Sunday, March 10, 2013

Liberals prepare to battle President Obama over proposal to curb Social Security benefits.

Courtesy of The Hill:  

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other liberals in Congress are ratcheting up pressure on President Obama to back away from a proposal to curb the growth of Social Security benefits. 

Sanders and other liberals are concerned Obama may strike a deficit-reduction deal with Republicans that would reduce Social Security benefits by adopting a less generous way of adjusting benefits for inflation. 

Obama has previously said he would consider using a formula known as chain-Consumer Price Index that would lower the growth of entitlements by slowing benefit increases for inflation. 

Sanders and other liberals are worried Obama will renew that offer in new deficit-reduction talks. Obama had dinner with 12 Senate Republicans Wednesday evening to discuss the path forward on a grand bargain to reduce the deficit, and senators in attendance said entitlements were discussed. 

I think for a lot of us on the outside looking in it may seem reasonable for the President to offer cuts to  some of the social programs in exchange for tax increases, but as Bernie Sanders explains it this conversation should NOT include Social Security:  

“Social Security is facing an unprecedented attack from those who either want to privatize it completely or who want to make substantial cuts,” said Sanders at a press conference. “The argument being used to cut Social Security is that because we have a significant deficit problem and a $16.6 trillion national debt, we just can’t afford to maintain Social Security benefits. 

“This argument is false. Social Security, because it is funded by the payroll tax, not the U.S. Treasury, has not contributed one nickel to our deficit,” he said. 

Sanders estimates switching to a chained-CPI formula for determining benefits for Social Security would result in the average 65 year old living on about $15,000 a year receiving $650 less each year when they turn 75 and $1,000 less a year when they turn 85. 

Since the program adds nothing to the debt than by all rights it should be left out of ANY negotiations that we have to reduce that debt. Right?

I often find myself cautious when criticizing the President since it has become obvious time and time again that he is playing a long game, and that makes it hard to see the eventual outcome of his strategy.

However I remember that after that dinner the Obama treated some Senate Republicans to, reports were that they were surprised to learn that the President HAD offered chained CPI's, which validates the concerns of these Liberals.

I want to trust my President but this really bothers me. So I certainly hope that he has some plan for protecting Social Security, and that this is simply another feint designed to pull the Republicans off balance while he negotiates a much better deal before they can figure out what he is up to.


  1. Ken Swiatek3:20 AM

    I am a retired Social Security Administration Field Office Manager and Program Analyst. I have created a progressive Social Security solvency plan which is called “The Balanced, Equitable, Solvent, Tested (BEST) Social Security Modernization (Mod) Plan.”

    The “Plan” makes use of progressivity by lowering payroll tax rates for low wage earners and raising it for higher wage earners. It does not increase the retirement age, and does not lower retirement benefits. It also does not eliminate the wage cap on payroll taxes.

    Instead, the “Plan” makes the Social Security trust funds solvent by infusing it with new, additional sources of revenue. These sources were considered by the authors of the original 1935 Social Security Act, but were temporarily, but consciously and specifically, excluded in Section 211 of the Social Security Act during its initial phase-in process. It is likely that they were intended to be added later, similarly to other subsequent changes that were added to the Social Security Act.

    These include short term capital gains and real estate rental income. Once these sources of income are subject to the Social Security payroll or self-employment tax they will also be subject to the 1.45% Medicare tax and the regular work related income income-tax rates that other working citizens are required to pay. During the last several decades, the way Americans “work” and earn money has changed drastically. It’s time to similarly bring the Social Security Act into the 21ST century and for Social Security to collect those payroll and self employment taxes from these earnings and deposit them into the Social Security Trust Funds.

    Please contact me to request the BEST Social Security MOD Plan Factsheet and with any questions you may have. Thank you.

    Ken Swiatek
    Williamstown, MA

    1. Anonymous7:47 AM

      I sure hope you email or contact the POTUS with your plan.
      I have heard "Means" testing also bantered around, Means testing would mean that people like JOHN MCCAIN couldn't collect Social security.
      Meanwhile Marco Rubio is vowing to "Shut down the gov. over Obamacare"!
      I suggest we all get off our asses and email him, no matter where you live he is a US Senator.
      I have emailed him and told him to ditch his HC and other "Entitlements" that he enjoys as a Senator or he looks hypocritical, and putting people before a retarded mythology called conservatism. Sen Cruz (2nd internet troll) is tight with MR so email him also. These Senators have to hear from more than just their RW mouthpieces. Please email them. It takes just a min to goggle them and shoot a comment their way.

    2. Anonymous10:49 AM

      I agree that SS should not be paid to people that are millionaires or billionaires. Most in the U.S. Congress are 'at least' millionaires and could care less about regular folks.

      Get the Republicans out of office, get new blood in back there, establish length of time people can serve, don't allow them to become millionaires, put them on insurance programs like the rest of us.

  2. Anonymous3:40 AM

    My husband is a chemical engineer with a 37 year career. We will not ever NEED SS, and will most likely use those checks as donations to charity when the time comes. However, my mother lives exclusively on SS. She worked until she was 70, but never had a retirement account at any of her jobs. She is totally healthy, never visits the doctor, and is 82. At some point, she will need end of life care, and Meicaid will be in play then. But shouldn't she be able, after raising six kids (3 liberals and 3 crazies) be able to splurge occasionally and not worry about paying the rent? I truly think these GOPers are so wealthy, as are their parents, that thye have no idea how many people rely on their EARNED SS benefits for their livelihood. And it is NOT part of the deficit, so why cut it? IF we ended the payroll cap, it would be self-sufficient forever.

    1. Anonymous7:54 AM

      @3:40 Yes she should. These assholes get 'entitlements' and won't tax the rich but they squeeze the life out of SS or SSDI peeps.

      As above I urge you all to write all elected and tell them what you think.

      Especially the RW ones. They need to hear from more than just the RW mouthpieces like palin or sycophants. You notice most of the Senators and RW'rs who are against "Obamacare" are mostly young. 20's 30's and ill health hasn't got to them yet. Even tho your mom is pretty healthy she might want to buy a new top or something nice instead of paying all out for RENT. These RW don't care. That's why we need to email them as well as our Dem Senators.

    2. Anonymous10:46 AM

      I'm retired - living on earned SS after having worked for 48 years! It would be difficult to not have it increase annually (trust me, it either does not increase or increases very little) to keep up (sort of!) w/inflation.

      There are retired folks in worse shape than me and those are the ones I worry about.

      I don't feel that SS is an entitlement. I earned it and paid for it! I'm not taking a damned thing from the government that I shouldn't be. Thank God, I'm relatively healthy!

  3. Anonymous5:56 AM

    It is NOT a feint, Gryphen. The President wants chained CPI. Please just accept that as a fact, because it is, just as it's a fact his DOJ will go vociferously after medical marijuana users and government whistleblowers, while giving criminal bankers a slap on the wrist. Obama may not be as bad as Romney in some ways, but in many ways he is no different.

  4. Anonymous6:04 AM

    Social Security is a beloved national socialist program, everyone wants it, even the ultra-wealthy have the bad taste to collect on it.

    You know who should be rearin her great big boney head for this? Sarah Palin.

    Hmmmmm rilly? Because it sounds suspiciously like Alaska's longevity bonus program, $250 a month for every Sourdough in the State just for living a long life in the Last Frontier. Governor Frank Murkowski cut it, and populist Sarah Palin came along and promised to buy their favor with State dollars:

    The candidates were asked in a debate on Aug. 17, 2006, by a rural resident via video whether they would restore a longevity bonus for senior citizens, a payment intended to keep them from leaving the state.

    “No,” Mr. Murkowski said gruffly. John Binkley, a third candidate, said yes. Ms. Palin’s response was filled with emotion.

