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Sen. Bernie Sanders writes a prescription that can't be repeated often enough:

First, let's be clear: despite all the right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going bankrupt. That's a lie! The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has run surpluses for the last quarter-century. Today's $2.5 trillion cushion is projected to grow to $4 trillion in 2023. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, experts in this area, say Social Security will be able to pay every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary until 2039. Got that? In case you don't, let me repeat it. The people who have studied this issue most thoroughly and have no political bias report that Social Security will be able to pay out all benefits to every eligible beneficiary for the next twenty-nine years. It is true that by 2039, if nothing is changed, Social Security will be able to pay out only about 80 percent of benefits. That is why it is important that Congress act soon to make sure Social Security is as strong in the future as it is today.

The hatred of Social Security from the right-wing antigovernment crowd is based on the fact that Social Security, a government program, has been enormously successful in accomplishing its mission. For seventy-five years, in good times and bad, Social Security has provided financial security for tens of millions of Americans. ...

In the midst of all of the destructive rhetoric and ideas out there with regard to Social Security, there is one proposal that is simple, sensible and would keep Social Security strong and solvent in a fair and just way. Under the law today, the Social Security payroll tax is levied only on earnings up to $106,800 a year. That means millionaires and billionaires get off scot-free on all of their income above that amount. In other words, an individual who earns $106,800 pays the same Social Security tax as a multimillionaire. That's wrong. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on those with the most income, say over $250,000 a year, would correct this inequity. According to CBO, applying the tax to all income would provide all the revenue that Social Security needs for the foreseeable future—for our kids and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As Joan McCarter reported Thursday, Sanders was joined by 11 other Senators and 104 members of the House in announcing that they are united in their opposition to any cuts to Social Security that the deficit commission may recommend.

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At Daily Kos on this date in 2007

How long is the collective American memory?  About ten years.  As evidence, I offer the example of what happened after the Arab oil embargo of 1973.  America reacted with a swiftness and force that included a national 55 mph speed limit along with tough and tightening standards for vehicle fuel economy.  We were so close to a national system of fuel rationing, that the first ration tickets had already been printed.

And the shocker is, it worked astoundingly well.  A nation of muscle-car lovin', land yacht drivin' auto maniacs started buying smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.  Between 1975 when the CAFE standards were put into effect and 1984, the average fuel economy rose from just over 12 mpg to 22 mpg.  That's an amazing 60% increase in less than a decade.   Had that rate of increase continued, the average mpg would have passed 35 before 1995, and would be at almost 60 mpg today.

But what happened instead was that in 1984, America lost its mind.  I blame it on too much exposure to A Flock of Seagulls.  

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:16 PM PDT.

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