The 1985 science fiction film Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a teenager who travels back in time 30 years and meets his future mother, who becomes romantically interested in him. Marty then has the task of getting his future parents to fall in love so he will have a future.
This scenario is chillingly like America today. Hardworking people over the past 30 years have invested their money in homes, thinking that the housing market would be stable. And undoubtedly it would have been but for greed and incompetence at every level of government and finance. This is nowhere more evident than in the way that Social Security funds were systematically diverted into the general budget.
In 1968, facing astronomical costs of the Vietnam War and the Great Society programs, President Lyndon Johnson had a projected “budget deficit of somewhere between $2.1 billion and $8.1 billion—no one could say for sure. So President Johnson made a change in the budget presentation by including Social Security, and all other trust funds in the budget process. He then projected a budget for 1969 to be in a net balance of $2.4 billion”—a cool $4.5 to $10.5 billion coup d’état. So began the systematic rip-off of Social Security and our other trust funds by a president and Congress.
Congress liked the idea so much that it got into the act and in 1985, passed “the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act,” which allowed them to borrow money “collected under the Social Security” act and spend it “for non-Social Security purposes.”
A week after his 2005 State of the Union speech, President George Bush bluntly put the Social Security Trust Fund in perspective: “Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund—in other words, there’s a pile of money being accumulated. That’s just simply not true. The money—payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They’re spent on benefits and they’re spent on government programs. There is no trust.”
There you have it in a word.—“There is no trust.” The money has been spent for “non-Social Security purposes.”
Thank you, President Bush, for clarifying that. Our hard-earned money taken as FICA taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare, Postal Service profits and their Retiree Health Benefits Fund, Civil Service Retirement System funds, and the Government Life Insurance Fund, established to insure World War I soldiers and their families, has been ripped off, in one way or another, by every president and Congress since 1969.
The next player in this “back to the future” scenario comes—not from Congress or any elected or government official—but from America’s independent central bank, the “Fed.” Greenspan is the culprit—appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1987 by President Regan—”Greenspan didn’t believe that fraud was something that needed to be enforced” in the financial market. Thank you, Mr. Greenspan, for your part in the 2008 financial collapse.
What did Congress do to protect the future of the American people? “A prime example is what happened to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, a dedicated and resourceful consumer advocate. Unfortunately, members of the old guard, led by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and a pack of Republicans, prevented the agency’s independent operation, relegating it to “a smaller bureau within the Federal Reserve run by—well, anyone but Elizabeth Warren.”
How tidy. The fox is guarding America’s hen house!
Now we come to President George Bush and the Iraqi war.
“On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam’s inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail… Tenet never” shared this “intelligence with then Secretary of State Colin Powell.”
“On April 23, 2006, CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe, who disclosed that the agency had received documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD. ‘We continued to validate him the whole way through,’ said Drumheller. ‘The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.’”
For reasons we can only surmise, President Bush was determined to invade Iraq.
“In a February 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council, Powell alleged that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction from inspectors and refusing to disarm. However, after the U.S. had invaded Iraq and overthrown Saddam Hussein, no weapons of mass destruction were found.
“‘Of course I regret that a lot of it turned out to be wrong,’ he said.
“But Powell insisted a lot of his intelligence was ‘on point.’”
If we cannot reconstruct a rationale for invading Iraq, the ensuing costs are more traceable.
Cold statistics tell us that the cost of the Iraq war in dollars and cents stands at $806 billion and counting. But the cost in human suffering and loss is much more than a statistic—“Combining IBC civilian data with official Iraqi and US combatant death figures and data from the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks, we estimate the documented death toll across all categories since March 2003 to be 162,000, of whom 79% were civilians.”
All I can do is weep—it didn’t have to happen.
Unfortunately for us, President Bush’s decisions continue to affect us on a daily basis—and it’s not science fiction—it is the now in the loss of jobs, homes and the higher cost of everything from gas to a college education for our young people.
“If not for the Bush tax cuts, the deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression (including the cost of policymakers’ actions to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term. By themselves, in fact, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for almost half of the $20 trillion in debt that, under current policies, the nation will owe by 2019. The stimulus law and financial rescues will account for less than 10 percent of the debt at that time.”
So we come to the “now.”
We have given examples of a succession of administrations which have made disastrous decisions causing the American people to lose both “blood and treasure.” Now we are trying to fight our way out of a recession that shows no sign of letting go its grip on the economy. Shockingly, a number of leading Republicans think it is to their party’s advantage if the economy does not improve before November. They know that millions of Americans will vote for or against President Obama depending on a couple of economic factors, particularly the level of unemployment. They have mobilized their party to vote against measures that would create more jobs and continually try to pass legislation overturning the Affordable Health Care Act and continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. Their actions show a callous disregard for the well-being of the rest of us.
However, there is another action that would go a long way to solving the Housing crisis that is being blocked by enemies of the President. “A band of progressive leaders joined the mounting calls to fire America’s housing policy chief Ed DeMarco Thursday.
“You could have the biggest stimulus program in America by getting rid of one person, Van Jones, president and co-founder of the progressive group Rebuild the Dream and former White House adviser, said Thursday. ‘He is single-handedly holding up tens of thousands of jobs.’
“Jones joined Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, and Leo W. Gerard, international president of United Steelworkers, on a conference call Thursday to encourage President Barack Obama to fire DeMarco, who is acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. DeMarco, a Bush administration appointee, has opposed offering a form of loan forgiveness, known as principal reduction, on mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government-backed housing giants have a hand in about half of all the outstanding mortgages.”
To enhance their chances for reelection, our presidents have auctioned off our Social Security, Postal Service and retirement assets to financial interests. It’s time now for the payback. We speak politely now. Please listen. Tell the American people how they have been defrauded by their presidents and Congress in the past. Assure us that it will not happen again, and we will forgive you and maybe even vote you back into office.
Stall and do nothing and we will not be so kind in the voting booth.
This is America’s Manifesto: Do the will of the people or get out of our White House and Congress and take your freeloading banksters and lobbyists with you!
We want a White House and Congress that goes with us back to the future.
Ignorance is a choice: Money is power—Knowledge is more powerful.
What can you do—you are only one person? True, but you are only “six degrees of separation,” on average, from any other person on Earth. You become powerful when you share information with your friends and ask them to share it with their friends—it becomes a global revolution. As Stephen King suggests in The Long Walk, when these “society-supported sociopaths” come, step aside, and find the strength to run…