As Senator Bernie Sanders has warned, “Social Security faces an unprecedented attack from Wall Street, the Republican Party and a few Democrats. If the American people are not prepared to fight back, the dismantling of Social Security could begin in the very near future.”
What exactly does the 99 Percent need to know to defend Social Security against the Wall Street One Percenters who want to profit by destroying it?
First, know our adversaries. Listen closely to the corporate-funded Heritage Foundation, headed by Tea Party hero and former Senator Jim DeMint. They want to turn part of our retirement and disability savings over to the same Wall Street firms that crashed our economy.
Heritage’s Social Security plan would
We have experienced a change in attitude across the country, demonstrated by many of the Tea Party politicians losing their seats and more progressive Democrats winning seats. But we need to stay vigilant. The end of the year did not bring major tax increases for working people and spending cuts, but everything could change in the coming months. The fight hasn’t ended.
I don’t mind the Bush tax cuts expiring for everyone if that is what it takes for the richest One Percent to start contributing more to our economy. But I strongly disagree with the cutting of essential benefits, especially Social Security, Medicare and Medi-Cal. I also reject the notion that there must be a “balanced approach”
(The following post first appeared on Unionosity and is republished with permission.)
A group of 200 CEOs known as the Business Roundtable made some unsurprising recommendations for debt reduction [Wednesday], suggesting cutting entitlement programs and pushing the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security to 70. The recommendations, which the group plans to make to both Congress and the President, also resist any increased Social Security taxation on wealthy Americans.
The group would push the age at which full Social Security benefits are paid to 70 for those now aged 54 and under. Currently, the age for collecting full benefits depends on year of birth. Someone born between 1946 and 1953 can take full benefits at age 66. That will rise to age 67 for individuals born in 1960 or after.
The group is explicit in its goals to use the debt ceiling debate as an impetus to push radical policy initiatives.
One of the proposals floated for months in the fiscal bluff debate in Washington, D.C., is a change to the formula used to measure inflation for Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) called the “chained” CPI. Let’s be clear: This is a benefit cut. These COLAs make sure seniors’ income keeps pace with the rising costs of housing and food. The “chained” CPI would cut future Social Security benefits by as much as $2,432 for someone who is 17 years old today. Studies from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) show that not only is the “chained” CPI a benefit cut, it eventually will lead to higher taxes for most working people.
For instance, CEPR estimated that the change to the “chained” CPI would lead to a cut in benefits of three percent after 10 years, six percent after 20 years and nine percent after 30 years.
That didn’t last nearly as long as I had hoped. I put on my Obama baseball cap – the one I picked up from a street vendor walking to the inauguration four years ago – a few weeks before the November election. I’ve worn it every day since, to both celebrate his victory and cheer on the president for keeping to a progressive promise in the fiscal negotiations. Part of that promise was telling the Des Moines Register that Social Security benefits should not be cut. But it looks like my cap is going back on the shelf if reports that Obama is willing to cut Social Security benefits prove to be true.
There are three things to keep in mind about the president agreeing to cuts in Social Security benefits.