Category Archives: Social Security

Mr. President, Please do not cut Social Security!

Petition Statement at SignOn.org

By Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
To be delivered to: President Barack Obama

PETITION STATEMENT

Mr. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors–it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president. If you want to reform Social Security, make the wealthy pay their fair share by lifting the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes.

Petition Background

Social Security is not driving the deficit, therefore it should not be part of reforms aimed at cutting the deficit. The chained CPI, deceptively portrayed as a reasonable cost of living adjustment, is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors.

There are several sensible reforms to Social Security that should be considered to help make it sustainable, including lifting the ceiling on income subject to Social Security from $113,700 to $200,000 or more, as well as instituting a 1% raise in the payroll tax rate, a rate that hasn’t changed in over 20 years.

Both of these reforms would go a long way toward protecting the long-term health of Social Security, but neither should be conflated with efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit.

President Obama needs to stand by his Democratic principles and fight to protect Social Security benefits.

Sign at at SignOn.org

Also see a 2-minute video with Robert Reich explaining why reducing the annual Social Security inflation allowance to the Chained CPI would be unfair to seniors

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Filed under Social Security, US President

Bernie Sanders on the budget

Subject: The People Have Spoken, 11/28/12 (email from Democracy for America)

As I’m sure you are aware, there is currently a major effort being waged by Wall Street CEOs, Republicans and some Democrats to do deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and working families.

This could mean, among other things, significant cuts to vital programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

President Obama and the Democrats won a decisive victory on Election Day. The people have spoken and the Democratic Leadership must make it very clear that they intend to stand with the middle class and working families of our country, and not the Big Money interests. This means that in the coming weeks and months the Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done in a way that is fair — and not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

As Congress reconvenes and addresses the so-called “fiscal cliff,” I have outlined several ways that we can do deficit reduction without cutting the programs that working families rely on most:

At a time when the wealthiest people in our country are doing phenomenally well, we must eliminate the Bush tax cuts favoring the top 2 percent.

At a time when corporate profits are soaring, we must end the absurd tax policy that allows about one-quarter of large, profitable corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes.

At a time when the federal treasury is losing over $100 billion annually because the wealthy and large corporations are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, we must pass real tax reform that ends this outrage.

At a time when we spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we must cut defense spending. There is also waste in other governmental agencies which must be eliminated.

Now, is the time to hold Democrats accountable and ensure that we do deficit reduction in a way that is fair, while also protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Please stand with me in fighting for a deficit reduction plan which is fair — Sign the petition calling on Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire, while protecting vital programs.

Let me be clear. Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit because it is funded independently by the payroll tax. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund today, according to the Social Security Administration, has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay 100 percent of all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years. Social Security, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, must be protected.

Poll after poll shows that the American people want to see deficit reduction done in a way that is fair. They do not want to see cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while millionaires, billionaires and large corporations continue to receive huge tax breaks.

In my view, if the Republicans continue to play an obstructionist role, the president should get out of the Oval Office and travel the country. If he does that, I believe that he will find that there is no state in the country, including those that are very red, where people believe that we should give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, while cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Right now, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. That means the only way that Republicans can extend tax breaks for the wealthy and cut vital programs is if Democrats let them.

Sadly, virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are too willing to do deficit reduction in a way that hurts those who are already hurting.

Don’t let them win. The Bush tax cuts must be allowed to expire. Please sign the petition today.

I look forward to working with President Obama and all members of Congress to do deficit reduction in a way that finally asks the wealthiest people in our country to pay their fair share, and that recognizes the needs of working families.

Despite the fact that we just won a major electoral victory over Big Money, Wall Street CEOs, big corporations and the millionaires and billionaires are not giving up. Defeating them will take a major grass-roots effort with millions of people getting involved in this fight.

Please, stand with me today.

Thank you,

-Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Social Security

Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig, 7/27/11

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors? The answer, offered as conventional wisdom by leaders of both parties, is that we cannot endanger our credit by failing to back our bonds, even though the Republicans have aroused the alarm of the main U.S. credit rating agencies by their brinkmanship on the debt.

What a topsy-turvy world when the same credit rating agencies that gave the thumbs up to the bankers’ toxic mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps now threaten the AAA rating of U.S. Treasury bonds. …

continue reading at Truthdig

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Right Wing, Social Security