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Elderly man with cane
The White House has gone to great lengths to stress one thing in response to the backlash against the unforced error of throwing Social Security into the fiscal cliff curb: They'll just reduce benefits for some people on Social Security, not all of them. Here's what Greg Sargent heard from the White House.
However, according to an official familiar with the talks, the White House continues to insist on various ways of softening the blow of “chained CPI” that are supported by progressive economists, though the details are still unclear.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insists that President Obama's proposal "would protect vulnerable communities including the very elderly when it comes to Social Security recipients."

This does some pretty damaging things, at the outset. First, it pits certain Social Security recipients against others. People on Supplemental Security Income, a program from the disabled, are protected from cuts in benefits, but what about people on Social Security Disability? A 70-year-old won't be protected from the cuts, but an 80-year-old will be? And what about the point that digby makes, as usual brilliantly, that "a vast number of the elderly are barely getting by already." Most of the people on Social Security are exceedingly vulnerable. From AARP:

Social Security Is the Principal Source of Family Income for Nearly Half of Older Americans. Twenty-four percent of those aged 65 and over live in families that depend on Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their income. Another 26 percent receive at least half but less than 90 percent of their family income from Social Security.

Social Security benefits are particularly important for women, because, on average, women live longer and earn less than men. Fifty-two percent of all women aged 65 and older depend on Social Security benefits for 50 percent or more of their family income, compared to 45 percent of men. [...]

75% of unmarried women older than 65 get half or more of their income from Social Security.

Those women, who will live longer, will see their benefits cut the most. Because that's how this chained CPI works; as each year passes, the increase in cost of living shrinks. What won't shrink are the costs of prescription drugs, the cost of utilities, rent, property taxes—all of the things that are subject to inflation that don't get included in the CPI. The savings it might achieve could easily be swallowed up the number of people on the margins who would be forced into public housing, onto Medicaid and food stamps. Like everything else in this fake deficit peacockery, it's penny-wise and pound-foolish.

So how will the administration decide who's most vulnerable when almost half of Social Security recipients couldn't live without it? How do they decide which of these people deserve to be spared the cuts, and which don't?

Ezra Klein calls the chained CPI a "trick," a trick that puts a wonky name on what is simply a way to "cut Social Security benefits and increase taxes." That's exactly what it does, and it's exactly what President Obama and John Boehner want it to do. Otherwise it wouldn't have been included in these negotiations.

They're trying to trick us, but it's not going to work.

Tell President Obama to take Social Security cuts off the table, in current and in the future negotiations.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:34 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Social Security Defenders, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Also use Twitter and Facebook (24+ / 0-)


    @TheDemocrats (DNC)

    Facebook: (Pelosi) (Reid) (DNC) (White House) (Obama —adorable picture alert)

    A working man robs a bank and it's a federal manhunt. A banker robs a working man and gets a bailout.

    by Grassroots Mom on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:38:54 AM PST

    •  Petitions are great (25+ / 0-)

      email, snailmail, the good old telephone are all great, but today of all days, Obama is treading on Twitter and you better believe the White House is watching that. I recall what we did to Rush Limbaugh and Komen using social media. Social Media to protect Social Security.

      A working man robs a bank and it's a federal manhunt. A banker robs a working man and gets a bailout.

      by Grassroots Mom on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:40:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keep in mind that apart from "Trust Fund" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kay Observer2

        bookkeeping, Social Security is going to be $165-billion in the hole as an operating entity.

        That needs to be addressed somehow.

        Maybe by means testing benefits, or means testing the tax exemption? Or raising the pay-in limit by $6,000 to keep it OK ?

        It doesn't take much jiggling with the parameters to avoid any and all cuts for lower income retirees. Anybody who depends 100% on Social Security should be protected first.

        (Forget about Bowles-Simpson ??? That includes lowering the retirement age for manual labor people to 62.)

        "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

        by bontemps2012 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:56:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe we tell this President and this Congress (9+ / 0-)

          to step the f*ck away from Social Security and Medicare cuts right now.  The perceived deficits particularly for Social Security are years down the road.  

        •  My SS is already being reduced due (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kay Observer2, chazz509

          to a large, one time jump in income last year.

          Ouch, but I can live with it, because of that boost.

          Based on that experience, I assume that same tactic is used to reduce SS for high income earners. It could easily be extended down a bit or increased if the cap is increased... with very little damage from the Chained CPI.

          Next year, since I won't have a similar "gift" this year, my SS should return to what it would have been.

          Not the same as chained CPI for low and middle income earners without outside income.

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:08:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One of the unstated problems with SS and women (9+ / 0-)

            is that from its first day to this one, women have been paid less by a considerable amount than men, even for the very same work, which means that their payin, and their payout is less than that of men, and so not only will they live longer, but the pension they get to have these cuts taken from it will be less to start with.

          •  What is the case that causes such a reduction? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm curious because the SSA site says (emphasis added):

            You can get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. But, if you are younger than full retirement age and earn more than certain amounts, your benefits will be reduced. It is important to note, though, that these benefit reductions are not truly lost. Your benefit will be increased at your full retirement age to account for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings. (Spouses and survivors who receive benefits because they have minor or disabled children in their care do not receive increased benefits at full retirement age if benefits were withheld because of work.)
            It's my understanding that, with the exception of deferred benefits as above, additional income never impacts your SS benefit -- but if your income exceeds some amount, up to 85% of your benefits count as taxable income so you pay income tax on them. This really isn't quite a "benefit reduction" for having outside income, although the net effect feels similar - esp. since you already paid income taxes on the half of the "premiums" (payroll tax) that you pay which funds the benefit.

            There is an indirect form of means testing in that the "first dollar" paid into Social Security via payroll tax, roughly, returns six times the "last dollar" put in just before the cap - but it's "means testing" based on income while you're working, not when you are retired. This can catch someone who has carefully saved in a 401(k) during their entire career and defers taking money out of their 401(k) until 70½ years of age only to find that their Required Minimum Distribution pushes them into a situation where they then pay income tax on their Social Security benefits.

        •  Yeah, that "trust fund" bookkeeping, that shows (9+ / 0-)

          what, a $2 trillion deposit into the cofferes of the nation by WORKING PEOPLE who get WAGES from which money is DEDUCTED and accounted for as as a retirement safety net fund that gets dribbled back out to people if they live past age 65, 66, 67 or whatever. The $2 trillion that has gone to fund WARS OF CHOICE and subsidies to every kind of lobbyist-represented special interest in and outside the nation. $2 trillion that many, maybe most, Villagers are scrambling to figure out how to DEFAULT ON without it being pointed out that that is one enormous theft from the WORKING PEOPLE, at the same time they are trying to sucker us into giving that mandatory retirement money to the fucking Bankstas to play with in their casino, with huge fees for "managing" it for us.

          And means testing is just one of the tricks that the Villagers and their apologists are all trying to sucker us into thinking is "wise" and "fair." I call bullshit on that.

          Remove the gift of not requiring withholding on wages over $110,000 a year, and the "trust fund" is solvent for the foreseeable future.

          You sure have some strange and interesting ideas about what constitutes appropriate bookkeeping, bt.

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:32:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A+ comment. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Bull's eye.

            "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

            by bontemps2012 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:21:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The SS trust fund is not... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...really going to pay for wars (or any of the other things you mentioned) in the way you characterize it.

            The trust fund currently has a surplus. It would be foolish to let that money sit idle being nibbled away by inflation. So, it's invested. A "safe" investment is appropriate (imagine if the trust fund had been heavily invested in the likes of Enron, WebVan, and or, more recently, mortgages). The gold standard for safety (return of principal plus promised interest "on time") is/was US debt so that is mandated as the investment vehicle the trust fund must use.

