This was, of course, entirely predictable. President Obama is the only elected official in Washington to officially propose a cut in Social Security. Moral implications aside, not even Paul Ryan was so politically clueless as to include Social Security cuts in his budget. Here’s what Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) chairman of the NRCC had to say about Obama’s budget:
Well, I thought it very intriguing in that the budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. And we haven’t seen all the detail yet, and we’ll look at it, but I’ll tell you, when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine, certainly, and around the country. I think he’s going to have a lot of pushback from some of the major senior organizations on this and Republicans, as well.
So there you have it. Thanks to Obama, Republicans—who couldn’t care less about the elderly, the disabled, orphans, widows and veterans—are now defenders and saviors of Social Security. They can’t wait until 2014 when, whether it passes or not, they will hang chained CPI around every Democrat’s neck.
So, Democrats, if you want to keep your job, I would counsel you to stand up, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alan Grayson, and other progressives, and openly rebel against the corporate owned, neoliberal wing of your party. Obama doesn’t have to run again, but you may want to. If you vote for chained CPI, and it passes, you will be facing constituents trying to live on SS checks with a smaller (already inadequate) cost of living increase. 50 million people in this country rely on Social Security, so, good luck with that. Unless your repudiation of this politically stupid and morally bankrupt idea is clear and unequivocal, your political future, as well as the future of the Democratic Party, is in jeopardy.
If you want to do something constructive, start beating the drum loudly for eliminating in the cap on payroll tax. Currently, the payroll tax that funds Social Security is capped at $113,700. Doing away with the cap would eliminate the inequity of the payroll tax and guarantee the solvency of Social Security for seventy-five years. No need to raise the retirement age or cut cost of living raises or benefits.
A recent poll by the National Academy of Social Insurance shows that almost 70% of Americans support raising the cap on payroll taxes, and raising the payroll tax rate, in order to increase Social Security benefits. So, Democrats, who do you represent? the people who voted you into office, or the banks and corporations who funded your campaigns?