Robert Reich: Don’t accept Obama’s chained CPI

The chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt most seniors—it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president. If Obama really wanted to strengthen Social Security, he would insist the wealthy pay their fair share by lifting the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes. In addition, he would demand a raise in the minimum wage to at least $11, a move that would relieve a lot of economic suffering and at the same time fund Social Security at a higher rate.

Robert Reich’s compelling 2 minute video explains how chained CPI is not a Republican idea, it’s an Obama idea. It’s an idea designed to please right-wing billionaires like Pete Peterson who for decades have worked tirelessly to kill social safety nets—if not outright, than by a million cuts.

Before we get to Robert Reich’s video, a little background on Obama’s relationship to Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson from [boldface my emphasis]:

Peterson and his foundation had ties to The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission after its co-chairs, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson and Morgan Stanley board member Erskine Bowles. The commission was initiated by President Barack Obama via Executive Order on February 18, 2010. According to its website, the commission was charged with proposing recommendations designed to balance the budget by 2015.

At the launch of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, it was announced that the commission would be “partnering with outside groups,” such as the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s America Speaks initiative. The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen, in a November 2010 story titled “Many Deficit Commission Staffers Paid by Outside Groups,” revealed that two members of the Simpson-Bowles Commission worked for Peterson-funded organizations. One of them was Ed Lorezen, who worked as the Senior Policy Advisor to the CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and formerly as the Concord Coalition’s policy director from 2005-2007.The other was Marc Goldwein, whose salary was paid for by the Peterson-funded New America Foundation’s Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), where he is a Senior Policy Analyst.

Other commission members included [Campaign to] Fix the Debt leaders David Cote, Alice Rivlin, and then-Senator Judd Gregg, as well as Representative Paul Ryan, whose proposed 2013 budget, the so-called “Path to Prosperity,” would implement massive cuts in social safety net program spending while slashing the top tax rate for corporations and individuals from 35 percent to 25 percent.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest astroturf organization started by Pete Peterson. It’s purpose is to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation’s “debt problem.” This preamble to Reich’s video is to point out and underscore that Obama hand-picked the members of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. His close relationship with Peterson and his approval of his agenda was heavily reflected in those choices.

As poll after poll shows, no one, no matter what their party affiliation, wants Social Security benefits cut except the Peterson’s of the world and their minions who do their bidding in Washington, DC. As Reich says—dial up the White House, and your congressman and senator and just say no—loud and clear—to any cuts in Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare.