If everything is commodified – valued in terms of costs and financial rewards – moral reciprocities become fragile. If the state removes labourist forms of social insurance that created a substantive, if inequitable, social solidarity system, without putting anything comparable in its place, then there is no mechanism to create alternative forms of solidarity. To build one, there must be a sense of stability and predictability. The precariat lacks both. It is subject to chronic uncertainty. Social insurance thrives when there is a roughly equal probability of upward and downward mobility, of making gains and making losses. In a society in which the precariat is growing, and in which social mobility is limited and declining, social insurance cannot flourish.”
When Obama talks about cuts to the safety net and blythely refers to his plans as appropriate to the economic times, they seem appropriate in comparison to rising levels of social insecurity, of Precarity. As a result of rising levels of economic inequality and social insecurity, it has become politically possible to compromise remaining programs which provided some insulation from joblessness, disability and illness.
AARP will not forcefully commit to a “No Cuts” position. AARP advocates for Seniors to save more, while seriously expressing the conviction that the next generation will have it harder financially. They are comparing current benefits to the future retirement of the Precariat class.
Perhaps they are looking at the benefit curve for 2050 on the Bowles-Simpson Catfood Plan and thinking, “That looks really bad. Seniors should be thankful that the BS plan did not go through.” Look at this:
Under the Precarity theory, governments are looking forward to keeping Seniors in the labor force because they are ‘cheap’, and will not require benefits, full-time hours and will not make demands. Cynically, having more people in the work force lowers the wages any and all employees can command in the ‘market’ for labor. Rising healthcare costs are not a problem for employers hiring part-time seniors.
That explains why when the President’s men recommend the Chained CPI, there is wavering among those who should be opposing the Chained CPI. A Chained CPI is a cut of 135 billion dollars over ten years: (the green line shows how benefits shrink under the chained cpi.)
Under Precarity theory, seniors are lucky that they even have a Social Security program when young persons are abused by a government that will not create jobs for them as the employers of last resort. If there are no jobs for young people, why should there be social insurance for old people? Without a new WPA to stimulate the economy and income support for unemployable persons, we are truly headed for a Depression economy and more precarity for all. Under the current regime, “social insurance cannot flourish”.