Social Security

Weak Democrats vs. Strong Progressives Open Thread

Representative Alan Grayson:

There are no more popular government programs than Social Security and Medicare, and frankly, for any democrat, it should be a no brainer to say, 'These are the programs that I must support, that I must protect with every breath I have while I'm in office.'

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Saturday May 11, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki

The issues discussed today were the death penalty, Innocence project, austerity, Social Security, and taxes. Much better than last week. It was issues based instead of Congress baseball card talk. #Uppers was pretty good today.

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The Reinhart and Rogoff Errors Discredit the Obama Administration and Austerity

Yes they do. I have heard a statement that bugs me a lot lately and that statement is that this was the go to analysis for the Republicans as if Democrats have never referred to it in any way. I'm here to say that is complete BS and we know this now. The Sequester created by the WH and passed in a bipartisan way, was based on Reinhart and Rogoff's BS analysis about scary scary long term debt to GDP ratios like their offer to cut Social Security.

So let's stop pretending this is only coming from Republicans, especially with the Obama administration using deficit lies and errors to come after Social Security. Reinhart and Rogoff's complete methodology was BS and neither of them understand the nuanced difference between countries with a sovereign currency; fixed exchange rates and floating exchange rates; gold standard countries and those with a fiat currency and how that relates to reserve banking at the Fed and our private current account and trade balance within. So therefore it skews the mean and amounts to garbage methodology even if done correctly.

I love How Mike Norman puts it. It kind of reminds me of how I would say it; those of you that are familiar with my work.

There's a solid account tying the Obama administration directly to the work of Reinhart and Rogoff. You will learn more about this below the fold.

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'Fixing' Social Security in One Step: Fix the Economy.

So, the Serious People in The Village, run clear across the ideological spectrum from hard right to center right, are telling us that even if we do not like the Social Security benefit cuts that they propose ...

... and among the Serious People the only difference is how deep they want to cut benefits and whether they want to cover up the fact that they are cutting benefits under verbiage that they would prefer to be opaque but which is all too transparent ...

... but we have to do it because otherwise the trust fund will be exhausted in the late 2030's.

Is this from a correctly functioning crystal ball? They talk as if it is, but at the same time there is no secret that these are simply projections. These projections are projecting forward from the way we are running our economy at present. So change the rules of the game, we change the projection.

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They’re Making Love to the Third Rail: What Are We Gonna Do About It?

Joe Firestone, the author of this excellent piece and many others, has given me permission to reproduce this post in its entirety for the benefit of the VOTS community.

OK, the President has officially proposed the “chained CPI” cut to Social Security in opposition to what the heavy majority of American voters want him to do and in contradiction with promises he and Joe Biden made during their re-election campaign. So, what punishment should we exact from this Administration, and what should we do to prevent cuts from happening in addition to signing petitions, and calling Representatives and Senators?

Immediate Punishment for Lying

President Obama and Vice President Biden clearly lied to our faces about what they would do when the Republicans came for Social Security if they were re-elected. I know politicians lie frequently during campaigns. But, I think that if we want to make them accountable, then we need to develop zero tolerance for that. A politician’s word has to become his/her bond; or he/she must be defeated as soon as we can make it possible. That has to become both the perception of politicians and the reality of how our system operates, if we’re going to save our democracy.

Accordingly, I propose that a Democratic Congressperson introduce a bill of impeachment in the House for this President as soon as possible. The grounds for impeachment could include failure to prosecute the torturers from the Bush Administration, failure to prosecute the control frauds in the FIRE sector, as well as the charge that the President lied to the American people about his intentions on SS policy in the last election campaign, in order to deceive us into re-electing him. I think that’s fraud.

It's essential that a Democratic Congressperson introduce the bill of impeachment. Otherwise, the first step in making it clear that the party has repudiated its leadership on the safety net issue will not be clearly made. Of course, the more Democrats who sign onto the bill, the more the point of repudiation will be made. If a majority of Democrats can come together to this, then candidates of the Party will be free to run against the President on the chained CPI in 2014.

There’s certainly a reasonable chance of indictment in the House and conviction in the Senate for failing to prosecute in the first two areas mentioned, provided that the public can mount an impeachment movement (a long shot, certainly). But whether or not the President could ever be convicted in the third area of lying about SS is less important than that the issue be vetted in public at length. We need to have a debate about politicians lying to the public in order to get elected. An impeachment forum is probably the only vehicle that can teach them a sufficiently searing lesson.

Even though the Vice President guaranteed no cuts to SS even more strongly than the President, I don’t propose that he be impeached. The reason is that the fish rots from its head, and that the disposition to mess with SS surely comes from the President, completely apart from whether or not Joe Biden was lying when he delivered his flat-out guarantee, or was just acting as a tool for his boss.