            The Federal government funds all the things you mention (as well as many other things). They spend more than they take in. They therefore run a deficit and need to borrow money. They issue treasury securities to borrow the necessary money - paying interest on them and paying them off as they mature (issuing new securities to raise the money to do so). This is all counted in the national debt - if there was no Social Security program, the total national debt (all other things being equal) would  be unchanged.

            It makes little practical difference to either the general federal budget/spending OR to the Social Security trust fund if the trust fund buys securities directly from the general Federal Government (as they do - IIRC, actually a special form of them that only the trust fund can buy) or if the Social Security trust fund buys the treasury securities at auction and the general Federal Government auctions more securities off.

            Yes, the Federal Government borrowed money for all those things you mentioned. But that has nothing to do with the solvency of the Social Security trust fund. It's demographics (the percentage of Americans working vs. the percentage retired has been dropping and is expected to continue to do so) that is causing the issues with the solvency of the Social Security trust fund.

        •  Easy answer (6+ / 0-)

          Raise the payroll tax cap to cover all income. Why in hell should people who make more than $110,000 annually stop having to pay SS taxes? They have money; the people who need money don't have more to give ...

          •  they would attack this as (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            socialism, as they would not have to use all of the money that they would've paid in, and would claim to be forced to pay for others. Just a lack of good citizenship on their part.

            Why in hell should people who make more than $110,000 annually stop having to pay SS taxes?

            The Democrats now own everything from the center right to the far left. the republicans and the filthy robberbarons occupy the extreme right fringe.

            by longtimelurker on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:24:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok. Let's raise with holding on every one. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I'll chip in the cost of a cup of coffee a week to avoid cuts.

              That's all it would cost most workers.

              "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

              by JesseCW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:04:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  We can do what Congress did more than a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          dozen times before the last Grand Bargain.

          We can raise FICA.

          It won't even cost most workers a candy bar a week.

          Now, stop pretending you can't lose a candy bar to protect seniors.

          "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

          by JesseCW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:01:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  If the idea is to "trick us," then that means our (26+ / 0-)

    President isn't an honorable person and lied to get re-elected so that he and Boehner can trick the people. Am I wrong?

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:43:13 AM PST

  •  Let's see the math, what's the gain, who's cost? (23+ / 0-)

    This proposal opens the door to financial reporting for all SS recipients which they do not do today.  It creates a somewhat dire responsibility to correctly report income and assets or the SS recipient may not get as much as they need or deserve, and it opes up a whole new industry to feed on SS beneficiaries.

    And why? There is no apparent SS program case or financial case for shifting such a burden onto all Americans at their more vulnerable time.  

    •  back to the question, why is Social Security even (21+ / 0-)

      a part of these negotiations?

      And why did the president (again, by the way) offer right off the bat to reduce payments?

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:32:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is key. Turns SS into a welfare program. (8+ / 0-)

      Now you need to show your age and that you paid into the program.

      As all this means testing and stratification are added, it means you'll have to go, hat in hand, to some agency and prove you're destitute enough to get some or all of SS.

      Watch this happen to Medicare, turning it into Medicaid.

      We should be moving in the opposite direction:

      1) health care for all with no means testing;

      2) negative income tax (a Nixon/Moynihan idea!) paid to all

      3) higher ed for all

      Instead, we've been so impoverished by Capitalism that we must beg even for benefits we've paid for.

      I thought Capitalism was such a great, productive system.  How come it's failing to produce enough to improve lives of people even in the most advanced and "free market" countries?

      •  Capitalism is a great, productive system (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for its Owners.

        Why wouldn't it be? They own everyone else.

        •  What a cute word choice. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In the tradition of Billmon.

          "Chained" CPI.
                                             Obama's proposed SS adjustment

          "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."
                                                                  Karl Marx

      •  YES! Making SS equivalent to "welfare" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is the result of all these shenanigans about protecting the "most vulnerable." This destroys the compact underlying social security and the dignity of a secure retirement for most of us. I haven't been so angry at a politician since John Kerry voted for the Iraq war resolution.

