Shock Doctrine Attack on Middle Class Intensifies
Just as the Tax Policy Center releases its analysis showing how heavily tilted the tax changes in the Simpson-Bowles plan are:
Income Quintile Tax Shift Lowest 47.0 Second 19.1 Middle 6.7 Fourth 0.5 Top -1.9 All 0.8
This latest group hails from the Bipartisan Policy Center, and its signature proposal may end up being a whopping 6.5 percent national "Deficit Reduction Sales Tax" -- just the sort of thing that is devastating to people who live on a budget while not really mattering so much to the rich.
In its quest to control health care costs, the group also recommends significant increases in Medicare premiums in the short term. And after 2018, Medicare beneficiaries would either be forced to pay out of pocket for any and all cost increases more than one percent greater than the growth rate of the economy -- or they would be invited to leave the government program entirely and find private insurance instead. That would no longer be Medicare as we know it -- or as future retirees expect it.
Once again, it bears repeating that the current deficit really is all Bush's fault. Clinton left office with a surplus--and trillions of dollars of surplus as far as the eye could see. Bush destroyed all that in record time:
The breakdown of costs from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
The logical response, of course, would be to undo the damage by undoing the policies. First law of holes: stop digging. But that's not the "logic" of the Shock Doctrine, which says, "No, make things 10 times worse by following these simple percriptions we just happen to have lying around." And that's what this would do. In fact, it's a direct result of now-widespread "philosophy" of financial punishment that Paul Krugman has been writing about for months now--a philosophy that has no foundations at all in economic models that would explain how it is supposed to bring about economic recovery.