Is Social Security Safe For Now?

It looks like Progressives may be able to claim a victory. According to the Associated Press, “The White House says President Obama's upcoming budget proposal will not include his past offer to accept lowered cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs.” In other words, the next budget won't include so-called “Chained CPI.” That cost-of-living calculation would have lowered Social Security benefits by an averaging $70 dollars a month, or about 6.5 percent over 20 years.

If it was enacted by Congress and the President, it would have been a huge cut to seniors, veterans, and the disabled. Ever since President Obama offered chained CPI in exchange for higher taxes on the rich, Progressives have been fighting hard to protect Social Security. They've argued that instead of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and disabled, we should lift the cap on Social Security taxes and close corporate loopholes that cost us billions. If this AP report is true, Progressives should claim this victory, and keep fighting to make the rich pay their fair share.


Gator Girl 10 years 17 weeks ago

So Social Security is same for now? Stand by because this is just the first round and could change at any time. Just because it has apparently (?) been taken off of the table right now does not mean that it could not rear its ugly head again in the near future.

We are told too many things which have started out to be a good thing only to have someone slip a change into some bill/legislation during a late night session and all of a sudden - we are toast. Am I happy about this news? Yes - for now! Do I trust it will remain this way and not be offered up for sacrifice at a later date? Not on your life.

wallbanger2's picture
wallbanger2 10 years 17 weeks ago

Let's do more like this. The wealthy should pay their share and be happy to do so, it's this country that gave them the opportunity to accumulate wealth along with the sweat of the brow of working people. Step Up!!!!!!!!!!

Willie W's picture
Willie W 10 years 17 weeks ago

Now that social security is "out of the box", it will never be safe again.

Carl in Minnetonka's picture
Carl in Minnetonka 10 years 17 weeks ago

Social Security never made it into the Lock Box.

One thing that needs to get out of the box is XL Energy Pipeline is the Keystone to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. What else is going to fuel those new factories and jobs overseas.

We have always had a global economy. We have not always had a global stock exchange (1950's) now coupled with corporate tax law changes (i.e., Bush lowering the 30 percent tax on overseas profits to 2 percent) and ever more trade agreements.

Lone Tree Oil is suing Canada under NAFTA for not allowing it (because of Provincial law and regulations) to drill (frack) under the St. Lawrence. This is now in the court in Ottawa.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership establishes its own court to handle internation/corporate disputes. For example, the Polymet Mine proposal in Northern Minnesota would not be having public hearings. The Chilean mining company, Polymet, would simply site the phonebook thick Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and their strip mining could go on next to Boundary Waters unimpeded by U.S. Law, the EPA and certainly Minnesota law.

A county in Nebraska halting a pipeline? Never again with the TPP.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 17 weeks ago

I wouldn't call it a victory, we've staved off another defeat for now. We've been playing defense for a LONG time. Even when we have a MAJORITY we're playing defense.

Must remember, people vote with dollar bills now.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

I agree with Mark, Willie and Gator Girl. This feels like a flimsy victory at best. The predators are persistant; they won't give up until we've got Calcutta, USA, where once again, the most common cause of death in old age is hypothermia. - AIW

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 17 weeks ago

When you been down this long it looks like up.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 17 weeks ago

With very rare exception, progressives and Dems have only been interested in protecting Social Security retirement. We pay into Social Security retirement AND disability. Since Clinton, Dems have repeatedly targeted the disabled, seriously ill and dying. In fact, they became the fastest-growing group of homeless people by the end of the Clinton admin. A while back, low-income retirees and the disabled were enrolled in food stamps in place of several annual COLAs, only to have the food stamp benefits promptly targeted. They were significantly cut a few weeks ago (November), and cut yet again this month. 89 Democrats, including those labelled as "bold progressives" (Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Dingell, Tammy Duckworth, etc.) voted for these cuts. Interestingly, most of the "progressive" media has ignored this issue throughout, presumably because their target audience is middle class consumers and campaign donors.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

Yep! Calcutta, USA. Murder by deprivation and starvation. Who needs death camps anyway?!

As these so-called public servants keep slashing and cutting the last traces of our public safety net, and as our roads, bridges and sewers keep crumblng all around us, Tax Season 2014 looms near. Taxation without representation!! Wheee! - AIW

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 10 years 17 weeks ago

Willie W., Social Security has been targeted for years, but done incrementally, the way welfare was ended (one piece at a time). As you know, we pay into Social Security retirement and disability, and Democrats have repeatedly targeted the disabled. With each budget season, the alarm goes out that Republicans are targeting Social Security, and the public responds. While they're busy shouting about protecting retirement, govt quietly cuts away at disability. Lib media/Dems then declare victory, claiming they've "saved Social Security." Presumably because it was Clinton and the Democrats who began the agenda against the disabled, lib media has (with very rare exception) ignored this issue.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 17 weeks ago

I agree, DHBranski! The Democrat party is not our friend. Some within the Democrat party may actually be working for us but the majority are owned by the ruling elite. The Dems will make a lot of promises, or at least obfuscate on them like politicians all do, and then they will stab us in our backs.

It's time we do what was done in Seattle...oust the good ole' boy, entrenched Dems and put in, if not Socialists like Kshama Sawant, then anyone but Republicans or Democrats. It's the only relatively peaceful way of shaking up the criminals currently in power. I am afraid that it is going to take a lot more than that which is non-peaceful. And, perhaps, one day masses of fed-up USians will take to the streets as they are in say...Kiev and other places in the Ukraine. Although, the role is really reversed in the Ukraine...the violent protestors are being backed by the US and Europe in order to get the Ukraine suckered into a failed Euro system that will entrap them as they have entrapped Greece and Spain and other countries. And just listen to our government officials berate the Ukraine government while the Ukrainian police just stand there behind their shields...using way less force ..if any at all... against the protestors who are hurling fire bombs at the police. The US is such a hypocrite.

I sometimes wonder if the US isn't trying really hard to recreate the cold war between Russian and the US. Back in those times...50s..60s..70s.. the US government had everyone paranoid against Socialism and Communism... they even had witch hunts...McCarthyism...HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) hearings against anyone who didn't tow the Capitalist-pig line.

Maybe, they see that, due to their piggish, greedy nature, they are turning people back to Socialism... or at least against their piggish example they set. They need a new excuse to crack down on anyone who opposes them. Since more and more people are coming to realize that the US is the world's biggest terrorist (Seig Heil!!!) nation, really bent on world domination (just as Nazi Germany was), the claims of terrorist threats ring hollow and they need a new bogey man to scare us and threaten us with.

What better way of scaring people than the nuclear threat? And Russia still has their bombs...some of them least the ones that they didn't sell to other countries. But it may not be ICBMs that carry them...our new potential, self-created enemies might just have suitcase nukes already planted in key US cities. Who knows? All empires fall one way or another...eventually.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 17 weeks ago

double post deleted.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 17 weeks ago

Most of the supposed problems with Social Security are caused by the presumption made by Congress that everything stays the same. For example, though most congressmen know a little about the invlation rate, they never index anything to it. The cap on Social Seckuirty, FICA, tax rates has been the same for a long time. If they had indexed it to the inflation rate or to the CPI, the cap would be somewhere arouind $250,000 (I havent't calculated it but I think it would be in that order of magnitukde). The allow the Social Security Trust Fund, incrased by Ronald Reagan, to be depleted by the Social Securirty payments being increased by the COLA but not the limits on FICA!

Richard D. Wolff talks about the minimum wage problem. If the minimum wage had been indexed correctly since it was started in 1968, the minimum wage wuld be at least $11.00 per hour now. This would not solve the provblem of poverty, but it would help.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 17 weeks ago

According to Julian Assange lawyer and member of the NSA now has a new saying: 'we track ' wack 'em'!

The NSA uses SIM cards in cell phones to track and reports that to the JSOC guys who direct the drones to "wack" people. So now the "enemy"..knowing this.. has everyone in their group meetings remove their sim cards, put them in a bag, then reach in and take one. Then they also often give those phones to unsuspecting use. The results would be that the drones zero in on civilians and kill them.

"Some [high value targets] have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members."

"Based on his [a former drone operator] experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata."

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

"In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The NSA “will develop a pattern,” he says, “where they understand that this is what this person’s voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But it’s not always correct. There’s a lot of human error in that.”

".. the NSA doesn’t just locate the cell phones of terror suspects by intercepting communications from cell phone towers and Internet service providers. The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as “virtual base-tower transceivers” – creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted person’s device to lock onto the NSA’s receiver without their knowledge.

That, in turn, allows the military to track the cell phone to within 30 feet of its actual location, feeding the real-time data to teams of drone operators who conduct missile strikes or facilitate night raids.

The NSA geolocation system used by JSOC is known by the code name GILGAMESH."

Do you really think you can turn off your geolocation function on your iPhones? ha! They got you whenever they want you...unless your little child or little grandchild is playing with your iPhone one day when you are away. When the fascist pigs begin their drone programs in the'd better hope they haven't labeled you as an enemy combatant just for expressing yourself against the ruling elite. As a matter of fact, there's another report by Snowden on how the NSA is tracking you... if you have ever gone to Wikileaks website to see what all the fuss is about. Even if you don't agree with Wikileaks...if you have gone to their web site...or any other anti-official government web site...they got your number, know who you (we) are, and may be spying on you (us) right now.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

DHBranski & PD - You guys are spot-on, hittin' bulls' eyes today like there's no tomorrow. Whether there is or isn't, we're not going to shut up, give up and cowtow to these goddam pigs. We're too smart, too onto them and their agenda to let 'em censor us or cut us off from one another forever. If we have to, we'll find other ways of getting and staying connected. We don't have to agree on everything; just two things, mainly: who (or what) the enemy is, and secondly, what must be done to ward off this fascist takeover of civilization as we know it. Because it extends well beyond U.S. borders, threatening societies and cultures throughout the world.

Our corporatized government, Wall Street and the Pentagon are the real terrorists. They are the Goliaths of the 21st Century, the true source of much (if not all) this war, plundering, upheaval and strife, worldwide. Between environmental ruin and all the wars, it's gotten down to the wire for humanity. What are we gonna do about it? If we could only get unified on those two things, the source of the problem and our strategy to counter it, we'd be way more effective in our efforts to beat back all that threatens our autonomy, freedom, dignity... even our lives. - Aliceinwonderland

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 17 weeks ago

Mr banger the 10% pay 70% of the taxes. That is more than there fair share and I don't hear any one complaining. how much more do you suggest.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

"Mr. banger" says Kend, "the 10% pay 70% of the taxes". Really! If you're talking about Canada, I'm in no position to refute your claim, as I know nothing about Canadian tax policy. But if you mean the USA, that's hogwash. Bunk. Sheer fiction! - Aliceinwonderland

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 17 weeks ago

I don't trust Kend's figures - or much of anything he claims - but saying they are correct it makes no difference. There is nothing that rightfully entitles the 10% to such a disproportionate share of the society's wealth as they would award themselves. That they were able to write the laws and official policies to make it so is only their criminal hijacking of government.

The 70% is part of the just compensation to those of us who don't own business but who have to work for someone else for the hard work we do making them rich. What they don't pay in wages they pay (or should pay) in taxes. If they refuse to do either, as they are now, and get away with it, you have what's happening now, the concentration of wealth, the destruction of the middle class and the pauperization of working people.

William King's picture
William King 10 years 17 weeks ago

The fact that Obama offerred to accept cutting of Social Security benefits is beyond unacceptable.

With wealth and income disparity at all time highs cutting Social Security is sticking it to the poor, while coddling the rich. How about taxing the rich with New Deal income brackets to make up for the upcoming demand? With babyboomers retiring, something has to be done, but Social Security is far below the poverty line and the only thing many will have to depend on in later years.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

Anyway Thom- to answer you directly: no, I don't think Social Security is safe. It's only safe "for now". The thieves are determined; they're not giving up. They'll get it eventually. That's what thieves do, just take and take and take... Who gives a flip whose earned benefits these are?! All for the taking.

Thanks to Reaganomics ad nauseam, it's a thief's paradise out there. Meanwhile Candidate Obama vowed to protect Social Security from Wall Street pirates; unfortunately President Obama has had it on the chopping block since the day after the election. We get to sacrifice more hunks out of our raggedy-ass safety net, all for President Obama's noble crusade, his #1 Priority: bipartisanship at any cost! Long as that cost doesn't come out of the Pentagon's hide, or the Corporate Billionaire Welfare Queens' hide, or Obama's hide. But ours is fair game. So come on y'all, we'll be gettin' screwed anyway... might as well lay back and enjoy it! - Aliceinwonderland

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