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Green Party: Obama Continues Bush’s 3rd Term by Privatizing Social Security and Dismantling Public Housing

The Obama Administration’s current plans to roll back Social Security and mortgage off all public housing amount to privatization schemes to dismantle public services, said Green Party candidates and leaders.

Rick Staggenborg

Rick Staggenborg

President Obama is trying to accomplish what Republicans have long dreamed about — privatizing public services and resources,” said Rick Staggenborg, MD, Oregon Pacific Green Party candidate for the US Senate (http://staggenborgforussenate.org).  (Dr. Staggenborg is founder of Soldiers For Peace International and a member of the Alliance For Democracy National Council.)

President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is expected to recommend cutting Social Security for future retirees, and the president himself has said “everything has to be on the table.”  The commission is stacked with conservatives hostile to Social Security.

As William Greider noted in The Nation, “The Republican co-chair, former Senator Alan Simpson, is especially nasty; he likes to get laughs by ridiculing wheezy old folks. Democratic co-chair Erskine Bowles and staff director Bruce Reed secretly negotiated a partial privatization of Social Security with Newt Gingrich back when they served in the Clinton White House…” (May 21, 2010, http://www.thenation.com/article/whacking-old-folks).

Greens dispute the Wall Street propaganda that Social Security’s cost has expanded the deficit and thus requires cuts.  In fact, Social Security’s huge surplus of $2.5 trillion will grow to $4.3 trillion by 2023 and can cover all benefits until 2040.  Any shortfalls can easily be reversed through a modest raise in the cap on Social Security contributions from the wealthy.

Alfred Molison, Texas Green candidate for Houston City Council (http://votealfred.com) said:

Cutting Social Security will force more people to invest in the volatile Wall Street casino, which would create billions more in profits for financial firms but wipe out the savings of millions of Americans. Fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill and financial industry lobbyists have long sought to kill Social Security, a program that has saved millions from destitution.  They know that Social Security has been both solvent and popular, so they’re using concerns about the deficit, rants about big government, and legitimate fears about the recent economic meltdown to persuade the public to accept dangerous Social Security reforms.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAAFS7xmQuI&feature=player_embedded]

The Obama Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has submitted legislation to Congress (PETRA, the Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act) that would privatize public housing and allow the new owners to impose 10% above the market rate in the rental fees for poor tenants, to be covered mainly by taxpayers.  (See a report on HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s May 26 statement, http://www.realestaterama.com/2010/05/26/hud-secretary-donovan-issues-statement-on-hud-effort-to-transform-rental-assistance-ID07208.html)

New owners would also be allowed take out a mortgage for building repair and maintenance, with no cap on interest rates, which would create more taxpayer-funded profits for banks.  If the government reduces its assistance for tenants because of budget cuts and the property goes into foreclosure, the banks can sell off the property to developers.

Lisa Green

Lisa Green

“HUD’s proposal would quickly become a program to dismantle public housing and funnel tax dollars to top lending institutions,” said Lisa Green, Green candidate for the California State Assembly 2010, 53rd District (http://www.votelisagreen.net).  “It will drive up the rent for needy residents and send many out onto the street.  It would also push up rental fees for other renters.  We’re already seeing efforts by Democrats and Republicans in municipal office to privatize schools, libraries, parks, public housing, and other resources for the benefit of real estate companies, developers, and other wealthy interests who contribute to political campaigns.”

“That’s why we need loud public protest.  And we need to elect Greens, many of whom have been fighting privatization schemes at the local level.  Unlike Democrats and Republicans, Green candidates don’t accept corporate campaign checks,” added Ms. Green.

See “HUD is Trying to Privatize and Mortgage Off All of America’s Public Housing” by George Lakoff (Common Dreams, May 21, 2010, http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/05/21-1).

“Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is acting in the tradition of Democratic presidents who’ve surrendered to the demands of Wall Street by enacting major planks of the GOP agenda,” said Nicholas Ruiz III, PhD, Florida Green candidate for Congress, District 24 (http://intertheory.org/nriiiforcongress2010.html).  “President Clinton signed largely conservative, excessively corporatist, Republican legislation into law: NAFTA, the Welfare Reform Act, the Telecommunications Act, the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, along with unreasonably large increases in the military budget.  Mr. Clinton adopted Newt Gingrich’s rhetoric about ‘big government,’ which means less protection for people and more government handouts for corporations.  President Obama has already signed an arguably Republican health care bill into law — since Obamacare is based on earlier GOP proposals for mandates.  With the Republicrat duopoly
fighting for corporations and their royalist aristocracy, that leaves the Green Party to fight for We The People.”

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