
While your social security is already directly affected after just the first day of the 114th Congress, your FERS or CSRS retirement will be next. The time has come for you to actively join the struggle. Think of it this way, there are about 400billionaires and like number of monopolies who have bought Congress. There are at least 200 million of us getting poorer every day. Certainly, once we all join the moral cause to protect the least among us and keep what we have earned after decades of working towards our retirement we will far outnumber the few with all the cash. You have to like those odds, 200 million against the paltry, yet greedy, 800?
After all, it is only together that we can overcome.