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A second term president becomes a lame duck when his party stops following him. President Obama prematurely forced Democrats to look to new leadership when he put forward a budget that cuts Social Security. Democrats would lose in a landslide in 2014 if the chained CPI cuts were enacted because Republicans could rightly blame the cuts on Democrats. Social Security is the bedrock upon which the foundation of the modern Democratic party was built. Democrats are now looking to new leadership to avoid slaughter in 2014.
In short, "chained CPI" is just a fancy way to say "cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans."
Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income; one-third rely on it for at least 90% of their income. These people aren't stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba – they are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class.
My brothers and I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class. An America that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives. An America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity.
A proposal from President Jimmy Carter in 1977 proposed indexing changes that effectively cut benefits for future retirees.
Right. Carter not only changed the index, he proposed doing so in a way that reduced benefits more than chained-CPI would. Carter also scaled back eligibility rules for Social Security's disability insurance.
Sigh. We've been forced to resort to playing old video clips of Ronald Reagan to explain why Social Security benefit cuts should never be part of a deal to reduce the deficit.
Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or growing the deficit.