There is an intrinsic quality in the animal kingdom, including human beings, to care for the young that transcends species, religion, and race without exception. In nature, the innate protection quotient is based on maintaining the species survival, and to a degree it is true of human beings as well although love and parental bond certainly play a major role. Even selfish Republicans care for children, except their regard is limited to their own offspring, unless it is politically expedient to make a phony outward display of concern for “future generations” as they enact austerity cuts to education and domestic programs that provide children with healthcare, food assistance, and a secure future. Now, Republicans are back again fighting for children’s futures and, as is their wont, they are protecting the next generation by seeking entitlement cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as the debt and deficit reduction frenzy focus shifts to protect America’s most precious resource; our children.
Over the past few weeks Republicans acknowledged there is not an imminent debt crisis even as they voted for an austerity-laden budget and celebrated drastic job-killing sequestration cuts. The fear-mongering over the immediate debt crisis is now fear mongering over the long-term deficit Republicans claim is a moral issue, and that unless deeper austerity and Social Security cuts are enacted, then America is waging “generational warfare” by “imposing a crippling burden on the next generation.” Of course, with nearly 25% of America’s children living in extreme poverty, and deeper sequester cuts over the next nine years loom large, chances are the next generation will be much smaller so it makes sense to cut “entitlements” like Social Security in the Republicans’ never-ending war on the deficit.
Last month when the President met with Republicans to mend fences and find common ground to address the deficit threatening today’s children, Social Security chained CPI cuts were on the agenda. Chained CPI reduces the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculations for Social Security and veterans’ benefits, and it is curious that the President is unaware that Social Security does not, by statute, add to the nation’s deficit. Perhaps the President is still laboring under the illusion that Republicans will compromise if he just gives them everything they want in exchange for a so-called “grand bargain,” but after four years of intransigence and obstruction, anything less than privatizing or eliminating both Medicare and Social Security will be met with a new hostage situation over increasing the nation’s debt limit. However, at least the President is not yet acquiescing to eliminating domestic programs or education that give the next generation a slim hope of escaping poverty.
Republicans who are now worried sick about America’s children’s future, have already taken care to assure future generations will stay mired in poverty and ignorance unless they are part of the privileged elite who can afford private schools, healthcare, and three nutritional meals a day. Over the course of the past three years, hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers were dismissed and assistance that, at one time, made college affordable for children of less-affluent families has been slashed to ensure the next generation struggles to survive the poverty 24% of today’s children live in. The millions of jobs Republican austerity cuts destroyed in deficit reduction madness all but guarantees recent high school and college graduates will never start a career unless one considers part-time minimum wage WalMart jobs a career.
If Republicans are so concerned America is cheating today’s children with crushing future deficits and creating undue burden with Social Security that does not affect the deficit, there are fiscally responsible ways to help them now and in the future. The President just re-introduced an infrastructure plan that will save over 3.1 million jobs and create millions more, but Republicans claim “America is broke” even though corporations and big businesses are hoarding huge amounts of cash from soaring profits and avoiding paying taxes on that cash. Republicans could also stop slashing public education funding and rehire over half a million teachers instead of shifting public school funds to under-performing charter schools (read private religious training) in a massive union-busting scheme funded and promoted by ALEC and the Koch brothers. No, it is much more fiscally responsible to protect children now, and in the future, with cuts to Social Security, education, Head Start, and education that all but guarantees the nearly 25% poverty-level children will struggle to survive, much less contribute to Social Security with decent paying jobs.
Republicans care about as much about future generations as they do this generation or the children they cut services and education for eliminating any hope of a living wage job now or in the future. It is important to remember, that cutting the deficit will not produce one job, hire one teacher, or feed one child that Republicans are suddenly concerned about, and cutting Social Security will not reduce the deficit by one penny which makes the bipartisan “entitlement” hawks’ argument seriously suspicious. There is a simple fix for Social Security that no Republican will consider, and it is possible they are unaware that lifting the cap on earnings will keep the American peoples’ retirement accounts solvent forever, but asking the wealthy to contribute like every other American is anathema to Republicans. It is much easier to cut Social Security under a “protect our children’s future” meme because it tugs at Americans’ heartstrings and demonstrates concern for the next generation that will face deeper poverty in their retirement.
One hopes President Obama has a strategy in acquiescing to Republicans’ 80 year assault on the New Deal’s Social Security Trust, because if cutting benefits for retirees, Veterans, and the disabled is truly to reduce the deficit and unburden future generations from Republican debt for two unfunded wars, an entitlement to big pharma, and tax cuts for the rich, he needs to read the statute that forbids the Trust from adding to the deficit. Republicans have no excuse because they were slashing programs and enacting austerity before they changed course to “unburden future generations” from “generational warfare,” and they will proceed cutting domestic programs and push for tax cuts for the rich regardless if America is swimming in cash.
It is true that children need to be protected now and in the future, but it is from Republicans who have shown a predilection to cutting education, safety nets, and jobs their parents need to provide for them now and in the future. What cutting Social Security now does is ensure that in the future, not only will today’s children struggle to provide for their own children because jobs vanished from Republican cuts, they will struggle to provide for their parents whose Social Security benefits were slashed in the deficit cutting frenzy and all because no politician in Washington understands Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. Fortunately, President Obama does understand that jobs and education will protect children’s’ future, but if he thinks giving Republicans Social Security cuts they lust for will protect children or fund job creation and better schools, he needs to look back at his first term and recall that regardless what he gave Republicans, they still cut spending on children, their education, and their future they suddenly are concerned about.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.