[Marxism] Could Obama really learn something from Reagan? - Salon.com

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Thu Apr 11 15:55:13 MDT 2013

Richard Fidler wrote

This Salon article should be read in conjunction with the Kliman 
critique of Magdoff-Sweezy-Foster posted to this list earlier today by 
Ralph Johansen:


"Opponents of the Social Security 
<http://www.marxmail.org/msg110654.html#> system have long wanted to 
dismantle it. To date, they have completely failed. Nor have 
they--yet--forced workers to
pay for a greater share of their benefits or slowed down cost-of-living 
increases in Social Security payments. And the phased-in rise in the 
eligibility age from 65 to 67 pales in comparison with the rise in life 
expectancy: the average retiree receives more, not fewer, years of 
Social Security income. Moreover, she receives far more of it each year 
than her parents and grandparents did, as we have seen. This is a clear 
sign that something is seriously wrong with the notion that capital's 
war against the working class <http://www.marxmail.org/msg110654.html#> 
was smashingly successful in the decades leading up to the Great Recession.

"Increased Differentiation Within the Working Class

"Magdoff and Foster's treatment of the compensation and income of the 
working class fails to give due attention to disparate trends among 
different groups of workers. The more one does attend to these disparate 
trends, the more the notion that capital's victories in the class war 
have led to "labor's declining share" breaks down.

"Consider the strong increase in seniors' income once again. If capital 
has become so increasingly powerful, how have seniors managed to achieve 
gains--and hold onto them, even in the midst of the Great Recession and 
its aftermath? Is the accelerated class war being waged only against younger

Which of course is why Obama and his Wall Street backers are now turning 
their sights on Social Security....

Well, yes, breakdown is needed, and disparate figures tell the real 
story when that is done, but lest it be ignored and as far as the 
well-being of those 50-and-over here in the US under this system is 
concerned, my case is probably as illustrative and as outrageous as any, 
and shows again how penurious the vaunted "New Deal" was, in design and 
execution. I have been receiving social security for 27 years. My first 
monthly check was for $473. My check this month, 27 years on, is $493. 
That was too little to begin with, buys a few good lunches and a bus 
trip now, the Congressionally-regulated cost of living allowance has 
been way the hell behind actual inflation, obviously, and steady 
increases in Medicare premiums paid to the medical-industrial complex 
for care of my fortunately quite sound mind and body has chewed up the 

Fortunately for me also, unlike so many who the statistics show could 
not get a leg up with other income and savings, I have done well enough 
in that area so that I'm not dependent on social security for 
sustenance. But needless to say, I am the exception. Most who have 
retired, who worked for years with the hope that at the other end of 
their work years they would be secure, are hurting badly, and carrying 
the load for others with bucks and clout in Obama's "balanced approach" 
and "mutual sacrifice" budget. The third rail? We'll see. Our purported 
lobby, the American Association of Retired Persons, is a dismal fraud, 
mainly a means to accrue institutional wealth for its bureaucracy 
through the sale of insurance, with whose administrators it identifies, 
and peddling prosthetics and supplementary medication to the 
broken-bodied in the wreckage of a life working for the man.

And when I consider how many are now going to be even worse off as our 
for-the-time-being lack of organization continues to be exploited - 
well, I live in a small county in the northernmost region of California, 
17 miles from the Oregon border, where the Tea Party reigns, the forest 
and the fish are gone, the most popular recreation is OHVs tearing up 
what's left of the redwood forest floor and the wetlands, our only 
allies are the score or less environmentalists, the locally-disdained 
and aging "tree-huggers", and virtually the only source of survival for 
the locals is the enormous maximum security state prison here - I toy 
with going out in the middle of the one main street in the near-by town, 
like the guy at the end of the movie The Body Snatchers, and railing at 
passers-by - but to whom and to what end? So I read much, enjoy the 
company of my wise wife and precocious adopted autistic granddaughter, 
listen to sublime music, spend much time online, gaze out the window at 
my beautiful surroundings, and ponder the next score of years, or 
whatever is left to me. And know that it's not just the rich and 
privileged who have smarts, that this is an endlessly creative, 
innovative species I belong to, and that there's much hope. I mean, just 
look at many in the company I enjoy here online.

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