      •  Thanks, that NIT is a new one to me... (0+ / 0-)


        In economics, a negative income tax (abbreviated NIT) is a progressive income tax system where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government. Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. It was developed by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s[1] and later when United States economist Milton Friedman combined NIT with his flat tax proposals.[2]

        Negative income taxes can implement a basic income or supplement a guaranteed minimum income system.

        In a negative income tax system, people earning a certain income level would owe no taxes; those earning more than that would pay a proportion of their income above that level; and those below that level would receive a payment of a proportion of their shortfall, which is the amount their income falls below that level.

        A negative income tax is intended to create a single system that would not only pay for government, but would also fulfill the social goal of making sure that there was a minimum level of income for all. It is theorized that, with an NIT, the need for minimum wage, food stamps, welfare, social security programs and other government assistance programs could be eliminated, thus reducing the administrative effort and cost to a fraction of what it is under the current system, as well as eliminating the perverse incentives created by these overlapping aid programs, e.g. when a minimum wage worker who earns a little more nets out with less income because he is newly ineligible for aid. The worker is stuck in a welfare trap and has no incentive to seek higher wages.

    •  That's sounds like a nightmare. (4+ / 0-)

      Do any of these people even know any elderly people?  FFS!

      My Grandmother spent about her last ten years of life having a terrifically difficult time keeping up with just what was in her refrigerator.

  •  Bullshit! (34+ / 0-)

    Stop it already.  The President is making my head hurt.  You don't take a system like social security which is a shared responsibility / benefit and pit people against each other.  That is a recipe for it's demise.  It's the same argument against means testing in social security.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:43:48 AM PST

  •  For me personally, it is worse than that: (31+ / 0-)
    Those women, who will live longer, will see their benefits cut the most. Because that's how this chained CPI works; as each year passes, the increase in cost of living shrinks. What won't shrink are the costs of prescription drugs,
    Not only will the cost increase, my cost under Tricare for drugs and the insurance will increase. A lot if the White House gets its way. And I am sure that the VA DIC will go to the chained CPI if SS does.

    Frankly, I don't know how they expect me to balance the federal budget when I can hardly afford to balance my own.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:50:54 AM PST

  •  What are they suggesting, means-testing for (15+ / 0-)

    'chained CPI'?  Ie, you only get hit with it if you have other income over some limit, like 100k a year?

    I really don't see how else you can say you're not going to hit 'the most vulnerable'.

  •  It's a sell out, a broken promise (16+ / 0-)

    the proposal of a liar.

    Social Security should be the same for all. That's its genius. Make rich people pay more while they are working, but the benefits should remain the same for all.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with the President's effort to give something to the right wing mob. And I can't even threaten not to vote for him.

    “The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    by Miss Pip on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:56:44 AM PST

  •  Yes I tweeted (6+ / 0-)

    my opposition to chained CPI.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:02:21 AM PST

  •  This dog don't hunt! (14+ / 0-)

    So somebody help me understand this. Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, although we all agree that adjustments need to be made in the future to preserve it. Raising the cap anyone? However, we have used the Trust Fund as the nation's ATM to pay for unjust wars and make it possible for the wealthy to get tax cuts increasing the unequality gap. Now, the Republicans want to welch on the obligation to repay part of what they took, on the premise that we can't afford to pay these banefits any more as promised.

    The cuts are going to come by subterfuge, calling them chained CPI, eliminating gradually the meager inflation adjustments that go to the most needy in our society.

    In the meantime, the Innkeeper is busy trying to keep taxes low for the superwealthy holding the Country hostage. We Can't interfere with their standard of living. He calls that "plan B".

    Mr. President, have I got this right?

    •  The adjustment is simple... (0+ / 0-)

      Allow the treasury to pay Social Security recipients with government IOUs that pay no interest in whatever amount is decided by our lawmakers regardless of how much payroll tax in coming in.  Those IOUs can be redeemed to satisfy any federal, state, or local tax, fee, or fine by any person not just the original person who received them.

      I expect that many banks will allow you to open accounts with these IOUs and pay interest on these IOUs.  They will probably also lend them out to others, so those others can pay their taxes, fees, and fines.  Other people will probably accept the government IOUs in exchange for products and services because they have taxes, fees, and fines to pay.

      I guess if the government issues too many of these IOUs there might not be enough goods and services to purchase with them and amount of each IOU to purchase something could go up, and the government might need to raise taxes to reduce the number of IOUs out there.

    •  Yes, you've got it right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You may have left out a bit of economic hostage-taking. It's no accident that Lloyd Blankfein was on the Hill recently talking about how all us proles have to lower our expectations.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:55:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The expectation that hurts is that O said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        what he said to get election, and he is now doing this less than a month after that election. It is simply not possible that he did not think he was going to do this when he was still running, which means he must have been lying the whole time.

  •  Thank you, Joan (16+ / 0-)

    This WH acts like they can mitigate cutting a relatively weak safety net compared to the rest of the modern world and seniors barely getting by as it is. the full retirement age is now 67 and there are no plans to lower it to 65 so this WH is already not protecting the most vulnerable and it's total BS.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:14:14 AM PST

  •  They reached this deal months ago (9+ / 0-)

    I still remain convinced some corporate funders of both campaigns made both candidates come to an agreement on the "fiscal cliff" deal before agreeing to give either side any campaign donations.

    The National Assn. of Manufacturers recently visited the WH, to discuss these "negotiations", probably to ensure the Obama WH planned to stick by the rules.  What role do they have in controlling SS policy?  None, absolutely none.

    The deal we're seeing now is one that was finalized months ago, probably last spring or early summer.  It came with its own talking points and PR plan. Obama is now playing the role of the obedient Dem who follows the rules and lives up to his promises to the corporate donors while Boehner plays the role of the rebellious, disobedient kid intent on getting more than he originally bargained for.

    What's at stake?   Corporate cash for the next election cycle, among other things.  NAM has probably promised Obama some sparkly jobs ponies as well.  

    We Dems won the last election.  We don't need to be a party to any of the back room deals in DC, misguided, regressive and flawed as they are.  We don't need to have the NAM or Phrma or any other industry group telling us how we should govern ourselves, particularly when it comes to health care, Medicare, Social Security or tax policy.  They have no place at our table.

    Update: Apparently Obama has invited them and the Chamber of Commerce back for another visit next week


    We Dems now have the opportunity to change the filibuster rules and embark on an agenda that reverses the stranglehold that corporate donors and lobbyists have on our government.  The first step is to kick this pre-negotiated agreement to the curb.  

    The next is filibuster reform and after that real campaign finance and  lobbying reform.  We won't accomplish anything else until those are taken care of and the balance of power between private citizens and corporate entities is restored.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:19:18 AM PST

  •  My mother just got a fucking $5 COLA for 2013 (14+ / 0-)

    Her SS went up $10 but her Medicare went up $5, leaving her with a net $5 increase. And Obama thinks that's too high? What the fuck is wrong with this moron?!? This is supposed to be smart politics and necessary policy? He keeps walking into traps the GOP sets for him and doesn't ever seem to learn from the experience. Whatever small amount of support he might get from well-off centrists for being willing to stick it to the most vulnerable Americans and the left (and btw what kind of asshole actually tries to win over such cretins?), will be vastly more than offset by the support he'll lose from poor and old people, the left, and many others who find this offer to be contemptible, which it is.

