A critique of the impact on African Americans of using the chained CPI to limit the cost-of-living adjustment on Social Security benefits and my criticism of President Obama’s jobs proposals were among the highlights of a one-hour discussion Sunday led by Maya Rockeymoore, the host of We Act Radio’s “Pivot Point” and a leading progressive voice on the economy and health care.
The full hour is worth your attention because it touches particularly effectively on three critical issues for progressives. One is whether President Obama has undercut the very economic causes that got him elected, and thrown the constituencies who believed in his promises under the bus, by continuing to pursue a “grand bargain” that includes cuts to Social Security benefits and at least a partial surrender to the conservative austerity agenda.
Another, raised by guest Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Maryland pediatrician who represents Physicians for a National Health Plan and is a board member of Healthcare NOW!, is whether the president’s signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, has so from the same propensity of the president to compromise with the opponents of progressive reform that it should be counted as an accomplishment at all. Flowers remains a passionate advocate for replacing Obamacare with a single-payer health care system.
AFL-CIO economist William Spriggs appears later on the program, and during his segment he pointedly argues that one of the most devastating consequences of the economic policies in place since 2000 is how far behind they place people under 30. He notes that record numbers of young people are outside the workforce, and that will have long-term consequences for the economic health of the country.
When Spriggs laid out the numbers, I point out that this is the most devastating debt that is being imposed on future generations. It’s not the federal deficit; it is diminished future economic opportunity because of our failure today to invest in jobs, education and financial supports for those struggling to get onto the economic ladder.