Come all you young workers and listen to me:
Don't hang your affections on the payroll tax tree.
For the thieves will still rob you and take what you have;
They'll postpone the theft till you're closer to the grave.
* * *
So the Congress has reached an apparent "compromise" on the payroll tax "issue." Tighten your sphincter and keep the vaseline handy.
Kidglove will tell you it's a win for the common wage-earner. Nonsense. It was the best he could do, politically, to inject some quick money into the economy.
The fair way would have been to take more from those who have more and use it for job-creating public works. That is, end the Bush tax cuts for the very rich and make them pay something closer to their fair share of what it takes to operate this country.
Yes, it's the same old 1% v. 99% battle. The 1% owns the pols of both parties who are making the decisions, young workers, that will affect you for the rest of your lives.
Here's how it works: the financial industry -- the same folks who gave you deregulation, sub-prime mortgages, the bursting of the housing bubble and the Great Recession -- covets the huge sums the government is collecting to pay for Social Security and Medicare. It's your money. But if the Republicans could "privatize" Social Security, you'd turn it over to the Too Big to Fail Crowd to "invest" for you. Wall Street bonuses would get bigger, Wall Street "investment" scams would become more lurid, and everyone would suffer except the One Percenters.
So far, at least, the thieves haven't been able to push privatization through even the bought-and-paid-for Congress. The thieves still have to get re-elected, and they're afraid that Social Security and Medicare are too popular to do away with at this time. So they're building a bogeyman. Having already stolen what used to be our trust fund by shifting Social Security into the general revenues, they're now playing mirror games with the accounting process to project Social Security going broke sometime in the relatively near future. "We've got to 'save' Social Security," they're telling us, "by taking it out of the hands of the government." They want to give your money to Wall Street, instead.
Now comes the "payroll tax" deal. It simply hands you today some of the money you've been putting aside for your retirement tomorrow. The Kidglove crowd contends that it will make the economy better by putting more spending money in your pocket -- roughly $83 a month for middle-level American workers. With food and fuel costs skyrocketing, the likelihood is that most of you will spend the extra money. So the economy will in fact get a bit of a short-term stimulus.
But the loss of half of your contributions to your future Social Security and your future Medicare will be noticed in a very short time by those in power who have long wanted to do away with "entitlements" for workers. "Aha!" they will say. "We told you so! Social Security is going broke even faster than we feared! We've got to privatize it now in order to save it." This logic reminds me of the famous episode in the Vietnam war where an American commander said, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."
But it's the inevitable outcome of the Kidglove regime's cave in and apply a band-aid strategy, which ultimately plays into the hands of the Republicans and their One Per Cent constituency.
You're going to need that vaseline.