    “Yes, our precious, precious elders,” she said, looking into the camera. “For those who were prematurely lopped off, I am so sorry that that has happened to you.”

    1. @6:04AM:
      "Senior Benefits" is what the plan is called.
      The monthly benefit is $125.00, $175.00 or $250.00 each month depending on ones monthly income.

  5. Chain-Consumer Price Index assumes that SS recipients are eating well - steak and potatoes - but does not consider that those same SS recipients have already opened their first can of dog/cat food to make their (taxed) benefits go further. After the COLAs have been reduced, where will those SS beneficiaries cut next? What food source will sustain them after they can no longer afford dog/cat food? Are we so cruel a nation to condemn our elders to this in their "golden" years? As my mother-in-law (who lived to be 100) said: The Golden Years have come at last, The Golden Years can kiss my ass!

    1. Anonymous8:02 AM

      Gra*ma Banana7:13 AM
      Here, Here!!!
      Gama, please , please write!!! Email all of them!
      What you said is 100% right on!
      They won't know unless we tell them.
      Lets face it. America only cares about the rich.
      Oh and fetuses.
      Once your born, its fuck you, work until you die and hope you die early. :( :(

    2. I have written POTUS and many other lawmakers but there needs to be a concerted push from many more concerned citizens, especially the young, because youth doesn't last forever and one day EVERYONE will be either old or dead or wish they were dead because living in poverty sucks!

  6. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Welcome to the second term of 'your president'.

    Some of those things that he 'tried' to do in his first term but just couldn't seem to get done; maybe he wasn't really so into it after all. As far as dreams come true in the second term, don't hold your breath any longer because it's 'Grand Bargain' time.

    Some of those things that you thought only republicans were going to jam up the azz of America; get ready to have them jammed up by a bipartisan 'grand Bargain' orchestrated by 'your president' and 'your democratic party.' Heh, "It's morning again in America."

    Don't take it as an insult that you the blog operator are just now realizing you are bent over and 'your president' has your back...or something like that. People have been warning you for years that this was coming from 'your president'. Maybe you were slightly mislead, but after all you and America were fooled by the best marketing campaign since Joe McCarthy's Red Scare.

    There is a reason Mr. Grand Bargain's first campaign was was purchased with the help of wall street and the private equity investors. These people always invest looking forward. 'Your president' is the man of billionaire Pete Peterson and the rest of the 'Catfood Commission.' He always has been.

    'Your president' and his friends have spent four years with their lube and toys getting ready to invite America to their 'Grand Bargain.' GETTING BEHIND the American people? That's an equal opportunity thing, both parties are good at it. It's time to party! Grab 'em and spread 'em.

    BWAHAHAH Won't get Fooled Again

  7. Anonymous11:10 AM

    When I watched Obama's victory speech after winning the election, there was a point in it - I think it was when he spoke about difficult compromises - that I said to myself, "he's going to put Social Security on the block". I'm increasingly convinced that Obama will do it; he will begin gutting Social Security. I'd like to think I'm wrong but I don't think I will be.

  8. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Gryphen said....

    "I want to trust my President but this really bothers me. So I certainly hope that he has some plan for protecting Social Security, and that this is simply another feint designed to pull the Republicans off balance while he negotiates a much better deal before they can figure out what he is up to."

    When are going to wake up Gryphen and realize Obama is part of the "system"? He's not making feints to fool the Republicans. He's making feints to fool the fools like you who believe there's a nickle's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to turning the United States into a Banana Republic.

    Obama is just continuing the policies started by Bush, including the degradation of the Constitution. He's continued Bush's wars, amped up drone strikes, continued Bush's bailout (have any bankers been prosecuted for the financial meltdown they helped cause?). He's done nothing to bring home American jobs that have been sent overseas. (that's where our economy went)

    He's using social issues which people like you support to distract you from the fact that big issues aren't being fixed. Just like the Republicans did under Bush.

    Until you figure that out, you're part of the problem.

  9. Anonymous6:28 PM

    2:17 nailed it!


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