Archive for Social Security
Mike Lux has a very personal post at dKos in response to rumors about some kind of deal between the Obama White House and Speaker of the House John Boehner. He recalls meeting an elderly Iowa woman who worried how she would get through the winter on her Social Security. No matter how frugal she was, her cost of living increase wasn’t keeping up with her expenses. She later died of hypothermia when the power company cut off her heat. Lux faces a crossroads.
I have been having some interesting conversations with Democrats over the last 24 hours about what being a loyal Democrat means with the President seeming likely to go forward with this deal. The point has been made that the Republicans are far worse than Obama on these issues, as all they want to do is to gut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs for the poor, and that is definitely true. The fact that the President is, according to the Washington Post, proposing to exclude SSI disability payments and provide a bump-up in benefits for those 85 and older is a good thing and much appreciated. People have said to me that the President’s heart is in the right place, and that he is working hard to get the best deal he thinks he can get, which may well be true- I gave up judging politicians’ motives long ago. And I have been told I should be a loyal Democrat, that the President is our party’s leader, and we should be unified in supporting him.
But here’s the deal: I didn’t get into politics to help the Democratic party. I came to the Democratic party because they more often wanted to help the people I cared about helping- the poor, the disabled, the middle class folks fighting for a decent life for them and their families. When forced to choose, as it looks like I will in this case, I will choose the people I got into this work to fight for.
Whaddya mean? Pete Peterson would spend all that money to snooker us? Well, yes. Once again, Bruce Bartlett:
On Dec. 3, the Government Accountability Office released new estimates of the federal government’s long-term budget outlook. They show that our real long-term problem is quite different from the one constantly portrayed by congressional Republicans.
That is to say, government spending is not out of control. Nine out of ten Americans don’t want their Social Security or Medicare cut at all. There is no crisis except for the one fabricated by people interested in concentrating more wealth in their own hands. Republicans and Democrats alike.
At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith exposes a stealth attack on Social Security in the Bowles-Simpson approach. Raising the age limit to 69 reduces monthly benefits by 13 percent:
Nothing could sound more reasonable than one of the “reforms,” meaning attacks, on Social Security: raise the retirement age from 67 (the level for those born after 1960) to 69. People are living longer, right? That means they can work longer, right? Well, aside from a few inconvenient facts (the life expectancy of low income black women is actually falling, and middle aged people who lose their jobs often find it difficult to get any kind of paid work), on the surface, this seems not too bad.
But this plan is actually a sneaky way to cut monthly benefits across the board, and for an age cohort where retirement is so far away that they won’t focus on details and subject this scheme to the criticism it deserves.
Formal announcement in minutes:
NORFOLK, Va. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made his vice presidential pick official Saturday morning, announcing via smartphone app that he had chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
In less than two hours, the two men will make a joint appearance at the battleship Wisconsin, a retired military vessel.
Last year we found Florida voters opposed Ryan plan by 16 points, North Carolina voters opposed it by 23
UPDATE: from Social Security Works
Click the link for more information. From Think Progress – 12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan:
1) Embraces extreme individualism
2) Raises taxes on the middle class, cuts them for millionaires
3) Dramatically increases Medicare costs for seniors, increases eligibility age
4) Leaves Social Security to the whims of Wall Street
5) Budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years
6) Eliminates Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students
7) Keeps $40 billion in subsidies for Big Oil
8) Family stands to benefit from oil subsidies
9) Claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.”
10) Believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.”
11) Accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget
12) Co-sponsored a personhood amendment
“Mail is like oxygen. It’s there and you count on it, and you don’t get worried about it until it disappears. There is going to be concern by a lot of people if this goes away. The national concern is going to be enormous.” — Tonda Rush, president of the National Newspaper Association, commenting on the unraveling of the United States Postal Service
So here’s a radical idea for radical times: Nationalize the United States Post Office.
Just writing the words makes my eyes spin around in my head. The Ryan-esque view that it would un-American to un-privatize an operation like the United States Post Office is such a retromingent exercise in inverse reasoning that I regret not being clever enough to come up with a corporate flak-friendly name for it. Like right-sizing or blamestorming or activating synergies of scale.
Yet in the up-is-down, Bizarro World that is Washington, D.C., privatizing the United States Postal Service — Benjamin Franklin’s United States Post Office — makes Bizarro sense. Drape its coffin in a flag and watch right-thinking patriots salute as FedEx hauls it over to Arlington for burial.
While checking out the outraged rhetorical pivots coming in response to the Affordable Health Care Act being upheld, I came across this telling tidbit from John Hood at the John Locke Foundation:
Some argued that Roberts had caved to political pressure by the president and his leftist allies, much as President Franklin Roosevelt managed to intimate [sic] the U.S. Supreme Court in 1937-38 to abandon its enforcement of limits on federal spending and capitulate to his unconstitutional New Deal regulations. In Roberts’ decision as well as the dissent, there are clues suggesting that the chief justice had originally sided with the four conservative justices to throw out ObamaCare altogether, then changed his vote later.
Essentially, said these critics, John Roberts proved to be a wimp. He caved because he cared more about what the establishment thought of him than about doing what was right.
I’m not surprised by the personal attack here nor the venom. What jumped out at me was Mr. Hood’s assertion that The New Deal is unconstitutional.
They’re still fighting something that happened over 75 years ago. Eliminate Social Security. Eliminate public investments in infrastructure. Eliminate regulatory bodies, especially if they rein in financial institutions. Eliminate collective bargaining. Eliminate anything the federal government might do to ensure that the people are empowered and provided with a measure of financial security.
When you hear some folks on the right go ape over the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality, know that many of them see it as another insidious step forward for FDR’s New Deal liberalism. They’re willing to look past all of Mitt Romney’s shortcomings as long as he pretends to be in favor of returning America to the glories of Herbert Hoover. They’re willing to argue for repeal of the Affordable Care Act without seeing a need to replace it with anything. It doesn’t matter how many people get hurt, exorcists on the right are determined to vanquish the ghost of FDR.
The Strengthen Social Security Campaign challenges Alan Simpson to a debate over Simpson-Bowles:
Simpson has been drawing lots of heat for some colorful recent letters, one to the “greedy geezers” at the California Alliance for Retired Americans in April, and a letter he sent last week to Max Richtman, the head of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare. Read More→