The D.C. elite insist that the retirement age should be raised even more than the current 67. They have jobs where they sit in nice chairs behind nice desks in nice offices in affluent areas. They don’t even know anyone who waits tables or cleans or lifts boxes all day. They don’t even know anyone without a fat 401K, or who is in their 50s who can’t find work. That’s not their problem; paying their share of taxes is what they are worried about.
But when you leave the affluent areas it becomes obvious that the retirement age is too high and Social Security pays too little. The Great Recession began with waves of layoffs that seemed to concentrate on people over 50 — because of health care costs and reasonable pay (and they just smell bad). Two years later these people are having a very hard time finding work — and don’t even mention health insurance. Their savings are gone, their unemployment checks are stopping (the “99ers”) and they are headed for the streets. The DC elite solution is to keep them on the streets even longer
Ok. I have to give it to the greedy, the devoid of conscience, the Soul-less… you have played a masterful game and now that you have what’s left of humanity who still gives a damn about their fellow humans against the ropes, make it quick won’t you? I know, how bleeding heart liberal of me to ask such a thing. Suffering is such a deliciously righteous punishment for the sinner who dares point out the emperor has no clothes.
Is there anyone out there that has yet to make up your mind about which side of the divide you are on? I’m talking about the new chasm on the left, exposed by the news that Obama has come to an agreement with the Republicans that will extend the deficit and the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. This one certainly was a nice gash. I feel what’s left of our shared liberal/progressive lifeblood bleeding out as we speak.
I spent most of last week increasingly withdrawn, on the verge of tears. I knew the source — my job. But not in the way we’re normally beaten down by our jobs.
I’m not oppressed by the man, or underpaid (although I am overworked), or even undervalued. I do struggle with my boss, but my coworkers are the best in the business and I’m quite honored to work with them. Doubly honored since I’m their supervisor and they actually listen to me.
But my job requires that I see and hear all the stupidity mankind can muster, day after day, for eight solid hours each day. It’d be OK if I were one of the masses, one of the millions who can’t or won’t see beyond their own insular universe. But I’m not. Neither are you, most likely.
It has been said before — recently, even — but it bears saying again and again, as any truth does. Conservatives have finally, and completely, abandoned compassion. Progressives spent much of the previous decade declaring the “compassionate conservatism” of the Bush era a cruel joke. Policy gestures in that vein were seldom backed with the money to make them work. And there there was Bush administration’s cruel habit of praising successful programs only to have his administration recommend devastating cuts to the same programs — often as the president’s praise was still ringing in the air.
In her 2003 column, “The Uncompassionate Conservative,” Molly Ivins cited as an example of the above President George W. Bush’s praise of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program [LIHEAP] — which helps low income families heat their homes in the winter — during a presidential debate in 2000, only to turn around and cut $300 million from the program in his first budget as president — even as people were freezing to death. Ivins attributes this to a kind of pathological cluelessness on the part of Bush and his “compassionate conservatism.”
The deal is done – regarding tax cuts and unemployment benefits extensions — and while we all have a stake in it, most of us won’t get anything of long-term value out of it. Least of all the 99ers — the people who have received benefits for 99 weeks, or more. I’ve read at least one bit of analysis that the 99ers are basically hung out to dry because there is no extension beyond 99 weeks.