    This is not just cruel, it's unimaginably stupid, politically. He gains nothing, and loses much. And because the GOP was never going to accept it, only he ends up looking bad, not them. What a horrible, horrible negotiator he is.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:28:55 AM PST

    •  It's not stupid (3+ / 0-)

      if your real motivation is to get rid of

      poor and old people, the left, and many others
      I'm getting a creepy feeling of eugenics in action. Guess I'll go sign up for my turn at the euthatorium.
      •  I'm still not prepared to accept (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, elwior, dkosdan

        this dark a take on why Obama's doing this, because it would basically make him out to be a slicker version of the monster who mowed down those children last week, be it out of a desire to "streamline" the country a la the Khmer Rouge or to exact some delusional revenge on a country he despises because, oh, I don't know, his parents didn't love him or some girl rejected him in high school or he hates white people or whatever. And that's just nuts, something out of RedState, not this site or the sane left.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Trial balloon for my CT darkness (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, dkosdan

          I really don't want to go there either.

        •  Obama (0+ / 0-)

          But he is!!! Look at the record of the last 4 years. Murders American citizens, make Bush's terrorism policies look wimpy, goes after good guy whistle blowers, caves on extending the Bush/now Obama tax cuts and gets bubkis in return, offers to cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid but Boehner walks away and hopefully he's once again walked away. And on and on. Don't kid yourself, a semi decent policy here and there doesn't even come anywhere near balancing our the vicious right wing record of the last 4 years and apparently history doesn't lie.

          •  Such interpretations, merited or not (0+ / 0-)

            are outside the bounds of allowable discourse on this site, subject to banning. Basically, you can't have a discussion on this stuff here, like it or not.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:14:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  But that's $60 extra for the whole year! (5+ / 0-)

      Isn't that special?

      Medical co-pays never go up, food never goes up, and it's spring all year long.

      Sorry, kovie, I'm as angry as you, and just as bitter. Your mother and I are in the same, fragile boat.

      (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

      by argomd on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:34:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thankfully, she has some other resources (0+ / 0-)

        But they're not that much, and just barely enough to live decently on. And they will run out someday, probably well before she's gone, and probably around the time that her medical and other expenses will start to skyrocket due to advanced old age, meaning that I'm going to have to chip in. Which I'm more than happy to do, but when everyone has to do this to keep their parents from suffering, it just ruins the American dream, or even some tiny version of it, for so many people. It will turn us from being a progressive, growth-oriented, prosperous society in which nearly everyone gets to share in the bounty, to one in which a minority of people are doing well to extremely well, and a majority are at best just getting by, if not much, much worse.

        The idea should be that you work hard, live reasonably well, accumulate a nice nest egg, retire at a sensible age, and live off your assets until you die, but with enough left over to bequeath to the next generation, creating a financial generational buffer in case of bad times, that might get sapped or depleted every few decades, but is built up again. What Obama is offering makes that impossible. It's like he's giving up on not only entire generations of people, but entire classes of people, for the good of the rest. Who does that?!?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:16:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This time it seems different, and wrong. (0+ / 0-)

          I agree, oh, I agree.  Perhaps it's no longer a good thing to remember the past, even if we do not think of them as fabled "good old days."

          Think of all the inter-generational wealth that's disappeared over the last 4-5 years.  Not from any "death tax", but because Life Happened.

          That lost wealth came from you and your mother and millions of others who had worked hard for decades to prepare for their later years, to pass something meaningful on to their survivors.

          I never thought I would despair, but that's where I am.  Every inexplicable move from folks we thought understood the problem, every time we bleed the already fragile on behalf of the already wealthy -- I return to despair.  

          Thank you for your articulate and thoughtful words.

          (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

          by argomd on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:13:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  mine went up $12.00 but then my food stamps (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherjon, kovie, Williston Barrett

      credits went down $5.00 a month to $128.00.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:14:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ryan and Rmoney would love chained CPI. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:37:43 AM PST

