2011-07-08 / Columnists

The Progressive

Unsustainable
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Many politicians and political analysts are repeating the mantra that universal health insurance, social security, Medicare, and civil service pensions need drastic cuts or elimination.

These generally popular government services are economically unsustainable, and will eventually bankrupt the the nation goes the conservative mantra.

All these kool-aid drinkers are aware of are actuarial numbers and future economic prospects.

Collective economic policy, fortunately, is not written in stone and the right wing does not need to placate the new economic royalists of whom Franklin Roosevelt often spoke.

These economic royalists feel corporations and the economically privileged must be the sole concern of government. Their knowledge of the bipartisan progressive era (Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) and New Deal policies (FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon) are written out of their recall and understanding of history.

Kennedy’s domestic policy and Johnson’s Great Society were also New Deal-like policies that proved not only highly-popular, but highly-successful as well.

Our economy must serve man and a decent, dignified economic life should be a birthright provided to any American who is willing to work in an honest occupation or profession.

We need no extreme disparity of wealth in our nation. It is sad that many Americans see a bleak future for their children.

What is truly unsustainable for America is the expenditure of nearly $4 trillion and the human death and suffering in war since September 11, 2001 that appear to leave this nation as insecure as on that infamous date.

Millions unemployed, stagnant wage growth, corporate blackmail for a tax amnesty, attacks on collective bargaining rights, an unwillingness for the wealthiest people on the planet to pay a more progressive rate of taxation, and an increasing diminution of a healthy middle class are unsustainable.

Any cuts made in social programs that do not affect present or near retirement age recipients are a threat to these recipients because the next battle for the economic royalists will be to turn the younger working force against their elders by stressing the unfairness of their contributions and benefits in the future.

In the past, most corporations gave their employees defined benefit pensions similar to those in civil service..

Now, however, private industry employees are upset that government employees (usually paid less) receive a dignified retirement and because of stock market fraud and misfeasance, their retirement benefits have become nebulous.

This is the main reason the attacks on government workers are so popular. America needs to make opportunities for all, not only those blessed with the proper genetics and stock portfolios.

Our children will, in the future, thank us or curse us, depending on the direction our country decides to go for the economy.

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