We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hats Off To Mother Jones [and privatization of public services]

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog. 

The first part relates to the headline by applauding the Mother Jones' investigation of privatized prisons which, if you read the link to their report, you will find quite disturbing. But then he puts this in the context of a more general trend of privatization promoted by the compulsively wealth seeking ruling class. 

Being a retired person trying to live on Social Security benefits, I was especially drawn to his remarks about this subject. 
Republicans intend to privatize Medicare and Social Security. The road to Medicare privatization is the small percentage of medical billings that Medicare pays. Medical care providers are beginning to find that it is unprofitable to provide care to Medicare patients. When doctors cease to provide care under Medicare, the massive payroll tax revenues will be diverted into the hands of “more efficient” private providers.

The road to Social Security privatization is the “reform” of the consumer price index, which under-measures inflation in order to deny Social Security recipients cost-of-living-adjustments. The continuing decline in the real value of Social Security benefits will result in large-scale economic distress. This distress will be used to discredit the Social Security system and to privatize it.
I can personally attest to the validity of the above statement. My cost of just my living quarters in a one bedroom apartment has increased over the past 10 years by 75.2% while my Social Security benefits have only increased 18.2% for the same period. And I have been unable to find a private practice doctor who will take me on as a patient once they learn that I don't have additional private insurance.