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Every time there's a problem, the solution always seems to be, screw the poor. And now, President Obama seems ready to let that happen again in his debt negotiations with Boehner. This time it's the elderly poor who will suffer by reducing the index by which Social Security keeps up with inflation. Who will be harmed most by this? The folks who depend on social security exclusively or almost exclusively for their retirement income - the poor. There are so many other ways to save the same amount of money, even within social security. For example, why not cut off social security benefits to those with incomes over a certain level. Do wealthy seniors really need to keep receiving social security while poor seniors keep losing ground to inflation? This proposal is truly heartless and it will be very sad if Democrats go along.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know what you're talking about here... (0+ / 0-)

    and you're absolutely right...

    BUT...

    there are a lot of relatively well-off folks in Connecticut who are suffering terribly tonight.

    I get it that you're talking about the kinds of policies that disproportionately hurt the poor because they don't consistently vote and have no fancy-schmancy lobbyists to protect them. The poor are at the bottom of the social food-chain, and they don't have the resources to stand up for themselves.

    Politicians aren't afraid of them, and frankly, they don't seem to be very afraid of those of us who vote in solidarity with the interests of the poor. It seems that the money and other free stuff they get from their wealthy supporters actually trumps our votes.

    So we need to do everything we can to strike some fear into those politicians.

    But we can also remember that none of us can be completely inoculated against suffering and loss. And, while the affluent can afford more distractions to help them cope with their loss, at the end of the day, their lives will never be the same.

    "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

    by gfre on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:57:15 PM PST

    •  OK, well I thought it didn't need saying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      that I was referring to actually being targeted by political decisions. I wasn't claiming that people who aren't poor don't also suffer misfortune in their lives. Did I really need to clarify this?

      •  No. Sorry. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm involved with a number of advocacy groups, I knew what you meant.

        But I was just watching Lawrence O'Donnell, and seeing how the pictures of the children showed a fairly affluent community -- the kind of elementary school my son student-taught in last year. They looked happy, and healthy, mostly white, mostly privileged -- different from students in the families that are constantly under assault because they need a sufficient social safety net.

        And when I read the title of your diary, it just hit me how vulnerable to that sort of loss we ALL are, no matter where we live or work.

        Sorry, I did not mean to hijack your diary or respond in a way that would be considered irritating -- I was just in a different place right then and should probably have passed on commenting.

        "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

        by gfre on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:18:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's the problem. (0+ / 0-)

          You're watching TV.  I read a blurb in WAPO this morning claiming that people can actually get PTSD from being inundated with traumatic media coverage.

          Media is a powerful tool that manufactures fake "experience" and pipes it straight into your living room or kitchen, wherever you turn on the Box.  And programs are deliberately designed to heighten emotional responses by use of music, pacing, and graphic images.  It puts you on an emotional rollercoaster where you are not in control.

          Unless you turn it off.  If you are becoming so disturbed that a reference to the disparity of suffering between rich and poor triggers immediate thoughts of the Newtown slayings, then you've really had enough.  It would be best for your emotional and intellectual health to turn off the Tube and do something that focuses your attention on something else entirely.  If Real Life is not available and sufficiently engrossing, I would recommend a favorite video, where you can choose the content and subliminal messages, and will not be interrupted by either "news" flashes or commercial messages.

          Seriously.  I had been wondering why so many people were SO obsessed with this, until I read that article this  morning.  I don't own a TV.

          •  Thank you for your cogent psychoanalysis. (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't realize watching one TV show would give me PTSD.

            Seriously, you don't know me at all. "Real Life" is plenty full and engrossing, but there's space for some empathy with grieving families.

            They are suffering. To acknowledge that is only human.

            "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

            by gfre on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:25:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, sometimes you do have to clarify... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the diary column over on the right-hand side of this homepage has a life of its own and it can be necessary, as is the case in this particular moment in American life, where a diarist almost needs to write the post title bumping around in her/his mind on a piece of paper and hold it up to the screen to see how it fits in the narrative thread that is happening in real time...