Yes, yes, I know. I’m not a Very Serious Person (VSP) for making this proposal. It has no chance to pass, and little chance of getting anywhere in Congress unless people become so angry that a real movement for impeachment begins. So why do it?

I say do it to express the anger of the base. And do it to introduce the possibility of impeachment. And do it to make the point that the President and the Democratic Party are doing things that the base will never accept. The issue of “chained CPI” will be an issue of betrayal to the base for years to come, unless it fails to pass, and even then it will leave a legacy of distrust, unless the Party resists this President. And, if it does pass, then, eventually, either it will be replaced by the CPI – E (CPI for the elderly), or the Democratic Party will be replaced by another that will take this up as a cause.

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Chronic Tonic at VOTS- Superlative? Nay! Nay!

As most of you know, I am on SSDI, and I spent a good portion of the day yesterday debating with somebody who was either being deliberately disingenuous or possibly just moronic.  I kind of doubt anybody is quite that stupid, though. This person just continually insisted that the  "superlative" CPI the president is proposing is not a cut. I beg to differ. Oh, and so does anybody with a lick of sense and a rudimentary understanding of math.

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Senator Dick Durbin certainly has some nerve.

"Durbin said he is personally open to further privatization of Medicare as long a private insurers are forced to “play by the rules” that Medicare uses to lower costs, and that he realizes some of his liberal friends “are not happy” with his position.

If Obama backs cuts to entitlements, Durbin believes enough Democrats would support the president to get a bill through Congress.

“If a president comes up with a reasonable approach which ends up giving years of solvency to Medicare. ... I think that many Democrats will come around to that position,” he said. Obama’s imprint on the proposal would shield many members from grassroots anger, he said."

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Protecting Social Security from Inaccurate Accounting with an Agenda

I was asked to contribute to the Daily Kos Social Security blogathon today to draw attention to the neoliberal attack on it. I hope you visit and like my contribution.

I have referenced this before, but there hasn't really been enough of a movement on the this issue, and it's an important one. It's specifically important right now when Washington DC is completely stuck on stupid in a self created crisis. This crisis started in 2010 when the debt ceiling was not secured in the Bush tax cut deal with Republicans by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Many of us predicted it would lead to the debt ceiling debacle in 2011 which in turn led to the fiscal cliff negotiations and the sequester that is now a reality.

However, it could end anytime with House Democratic Representative John Conyer's bill to just repeal the sequester; that is, if he got proper support. I think that needs to be a goal along with forever protecting Social Security from neoliberal economics and the politicians that support it. After all, this sequester was a conscious bipartisan decision on their part to put Social Security in danger now that a 130 billion net cut within the chained(superlative) CPI is now on the White House's website in its proposal to stand in place of the sequester.

What we are hearing to justify it are not only exaggerations and lies about Social Security being unsustainable, those lies are based on inaccurate accounting standards that have pervaded our entire government; the CBO, and yes, even the Social Security Trustees Board itself at times over the years. Let's face it; the Social Security Trustees Board has a broad history of being overly pessimistic.

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Senator Bernie Sanders - Daily News

Social Security: "Senate vote for an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders put the Senate on record against cutting Social Security and disabled veterans benefits..."

Global Warming: "Senate liberals haven't given up on forcing votes on steps that would take on greenhouse gases directly..."

Older Americans: "Sen. Sanders “scored a modest — if largely symbolic — victory for older Americans as the Senate pulled an all-nighter last Friday to debate and vote on budget amendments..."

USPS: "Legislation to fund the government through Sept. 30 included a provision requiring the United States Postal Service to maintain six-day delivery..."

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Yes, the Sequester is President Obama's Fault. These are facts.

This won't be FP material everywhere, but it's the truth. That is, unless one just hasn't paid attention to the events and Congressional deals facilitated by this administration in response to said events that led up to the sequester. If one did pay attention, this conclusion is undeniable. The sequester was basically an invention of Gene Sperling and Jack Lew.

In case we all need a refresher, Gene Sperling was and still is the Director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. In case the denial is too thick with regard to Jack Lew, Jack Lew was head of Obama's Office of Management and Budget when the first grand betrayal was written only to be fall apart by John Boehner's doing in 2011. For that, and his time on Wall St helping Citigroup as OCC crash our economy while denying that deregulation was a problem, he is insultingly being rewarded with a post as our next Treasury Secretary.

These are the people that were hired by and work in the Obama administration that wrote the damn Sequester! It's pretty hard to deny, but some will try.

This was during the debt ceiling debacle many of us warned about but were ignored in favor of 11th dimensional chess. In reality, this is a vile violent rigged chess game that makes seniors starve to death through lack of meals on wheels. This form of deficit terrorism also threatens many of my friends and their relatives through layoffs and furloughs while slowing all essential government operations down.

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