Trump’s Trojan Horse Attack On Social Security

PBS

By Nancy Altman for The Hoffington Post – As part of his tax package, Donald Trump reportedly is planning to propose replacing employee contributions to Social Security with general revenue. The proposal is a Trojan horse: It appears to be a gift, in the form of middle class tax relief, but would, if enacted, lead to the destruction of working Americans’ fundamental economic security. If Trump proposes this Trojan horse, it would be the newest shot in the ongoing Republican war against Social Security. That war has failed so far. The American people overwhelmingly support Social Security because they appreciate that it provides working families with basic economic security when wages are lost as the result of death, disability, or old age. And it does so extremely efficiently, securely, fairly, and universally.

Get Ready For All-Out Assault On Social Security By Washington In 2017

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By Dave Lindorff for This Can’t Be Happening – The first assault of the new Trump administration and Republican Congress upon Social Security has been launched. It comes in the form of release of a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, which of course these days is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Congressional Caucus. Using some financial sleight-of-hand, this CBO report pushes forward by two years the date at which its ideologically driven experts claim Social Security benefits will exhaust the Trust Fund, and since the Social Security program is required to be self-financing, the date at which, barring adjustments by Congress in the program’s funding and/or benefit payment levels, promised benefits would have to be cut by what the CBO claims will have to be 31%. Such a cut would clearly be a staggering blow to the finances and livelihoods of nation’s retirees, dependents and the disabled.

Olders Pushed Into Poverty As Feds Garnish Social Security For Student Debt

"We could have hundreds of thousands of American seniors living in poverty due to garnished Social Security benefits if this trend continues," said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Montana. (Photo: Kate Gardiner/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – ‘Hard-earned Social Security checks should not be siphoned off to pay interest and fees on student loan debt,’ says Elizabeth Warren. The federal government is garnishing Social Security checks to recoup unpaid student debt, leaving thousands of retired or disabled Americans below the poverty line and setting the stage for an even bigger problem, according to a new report. The data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), compiled at the behest of Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), showed that people over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing group with student debt, outpacing younger generations…

Attempting To Curtail Dissent Of Seniors By Stopping Social Security Checks

Ann Wright being arrested (image by Ann Wright)

By Ann Wright for Op Ed News – Governments go to pretty low tricks to silence dissent — curtailing ones that travel to neighboring countries and now stopping social security checks. First, in 2005 and 2006 it was the Bush administration putting some of us protesting Bush’s war on Iraq on the National Crime Information Data base. Yes, we had been arrested for failure to comply with orders to move from the fence in front of the White House during protests against the war on Iraq, torture at Guantanamo and other US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan or refusing to end protests by sitting in ditches at Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch.

Republican Social Security Plan: 27% Cut, Tax Breaks For Rich

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By Monique Morrissey for EPI – Donald Trump ran a campaign that rejected Republican orthodoxy on a variety of issues. He consistently and emphatically rejected the party line on slashing social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security. And yet, Congressional Republicans are ploughing ahead with plans to gut these benefits. The latest proposal, from House Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-Texas), actually slashes benefits even more than would be sufficient to close Social Security’s projected shortfall. The extra savings generated by these cuts is used to reduce taxes on higher-income households.

Newsletter - Lift The Veil; See Reality, Take Action

Vermont worker protest Now is The Time

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. It is graduation time and our youth are inheriting a dysfunctional economy while they are saddled with the highest debt ever. This situation creates a downward spiral in which new graduates delay meaningful participation in the economy, such as buying a house or starting a new business, while they try to pay off their debt. Chuck Collins advocates for one solution: higher taxes on the wealthy that are used to reduce the cost of education. This is being done in Washington State. The reality for most youth today is a very different situation than that experienced by the older generation; it is one of intergenerational injustice that must be confronted and corrected or the negative impacts will last a long time. Many people no longer believe the lies we are told to keep us from demanding solutions. A veil is being lifted as people understand how the system is rigged against them and how they need to work together to fight for a better future.

Sharing Economy Will Screw, Real Problem Retirement

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By Steven Hill for Beacon Press – Meet Howard and Jean, an older couple I know, who like so many Americans of the “greatest generation” plugged into the New Deal world that promised a secure lunch pail for the middle class. Howard is a World War II veteran who became a mechanic; when he was younger he worked on automobiles for a local Chevy dealership, and then on commercial airliners for United Airlines out at the airport. Jean was a housewife and part-time sales clerk.

National Consensus Builds For Transformational Change: Action Needed

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By Robert Weissman for Huffington Post. Americans overwhelmingly agree on a wide range of issues. They want policies to make the economy more fair and hold corporate executives accountable. They want stronger environmental and consumer protections. And they want to fix our political system so that it serves the interest of all, not just Big Money donors. These aren’t close issues for Americans; actually, what’s surprising is the degree of national consensus. The problem isn’t that Americans don’t agree. The problem is that the corporate class doesn’t agree with this agenda, and that class dominates our politics. Because this reality runs so counter to the dominant media story, it’s worth diving into the numbers to get a sense of the vast divide between conventional wisdom and empirical data.