        I'm not criticizing, just offering a bit of advice about being aware of how the first thing that other eyes see regarding your diary will play with regard to any particular day's "subject of the day"....

        "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

        by Jack K on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:21:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Having a cut-off point is means testing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara

    Which turns SS into a welfare program, which would destroy it.

    Not only that, it would make it like all the other social programs for the poor, with page after page of forms to fill out every year, with threats of fines and prosecution if you don't do it right.

    It's a nightmare for the poor, and it would turn SS into a nightmare for the elderly, whose sense of time is shorter so it would seem like they were filling out forms way more often than it seems to younger people.

    Plus then they would have to worry about making any money, or getting gifts from relatives, and whether they need to report it or not. They couldn't save money if they wanted to keep getting SS, they would have to be careful what they kept in the bank. All so they wouldn't be prosecuted for doing it wrong.

    It's a nightmare...

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:49:39 AM PST

    •  It would not be a welfare program (0+ / 0-)

      First, all your doing is slapping a label on it by calling it a "welfare program". The nature of social security would not change if you excluded the wealthy from receiving the benefit. There are tax right-offs and deductions that are capped based on income, we don't call them "welfare programs". Throwing around labels like this doesn't advance the discussion.

      Second, the "nightmare" of filling out forms is another red herring. A tax return, or simply the AGI from a tax return is all that would be needed. And if a senior doesn't make enough to file a tax return, then he/she clearly would be entitled to the full social security benefit. I don't see any nightmare.

      What I'm suggesting - and I offer it as only one alternative to cutting the inflation-based growth in social security - is a significant income level before social security benefits are reduced, and a very significant income level before such benefits are denied. Again, which is more fair, giving social security payments to people like George H. W. and Martha Bush while cutting benefits for poor seniors, or capping income so that the social security benefits George and Martha would have received will instead be available to make sure that poor seniors are able to keep up with inflation? I think it is self-evident which is more fair.

      •  NOW there isn't any forms to fill out (0+ / 0-)

        Much, but by the time the Republicans got done with it there would be all kinds of rules, regulations and threats if you don't do it right.

        Social Security is great the way it's being done. Just raise the cap on income that is taxed. Very simple, doesn't ask everyone to fill out a bunch of forms every time they turn around, and solves any issues.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:28:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The object of deprivation is deprivation. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara

    Depriving some people of the means for securing sustenance -- i.e. making them poor -- is deprivation at one remove.  That is, the deprivator, by withholding money, imposes suffering without leaving any fingerprints.
    Since, under our system of social organization, the Congress is ultimately responsible for both the law and money, the deprivation of rights and sustenance can/should be traced to Capitol Hill.  However, our representatives assembled in Congress have been most adept in representing themselves as innocent and blaming someone else (the executive, Wall Street, the victims, foreign agents, etc.).
    In a sense, the Congress has been holding the currency hostage. Why? To demonstrate their own power. Power, to be felt, has to hurt. So, if the Congress is to be perceived as powerful, some or all of the citizenry has to be deprived.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:17:40 AM PST

    •  I do think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah

      that a good chunk of this is simply holdover economic thinking.  No one who was raised when currency was backed by gold really gets their mind around the fact that fiat money can be created at will, except as an anathema of terror.  The entire Senate and half the House are over 50, and therefore this factor holds.  They think the Debt is real.  Banking executives know and play on these beliefs with every form of illusion and coercion they can muster -- and banking executives get where they are by being some of the best liars in the world.  A world heading for 9 billion humans.  The best hundred liars among 9 billion are really, really good at what they do.

  •  Well, there are a lot of people who get SS, some (0+ / 0-)

    poor, some middle class, some rich.

    Some here have a knee jerk reaction of blaming Obama for compromises that later turn out to be acceptable.

    My knee jerk reaction is that he has built enough trust to wait for more details to see how it plays out.

    •  How Ironic (0+ / 0-)

      that it now appears that the Republican have rejected this proposal. Of course they reject it because "it doesn't go far enough". Bastards.

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