Obama ‘To Drive Stake Thru Heart of New Deal’ (Social Security!)
Here are some quoted excerpts in response to Obama’s determination to cut Social Security:
Michael Lind in “How Progressives Blew the Social Security Argument”:
President Obama reportedly is unveiling a budget using the chained CPI inflation measure to cheat elderly Americans out of the benefits they were promised.
... the perversity of the current debate about Social Security. The tax-favored private components of America’s mixed private-public retirement system — programs like employer pensions, 401Ks and IRAs — are inefficient, volatile and subject to manipulation by overcompensated, fee-extracting money managers.
In contrast, the Social Security program is simple and efficient, and has low overhead costs.
While cutting Social Security makes no sense at all in terms of economics or public policy, it makes excellent sense in terms of the selfish class interests of the super-rich. .... Social Security’s contribution to the retirement income of the rich is negligible, while the top 20 percent receives around 80 percent of the income from tax-favored private retirement savings accounts like 401Ks. .... To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, Social Security is for the little people.
Elite discourse on this subject is radically at odds with public opinion. According to a February 2013 Pew poll, only 10 percent of Americans want to cut Social Security while 41 percent want to increase Social Security benefits..
And Social Security is not very generous, by international standards. In the Natixis Global Retirement Index, the U.S. ranks 19th — behind countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The gross replacement rate for the average earner (how much pre-retirement income is replaced by public or publicly mandated benefits) is only around 40 percent, while the average in the European Union is more than 60 percent.
Robert Naiman in “#ChainedCPI? For Every Social Security Judas, a Primary Challenge””
The moment of truth has arrived. According to press reports, President Obama has openly embraced cutting Social Security and veterans benefits by imposing the "chained CPI" cut on cost of living increases, which is like signing in blood the idea that the federal government's priorities should be owned by the 1% rather than by the 99%.
The war in Afghanistan will continue, the boondoggle F-35 "Bankrupter" fighter plane will continue, the $83 billion annual taxpayer subsidy to the "too big to fail" banks will continue, but the earned benefits of America's working families, including disabled veterans and their survivors, will be cut if President Obama has his way.
The only thing that can stop President Obama from cutting Social Security now is Congress. Therefore, the only thing that can stop President Obama from cutting Social Security now is public pressure on Congress to stand up to Obama and say no....
If there is no "grand bargain," then under the sequester, the Pentagon budget will be cut and Social Security benefits will be protected. If there is a "grand bargain" - a "Grand Betrayal" - Social Security benefits will be cut and the Pentagon budget will be protected.
Thus, to be only a little bit crude, the "grand bargain" is about cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon budget.
Raising taxes on the 1% as part of a deal to cut Social Security and veterans' benefits and protect the Pentagon budget for wars and useless military junk is a bad deal for the 99%.
In general, liberals who follow budget issues know this. We are at a fork in the road: one branch of the fork leads to cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon budget and the other branch of the fork leads to cutting the Pentagon budget while protecting Social Security.
And therefore, if the chained CPI cut goes through, it's going to do more than unjustly cut the earned benefits of seniors and disabled veterans. It's going to be a body blow to the idea that we live in a democracy where the majority rules.
Of course everyone should sign every petition, send every letter, make every phone call, contact every newspaper, attend every demonstration.
Digby in “It’s Official: A Democratic President Proposes to Cut Social Security”
Mark this day. For the first time in history, a Democratic president has officially proposed to cut the Democratic Party’s signature New Deal program, Social Security:
I’m going to quote Mike Lux here:
"If Obama includes it in his budget, he is claiming this as a policy idea he supports before he even starts negotiations with the Republicans. This is terrible policy and terrible politics at the same time. ... he will alienate senior citizens and the families who worried about taking care of them, he will split his political party down the middle, and– by being the first one to formally propose cuts to Social Security– he will hand Republicans a big political weapon to hurt Democrats in 2014.
"I understand the president has political reasons he wants to do this. He wants to look like the most reasonable guy in the room, and he wants the Republicans to look like they are the extremists who won’t compromise....
"But, folks, this is rotten public policy, and all those political reasons pale in comparison to the damage he is doing here. With the demise or curtailment of most pensions, the drop in family wealth due to the collapse of the housing sector in 2008, the big unemployment numbers cutting into many families’ life savings, the flattening or decrease of wages for most workers, and the inflation in many essentials among those who are working driving down the ability to save for retirement, this is the absolute last time we should be looking at cutting incomes for retirees.
"Most Americans, over 80 percent in polls I have seen, understand that cutting Social Security benefits is a terrible idea, and I believe that if that is what happens people will be angry. But even if the politics were not on our side, this is a moral issue pure and simple."
And call your Senators starting today....
Meanwhile prepare for a barrage of savvy, world weary commentary from your fellow liberals telling you that this is no big thing and that Democrats will not suffer even a tiny bit if they vote for a common sense proposal like this one. You will be shushed and told to calm down and take a chill pill. In other words, you will be gaslighted by fellow liberals who are embarrassed that you aren’t being coolly accepting of something that is completely unacceptable. ...
Mark Karlin in "Obama allegedly to cutback social security and medicare in new budget accepts gop austerity cat food war on the unwealthy":
It's back to the Simpson-Bowles cat food for the elderly and poor budget as far as the White House is concerned, ....
This amidst a historical moment when income redistribution and asset ownership disparities have reached record levels in the US. But Obama appears to have an aversion to discussing or rectifying a morally unacceptable imbalance in wealth in America.
In return, Obama will get some crumbs of revenue enhancement, ...
Cutting domestic programs such as pensions and unemployment?
In its defense, the White House claims that it is proposing increased infrastructure investment (too little) and more taxes on the wealthy (not a whole lot more).
Meanwhile the elderly on a pittance of Social Security will have imposed on them the dreaded chained CPI ...
But history will judge him – and the seniors, unemployed, and poor who watch helplessly -- as President Obama thrusts a stake through the heart of the New Deal, while perpetuating a system of systemic oligarchy.
“I pledge that I will support a primary challenge to any Representative or Senator who supports cutting Social Security and veterans benefits by imposing the "chained CPI" cut.” To be delivered to: The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama
Please give your U.S. senators a call to demand Social Security BE PROTECTED!! Here are two toll-free numbers to the Congressional switchboard. 1-866-338-1015, 1-877-210-5351.
[cross-posted at open salon]