Finland Will Pay Everyone In The Country $876 A Month

basic income by asher platts

By Briana Madden for US Uncut – To fight poverty and boost its own economy, Finland is planning to issue a check for $876 to every citizen, every month. The concept is called basic income, and the Finnish government is getting closer to finalizing its implementation this month. The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (KELA) is drafting the plan to pay every one of its 5.4 million people $876 per month, tax-free, which would replace social support programs, such as welfare and unemployment benefits. Though a proposal from KELA isn’t expected until November 2016, a pilot stage is currently planned prior to full implementation of the program.

Independence Day, Thomas Paine And Social Security

Social Security Checks

By Nancy Altman in The Huffington Post – Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks dates back to our founding. Without founding father Thomas Paine, however, July 4 might be just another summer day — no holiday, no fireworks. Thomas Paine was the brilliant writer whose 1776 essay, Common Sense, inspired his fellow colonists to turn their unrest into action and declare independence from Britain. Another founder, John Adams, once remarked, “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” Thomas Paine’s visionary writings embody the spirit of our nation. Perhaps President Franklin Roosevelt was thinking about Thomas Paine and his timeless words when he described Social Security as “a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion.”

Organize & Mobilize Now To Strengthen Social Security & Medicare

Social Security Protest at White House

With Republicans now in control of both houses of Congress, the current president already on record as supported cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and all signs pointing to the likelihood that the 2016 election could bring us either a neo-liberal or a neo-conservative president, and an increasingly Republican-dominated Congress, it’s time for an aggressive mass movement built around defending and expanding both those critical public funding programs. The first step is getting out the truth that Social Security is not broke or doomed, but simply needs to be better funded by ending the free pass given to the wealthy.

Stop The War On The Poor Campaign

MLK Spiritual Death

Stop the War on the Poor commemorates Martin Luther King Jr’s Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). In 1968, just prior to his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr condemned the Vietnam War and called for the PPC culminating in a Poor People’s March in DC in June, demanding a living wage and a guaranteed income. He said Congress had shown “hostility to the poor” by spending “military funds with alacrity andgenerosity”. Coretta Scott King spoke out against poverty and in support of welfare mothers. King learnt from welfare mothers. They had been calling for a poor people’s campaign and urging his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to oppose “anti-welfare” legislation and support their right to welfare. As a result of their leadership, King became anti-capitalist and anti-war.

Another Privatization Plan For Social Security

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For months there have been rumors that the Social Security Administration has a “secret plan” to close all of its field offices. Is it true? A little-known report commissioned by the SSA the request of Congress seems to hold the answer. The summary document outlining the plan, which is labeled “for internal use only,” is unavailable from the SSA but can be found here. Does the document, entitled “Long Term Strategic Vision and Vision Elements,” really propose shuttering all field offices? The answer, buried beneath a barrage of obfuscatory consultantese, clearly seems to be “yes.” Worse, the report also suggests that many of the SSA’s critical functions could soon be outsourced to private-sector partners and contractors. Here are five insights from this austerity-minded outline.

The People Are With Us

Illegitimate government black border

It is a persistent belief among many in the political and media establishments that the United States is a “center-right nation” which finds progressives to be far too liberal for mainstream positions of power. If you look purely at electoral outcomes, those who assert this appear to have a fairly strong point. The last several decades of federal politics have been dominated by center-right policies and truly left wing politicians have been largely marginalized (ex. Bernie Sanders). Even Clinton and Obama—the last two Democratic presidents who, theoretically, should be leftists—are corporate-friendly moderates who have triangulated during negotiations with Republicans to pass center-right policy compromises (ex. Obama’s Heritage Foundation inspired ACAor the Clinton Defense of Marriage Act compromise). While electoral results support the idea of a center-right USA, looking beyond electoral politics—which involve a mixture of policy choices, party politics, fundraising, and propaganda—and focusing purely upon raw policy preferences, leaves us with an entirely different picture — the people are progressive and leaning left on almost all critical issues.

The Battle For Social Security Is Not Over

Social Security Expand It protest

Progressive organizersand blue-leaning media have been declaring victory because the Obama White House has dropped its push for using a new cost-of-living formula that would cut into future increases in monthly Social Security benefits. Articles such this detailed retelling from In These Times proclaim that Social Security was “saved,” when in fact, the formula for future Social Security benefits is unchanged, and is still insufficient for the retiring baby boom generation. Meanwhile, glee over the White House’s reversal eclipses the harsh truth that Obama’s proposed 2015 budget would raise out-of-pocket costs for 50 million seniors—saving the government $60 billion—starting in 2018 by increasing Medicare deductibles, co-pays and premiums, and adding a surcharge if people buy supplemental insurance coverage.