Monday, June 5, 2017

Trump wages war on rural poor with cuts in SSDI

Predator in Chief mocks the disabled
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican,”

So said Donald Trump right before he declared himself a candidate for President of the United States.  However, his recent budget suggests cutting $70 billion from Social Security disability benefits over the next 10 years. They are not social security apparently.

Most people aren’t surprised by this news as we’ve come to accept that Trump, apart from being a racist and misogynist, is a pathological liar. But there are some of us who are surprised by it and they are the people that trusted him the most, the poor white rural voter.

They weren’t necessarily driven by ideology, white nationalism, racism, Nazism although some have them may well have weaknesses in this area. But in the main, these were people who desperately need help and, as people so often do, cast aside all else hoping Trump would provide it.

BusinessWeek points out, “Of the 20 counties with the highest share of working-age adults receiving disability benefits, 17 voted for Trump, by an average margin of 56 percentage points.”

The cuts will have a serious if not catastrophic affect on residents of counties like Dickenson and Buchanan in Virginia, the two counties with the highest rates of disability payouts in the nation.  Mick Mulvaney, the White House Budget Director said that these cuts are necessary because Social Security Disability Insurance is a “welfare program for the long-term disabled,”, rife with abuse.  What incredibly callous individuals Trump and his gang are. In a sense, they are simply more honest about their attitude to US workers and aggressive regarding policy, than the previous administration but their callousness is special. And their aggressive approach more likely to invite and hasten social upheaval

Morgan Griffith, the rep for Virginia’s 9th congressional district that includes these two counties, agrees that fraud is a concern and has to be focused on, but not in his district. “…..the people in Dickenson and Buchanan counties are good, honorable folks. The fraud isn’t down there.” Grifith says. Poor people are always “good and honorable” to these characters; that’s what makes them poor as they’ll get their rewards in heaven. What this reflects is the complete disregard for the nation and its citizens as a whole. The object is to stay in power, keep one’s seat, don’t cut my constituents or I won’t get re-elected.  It’s pure self-preservation at the local level and they’re all at it.

There is another factor here.  Mulvaney’s statements with regard to SSDI including telling the world that, “These people need to go back to work.” is that “he’s thinking of people of color in urban areas—and the exact opposite is true.”, says professor John Kregel, a specialist in disability policy at Virginia Commonwealth University,  Here in Virginia, it’s overwhelmingly white, rural voters who went for Trump who are the beneficiaries.”

Mulvaney naturally thinks it’s the black folks committing fraud, they just need to get off their asses, and what better way to accomplish that than to cut benefits. Griffith agrees, his district is 91% white and they’re not fraudsters, it must be the 9% who are not white. The truth is, of course, the only fraudsters here are Mulvaney and Grifith and the gang in Washington.   Griffith is a member of that right wing, Zionist freedom caucus and Mulvaney is a former member.

While the number of recipients of SSDI has decreased  the number of people claiming SSDI is increasing as the US workforce is getting older. Then the politicians that represent the 1% increase the retirement age two years to 67 and that adds more older people while increasing the likelihood of injury, especially as older workers are forced to compete with younger, generally co-workers.

The lack of health insurance (I hate using those two words together) has also contributed to increasing SSDI claims says Professor Kregel. Across the state line in West Virginia, the crisis is not as acute as that state expanded medical coverage through the Affordable care Act, Virginia didn’t.

In their rush to cut benefits from urban workers of color, especially blacks who are all fraudulently claiming SSDI, they’ve inadvertently drawn a huge sector of the white rural poor in to the net-----their voters----- those people they conned in to thinking that the present administration was on their side. Oh my!

The US capitalist class, as all of them do, has nothing but contempt for working people. After all, if we were smart we’d be doing what they’re doing. This view by very definition has racist and sexist roots as well. The acute crisis affecting communities of color and other disenfranchised elements can only be of their own making----the poor are poor by their own making.  In our society, if you work hard, make the right decisions, you will be successful, look at Donald Trump.

The cuts in SSDI are just part of the overall assault on working class people and future generations as billions more will be eliminated from programs that enable ageing or disabled Americans to live somewhat of a dignified life.  US capitalism’s wars to maintain its position in the plunder of the world’s resources have to be paid for. As we have said many times, US capitalism can no longer afford guns and butter, the butter has to go. This is partly due to the rise of China and to a lesser extent Russian imperialism. Oh for the relative stability of the bi-polar world.

When we consider the trillions of dollars spent on US capitalism’s predatory wars under the absurdly titled “War on Terror” there is absolutely no need for such suffering either domestically or throughout the world. The cost of these wars in human terms is immense. For US veterans the future is grim. The survival rate due to improved armor is much higher than it was in Vietnam, another one of US capitalism’s crimes against humanity, so there are some 800,000 of them needing medical attention for the physical and mental damage that these sons and daughters of the US working class, a small section of them, are faced with.

This cannot go on. It is simply a matter of time before the critical mass is reached and the class struggle breaks out in to the open more aggressively. The history of the US working class is one of long periods of relative calm before huge explosions on to the streets and workplaces. A major reason this hasn’t occurred up to now is while there is increased resistance to the capitalist offensive, around various issues, they are isolated and there is no social force pulling them together. There is nowhere to turn and it seems like there is nothing that can be done. 

The mass of the US working class has not burst on the scene but it will and as always happens in this situations is workers tend then to overcome the superficial divisions that harm us and seek class unity. This will undermine the exaggerated influence of the petty bourgeois that prevails at the moment.  The socialist and militant traditions of the US working class will resurface and new leadership will arise, this is the crucial factor is the struggle between the classes.

While there are no guarantees in this world; history is on our side.

“I have a big heart.” Donald Trump prior to his entry in to the race for president.

No comments: