OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Earlier today I sent a letter to the White House, signed by myself and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey, making it clear that we will stand against any potential cuts to Social Security benefits. Whether they come from the president's debt commission or from members of Congress, any proposals to reduce entitlement benefits -- one of the most fundamental bonds between the American people and the federal government -- will be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

It's become conventional wisdom that Social Security is in crisis. As the story goes, we can't afford to ensure our retirees maintain a decent standard of living and we need to slash and burn our way to fiscal "responsibility" or we'll all fall off a cliff. In fact, Social Security is not funded from the general treasury and does not contribute to the national debt, a point we make clear in our letter. Calls for fiscal austerity often include the disingenuous claim that tax cuts magically pay for themselves -- as Sen. Jon Kyl recently suggested -- and all we need to do is take money from America's older citizens and working families to put our checkbook in order. This is nonsense.

What these fiscal hawks don't tell you is that income above a $106,800 earnings cap is not subject to Social Security payroll taxes. That's right: anything you earn above that figure doesn't go into Social Security. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking this is just a liberal position -- it's an objective fact. Instead of hacking away at one of America's fundamental promises to its retirees, the debt commission should think about the possibility of having high-wage earners pay the same amount to protect our retirement system as everyone else does.

What else don't the fiscal hawks tell you? Well, have you heard this one?

After 2037, Social Security will not contribute to the deficit, because it is prohibited by law from taking on debt in order to pay benefits. Instead, if the projected shortfall were to go unaddressed, Social Security would pay reduced benefits, equal to about 75% to 80% of promised benefits, according to the Social Security actuaries and CBO, respectively. This is a situation that Congress must take action to avoid, but it is not the catastrophic collapse that some alarmists warn about. Eliminating this shortfall would require raising revenues equal to about 0.5% to 0.7% of gross domestic product, according to CBO and Social Security, respectively.
Probably not. Instead you've probably heard, as GOP House leader John Boehner recently said, that Social Security is flat broke and we need to raise the retirement age to 70 immediately.

This is a fight that the American people are going to win. According to a major new poll just released by AARP, 63 percent of Americans view Social Security as one of the "very most important" programs in the country "and over seven in ten believe that most people on Social Security could not do very well without it" (emphasis in the original). When you hear someone holding forth about Social Security being unsustainable, remember those numbers. We need Social Security now more than ever before, especially given an economic downturn that's cost several generations trillions of dollars in net worth. These are the times that Social Security was designed to address. A struggling economy shouldn't mean a financially insecure future for ourselves, our neighbors and our communities. That's just not the American way.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Raul Grijalva on Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 01:15 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.