TheRealNews on Dec 27, 2009
Hickey: The Republican proposed deficit committee would be used to force through cuts in social programs
Roger Hickey is co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, an organization launched by 100 prominent Americans to expand the national debate about America’s economic future. The Campaign seeks to empower working Americans, middle-class families, and the poor to make their voices heard in support of a populist economic agenda and an expansion of democracy. Recently, Hickey organized and helped to lead a national coalition of citizen leaders known as Americans United to Protect Social Security.
HICKEY: And the point of all this is they don’t want to talk about a government that actually works. They want to talk about a government that’s the enemy and needs to be drastically slashed. These are the same people who wanted to privatize the Social Security system. These are the same people who have been really complaining about the fact that the US has a fairly basic social contract with seniors for some time. I personally don’t want to see Social Security benefits cut any more than they are currently, the level that they’re at right now. I don’t want to see Medicare cut in terms of benefits that people receive. I want to see Medicare reorganized so that the health-care system works in a more efficient way. These guys want to cut, and they don’t believe in raising taxes, even on the wealthy, to finance affirmative government. So it’s a very important ideological battle that we’re going to have to wage and win, reaching out to the American people and showing them how dangerous it is to put government on automatic. Conservative policies, if they were in effect right now, would have thrown this economy into a Great Depression. And you want to have the flexibility to spend money when you need to, as well as the long-term strategy of investing in the future.
JAY: I don’t think you understand. If the Republicans are in power, then it’s okay to [inaudible] There was no problem with that after 9/11. There was no problem with that during last fall when Bush was [inaudible]
HICKEY: There’s no doubt that the Republicans became just opponents of doing anything about the deficit while they were in power, that’s right, first with their tax cuts and then with their wars. So you’re absolutely right. In fact, their supply-side ideology said that deficits were not a problem. Now that they’re facing Obama in power, they’re using the deficit as a weapon against him.