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Dem Consensus: NO Crisis in Social Security -- but INSURANCE available for it

Sarah's picture

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're not supposed to go back to the toxic emanations of the primaries. Tough. Look at what the Democratic candidates were saying less than a year ago about Social Security. Now I'm VERY glad it wasn't kicked over to prop up the stock market -- don't even try to misunderstand that. But look at what guys like Kucinich, Dodd, and Edwards had to say about this issue.

EDWARDS: I think we have to be very careful to protect the middle class, so, specifically, what I would do as president is create a protective zone between $97,000 up to around $200,000 because there are a lot of firefighter couples, for example, that make $100,000 to $115,000 a year. We don’t want to raise taxes on them. But I do believe that people who make $50 million or $100 million a year ought to be paying Social Security taxes on that income.
KUCINICH: Of course we ought to be raising the cap in order to protect Social Security. And in addition, we should be thinking about lowering the retirement age to 65. People’s bodies break down.
DODD: You could do this by basically readjusting that tax so it doesn’t have to affect everyone in society.
Q: But you’d raise the cap to $500,000?
DODD: You’ve got to raise it up, clearly, to do this.

How is this different from -- and thus evil, in contrast to -- the idea that the top 10 percent of moneymakers in this nation should be paying a higher tax in general, rather than continuing to reap the benefits of the tax breaks every President from Reagan to W handed out to them?

Dennis Kucinich, widely beloved by progressives, said he'd block efforts to privatize Social Security. Hurray! I think that's important. He also said this:

People are retiring earlier. They’re retiring at age 62. And so we ought to take the retirement age back to 65, take the retirement age back to 65. The money is there. Right now, the Bush administration is using the surplus to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. I’m saying that Social Security right now, the retirement age ought to go back to age 65. Look at the record, look at the trust fund, it’s solid through the year 2041, get that money back to workers who are retiring earlier.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Did the Bush Treasury somehow loot the Social Security funds and get away with that, too? Is that why President Obama wants to "start a conversation" on securing the future of Medicare and Social Security?

We know the Pentagon "lost" $9,000,000,000 -- that's NINE BILLION, with a B, dollars -- in Iraq, during the George W. Bush presidency. We know the Treasury handed out half the $750 Billion dollar "bailout" under Bush, and that money vanished into a similarly unexplored wormhole (albeit accounts of bonuses and trips and CEO compensation are starting to trickle back ... fueling the outrage).

Maybe there's nothing wrong with demanding that those who benefit from the highest 10% of American salaries contribute to the Social Security fund, for the benefit of all American retirees (and persons who are disabled).

Maybe it's just ... being fair.
After all, they've benefited from their (mis)management of monies belonging to those of us railroaded into 401K accounts for years, haven't they?

If this was good policy in 2001, how is it less so today?

Kucinich co-sponsored changing Social Security disproportionately affect women

RESOLUTION: Recognizing the unique effects that proposals to reform Social Security may have on women.

* Whereas the Social Security benefit structure is of particular importance to low-earning wives and widows, with 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receiving wife's or widow's benefits;
* Whereas 3/4 of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income;
* Whereas without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%;
* Whereas women tend to live longer and tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men do;
* Whereas women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time; and
* Whereas during these years in the workforce, women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn:
* Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the unique obstacles that women face in ensuring retirement security and survivor and disability stability and the essential role that Social Security plays in guaranteeing inflation-protected financial stability for women throughout their entire old age, and it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Congress and the President should take these factors into account when considering proposals to reform the Social Security system.

Source: H.RES.128 01-H128 on May 1, 2001

I think we need to examine, carefully, what the ends of the people who want to "reform" social security really are. My bet is those ends are not better retirements for working-class men and women.

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gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Obama could end all concern with one simple sentence: "Social Security is off the table during my administration because it is not facing solvency issues any time soon."

I'm not going to link to every example, but if you've followed the threads here its clear that some people within the Obama administration--and perhaps Obama himself--have bought into the S.S. Crisis line. S.S. was off the table after the 2005 debacle, but Obama's repetition of the need for "entitlement reform" has gone a long way toward putting it back in play.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

as I'd like to remove the entitlements that have created the economic and ecological crises we now face.
I'd like to remove completely the entitlement that is corporate personhood.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

But it doesn't. "Entitlement reform" as Obama's been using it is not code for anything other than screwing over the people, even if he doesn't want to do so. He is big on saying words matter so why the hell does he play right into the GOP/conservative playbook?

As I've said before, you can't hope shit away. You have to clean it up. Obama can end all concerns people have with one sentence. Period. Saying nice things like this doesn't change what Obama is failing to do with one little sentence.

Incidentally, the vast vast majority of posters here at Corrente seem to object to the entire "entitlement" framework when it comes to S.S. and medicare precisely because it's what the GOP has spent billions trying to develop. Its a shame when we are called insane Hillary Holdouts who need to get over it when we are pointing out stuff that was so obvious to everyone as recently as 2005.