  •  And even if he's doing this because he truly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    believes that going over the "cliff" will be so bad for the economy that it's worth this cruel and otherwise unnecessary cut to SS, did he truly believe that one, Repubs would accept this offer without demanding yet more concessions, two, that this won't hurt his negotiating positions on similar and other issues from here on, and three, that having gone back on his word so soon after drawing a firm line in the sand (for the umpteenth time), it won't hurt his public approval ratings? Even if an argument can be made that overall, this is a smart move from a purely economic perspective even if this cut is clearly cruel and economically unnecessary, to avoid going over the "cliff", the political argument against it is much stronger. Better we go through some modest short-term economic pain than some much greater long-term economic pain, which this capitulation will surely lead to, because it will weaken his hand politically, and thus economically. How can he not see that?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:38:30 AM PST

  •  "The President didn’t put it on the table." (0+ / 0-)
    "The President didn’t put it on the table. This is something that Republicans want."
    Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 12/18/2012

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:50:24 AM PST

  •  The whole thing sure smells like PBO is willing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, teacherjon, Williston Barrett

    to take the "deal" out of the New Deal.  

    The social compact is toast.

  •  Ah...I see...President Obama using the (5+ / 0-)

    Scott Walker model....

    This does some pretty damaging things, at the outset. First, it pits certain Social Security recipients against others. People on Supplemental Security Income, a program from the disabled, are protected from cuts in benefits, but what about people on Social Security Disability? A 70-year-old won't be protected from the cuts, but an 80-year-old will be? And what about the point that digby makes, as usual brilliantly, that "a vast number of the elderly are barely getting by already." Most of the people on Social Security are exceedingly vulnerable.
    Don't worry...this won't really affect you...


    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:27:48 PM PST

  •  Remember the Grand Bargain? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The House Republicans skoffed at it then but are so pining for it now.

    What these "negotiations" remind me of is being offered early retirement at your job. If that ever happens to you, take it because within a year or so the company will go bankrupt leaving hangers-on in the workforce with nothing but the legal minimum.

    The Grand Bargain is now gone, this offer is much less than that but it's something. The Republicans will  hang on hoping for more but what they'll get is the fiscal cliff which is nothing.  

    Then the Democrats will put forward what they want and it will be a take or leave it situation.  Tax cuts on the first $250k of income or no tax cuts at all.

    •  What makes you think there WILL BE a pension (4+ / 0-)

      even if you take the early out?

      Romney-style management complete guts firms and then declare bankruptcy so they can abandon pensioners.

      If your company offers you that, you're screwed seven ways to Sunday and need to start looking.  IMMEDIATELY.

      If they give you $$$ to look, great, but you need something else, and SOON.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:55:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It Is Disgusting And Immoral (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marjmar, Williston Barrett

    Any, I mean any democrat in congress that votes for these cuts are in my world republicans.  The president obviously is screwing the voters (women) who voted for him.   Democrats will pay for this for years to come.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:50:01 PM PST

  •  It's even worse than it looks (7+ / 0-)

    How many of today's elderly are receiving pensions, something that will be unheard-of for my generation?  Future retirees will almost certainly rely even more on SS as their primary source of retirement income.

    The only sources of income for me in retirement will be SS and the proceeds of my 401k, which dropped 65% in one month in 2008, so who the hell knows what may be there for me when I get old.  I'm already planning to use 401k to live on until I am old enough to retire with full SS benefits, which will be 67.  I can't imagine that 401k will be more than half of my monthly income past that age, if that.

    Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

    by milton333 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:50:35 PM PST

  •  Clinton already cut SSI. CPI was changed and (12+ / 0-)

    now Seniors get ~30% less than they would have.

    It also meant that by understating inflation he could OVERSTATE GDP growth, and underpay everything that was linked to inflation: T-Bills, Seniors, etc.

