Now that President Obama's Cat Food Commission's initial draft of draconian social service cuts has come out, it is getting a lot more attention. The goals of the Cat Food Commission seemed initially to be focused on a jihad against Social Security and Medicare. That crusade is definitely part of the agenda, but the Cat Food Commission has a broader goal.
The Cat Food Commission is a broad based attempt to transfer income and wealth from the elderly, the middle class, and the poor to the rich.
Here are some of the specific recommendations from the Commission's draft report:
From CommonDreams.org 11/10/10 (bolding mine):
• 75% of the solutions in the co-chair mark are spending reductions, 25% are tax increases.
• They want to add co-pays to the Veterans’ Administration and TRICARE, as well as pushing individuals covered by TRICARE into an employer policy. They also want to freeze noncombat military pay for three years. And, they want to end schools for families on military bases, instead reintegrating soldier’s kids into the public school system (because that’s so easy for a military family that moves every other year).
• They would cut the federal workforce by 10%, freeze all salary increases and bonuses for three years, and reduce Congressional and White House budgets by 15%. Surely this is the way to a better and more efficient federal workforce.
• They would eliminate all funding for commercial space flight, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and increase fees at national parks and the Smithsonian museums.
• Increase co-pays in Medicaid and cost sharing in Medicare. In addition, the plan would cap Medicaid/Medicare growth, so that the government would have to either increase premiums and co-pays or raise the Medicare eligibility age if the cost grows above the baseline.
• Massively overhaul the tax code. They have a couple different options on this. In the first, there would only be three brackets: at 8%, 14% and 23% for the top bracket. All tax expenditures – $1.1 trillion, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit, would be eliminated. The corporate tax rate would go down from 35% to 26% as well. Option 2 borrows from the Wyden-Gregg tax reform, establishing rates at 15%, 25% and 35%, increasing the standard deduction, capping the mortgage interest deduction (and eliminating it for second homes), limiting the charitable deduction, eliminating other tax expenditures, and capping the employer deduction for health care. Corporate rates would also go down, with loopholes removed.
• They would increase the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon beginning in 2013, to pay for transportation projects.
• They would pay for the “doctor’s fix” by cutting other reimbursements to hospitals and drug companies, as well as through tort reform (yeah, that’ll do it). They would also speed up a lot of the cost controls in the health care law. They also ask, if health care costs are still rising after the implementation of the exchanges, for Congress to consider a variety of options, including this:
Add a robust public option and/or all-payer system in the exchange
• Reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year.
• On Social Security, gradually increase the retirement age to 69 by 2075. They would also institute progressive price indexing to cut scheduled benefits for middle and high-income earners. They would index cost of living increases to inflation and not wages. They would also increase the payroll tax to capture 90% of wages, rather than the current 86%. Social Security savings would stay inside the program to keep it solvent, not be used for deficit reduction.
I've read from multiple sources that they also want to eliminate the home mortgage deduction for all homes.
Here are some things that are not included in the agenda of this alleged "deficit commission."
- Cutting off all funding to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
- Closing the majority of military bases abroad.
- Getting rid of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
- Getting rid of the Clinton and Reagan tax cuts for the rich.
- Raising corporate taxes.
- Instituting luxury taxes.
- Instituting an SUV tax.
- Repealing all corporate controlled trade agreements and withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, making it possible for our government to expand revenue from tariffs, traditionally one of its major funding sources.
- Initiating a tax on all short term stock, bond, mutual fund, commodities, hedge fund, derivative, and other transactions involving financial instruments. (Call it the Bubble Prevention Tax.)
- Cut back on wasteful and unconstitutional homeland security spending
- An end to covert operations in Iran
- End of all aid to Israel
- End of aid and support for the fascist dictatorship in Colombia
- Legalization of Marijuana
- Sentencing crack like other cocaine
- Legalizing other victimless crimes such as gambling and prostitution.
- Taxing capital gains (other than primary home sales) like income actually earned by working
A "deficit commission" that proposes cutting taxes for the rich and corporations is not a deficit commission. Many have pointed out that wealthy and corporate interests are turning the same Shock Doctrine tactics that were used on non Western countries onto Europe and North America. We need to do more to fight back.