Simple Solutions


There are three simple solutions to the deficit, Medicare, and the Social Security problems.

First: Just after WW2, due to the Depression and the war, the deficit was huge, greater than today’s deficit relative to the Gross Domestic Product. It was paid off by a 91 percent tax on the upper bracket, that is, on annual income over $400,000 ($200,000 before 1948). This 91 percent tax prevailed under the Republican Eisenhower administration as well as under Democratic administrations. It paid for the GI Bill and helped finance both the VA and FHA loans. In short, it built the middle class. (I, for one, would never have been able to afford college had it not been for the GI Bill; as a veteran of WW2 — 88th Infantry Div., Italy — I received complete tuition plus a salary.) Republicans and some Democrats fought tooth and nail recently to keep the tax on the top bracket from rising to 39 percent! And President Obama caved in. If we are serious about reducing —eliminating! — the deficit, we would return to the 91 percent tax on incomes over $400,000. The alternative is to punish the poor by destroying such programs as WIC, that is, literally taking milk from infants’ mouths.

Second: There is no Social Security problem: SS has been piling up surpluses in the trillions of dollars; it has not contributed a dime to the deficit. But we can add to the surplus (now building toward 4 trillion dollars!) by removing the cap on income taxed by Social Security — that cap is now set at $106,000; remove it so that the rich pay SS tax on all their income, as they do now for Medicare.

Third: Replace the Health Care law with a single payer plan. European countries with this plan deliver twice as much medical care and pay half as much as the United States. This is something Obama should have fought for from the beginning, as Dr. Marcia Angell and many others have said.

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One comment on “Simple Solutions
  1. Lawrence says:

    Simple Solutions, Complex Realities

    “Simple Solutions” by Marvin Mandell-A comment

    M. Mandell’s recommended solutions are appropriate and timely. It is refreshing to encounter straightforward policy ideas in NEW POLITICS magazine.

    Common sense ideas were, once upon a time, floated by the SP and were known as “immediate demands” or SP “platform planks.” Many of these immediate demands became Federal, State or City Law.

    Unfortunately, common sense policy solutions are often dismissed by so-called “third camp” Socialists as “minimalist” or watered-down liberal social democracy.

    America’s Right Wing Extremists (RWE)would likely characterize M. Mandel’s recommendations as advocating totalitarianism. Millions of dollars are spent every week by the RWE, with the generous material support of their deep-pocketed corporate allies, to discredit and demonize such common sense policy recommendations, or “immediate demands.”

    It doesn’t help the cause when self-righteous movement “maximalists” join the chorus-line attacking, or dismissing, the value of a well functioning, broadly based “welfare state.” Opinions abound today concerning the “conservatism” of the social democratic welfare state; its negative affect on working class “spontaneity,” or “rank and file militancy.”

    What will radically disorient the RWEs and their allies, and likely increase working class militancy, are successful campaigns to implement “immediate demands” and common sense policy recommendations. Politically, these are excellent socialist “wedge issues.” They are also good solutions to difficult problems.

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