    The Boskin/Greenspan argument was that when steak got too expensive, the consumer would substitute hamburger for the steak, and that the inflation measure should reflect the costs tied to buying hamburger versus steak, instead of steak versus steak. Of course, replacing hamburger for steak in the calculations would reduce the inflation rate, but it represented the rate of inflation in terms of maintaining a declining standard of living. Cost of living was being replaced by the cost of survival. The old system told you how much you had to increase your income in order to keep buying steak. The new system promised you hamburger, and then dog food, perhaps, after that.
    Besides substitution, the (then) new CPI did this:
    Over a period of several years, straight arithmetic weighting of the CPI components was shifted to a geometric weighting. The Boskin/Greenspan benefit of a geometric weighting was that it automatically gave a lower weighting to CPI components that were rising in price, and a higher weighting to those items dropping in price.
    So we've already got a CPI that underweights inflation and starves seniors.  My wife's great Aunt is one of them: age 90+ trying to get by on just over $500/mo AND foodstamps.

    Seriously, people.  We already got burnt once.  Let's not do it again.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:52:57 PM PST

  •  Memo to White House staff (0+ / 0-)

    It ain't about you.  So STFU around the media unless the President's name is on it.  And your name too.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:53:34 PM PST

  •  And what do we do when they simply don't listen? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans, Williston Barrett

    that's what I've been struggling with as an advocate for over 2 years now.

    A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:53:47 PM PST

  •  WH comment line is jammed (4+ / 0-)

    I have tried to call three times, and gotten an equipment busy.

    Guess people have some opinion on this issue.

    •  I've been calling for two days without (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdx kirk, Marjmar

      getting through.

      I want the President to say, "The people have spoken, loud and clear.  I've heard their objections, and I was elected to serve them.  Since you refuse to take this offer, I am withdrawing it.  I promised to let the tax cuts expire beyond $250,000 and to leave SS and Medicare alone.  That's what they expect of me, and that's what I'm going to do.  Take it, or leave it."

      “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” ~ Yann Martel

      by SottoVoce on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:07:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's sick and immoral (5+ / 0-)

    to fund the permanent Bush tax cuts up to 400k with money from the sick and elderly.  I don't understand what kind of man can even propose this.

    This is like government by mob bosses.  What a disgusting grab by the top into the wallets of the poor.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:03:35 PM PST

  •  I have always been an ardent (4+ / 0-)

    supporter of the President, but I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS!
    What does he hope to gain by falling back into the trap of betraying both the Democratic party and his own campaign promises, without getting anything but contempt in return?

    Please explain yourself, President Obama.  Better yet, take no for an answer, and withdraw this deal.

    “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” ~ Yann Martel

    by SottoVoce on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:05:21 PM PST

  •  It's already bad enough (6+ / 0-)

    My parents are 81 and 82 years old and get only $1400 a month in Social Security for the two of them. They were getting by with the addition of dividends all these years until the stock market meltdown, at which point they lost a lot of their basic investment and the dividends went down to zilch.

    So they've been eking by since about 2008 on just the SS pittance, until Mom blacked out and had to get medivaced to the hospital and they got huge medical bills above what Medicare will cover. Now they are struggling to pay those on top of ordinary living expenses.

    •  My father had a head on collision and was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      critically injured and in a coma. Once they stabilize the patient, they put them in something called skilled care nursing. For someone in my father's shape, it ran over $30,000 per month and Medicare only covers 3 months per year. No one can afford thirty thousand a month for 9 months out of the year.

      Few people realize until they are in a crisis like this that even with Medicare or  private insurance you can run up such horrific bills.

      They discharge you from the hospital (which is mostly covered by Medicare) and shuffle you off to skilled care as quickly as possible even when you are in terrible shape, and then you are responsible for the bills after 3 months.

      Again, most people have no idea they are so vulnerable even with insurance. My father had Medicare and two private insurance policies and he still wasn't covered for more than 3 months. And then we started paying 30,000 and more per month.

  •  How to Create a Republican for Dummies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tell a middle class senior who like most seniors is always worrying that her assets won't last long enough that you are cutting her Social Security benefit in order to give the money to the vulnerable.

  •  Get Our Money Back? (0+ / 0-)

    If the Feds do mess with SS, is there any way to get the money actually paid in back?

  •  Obamavilles. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A la Hoover, President Obama, you will have built that.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:24:30 PM PST

  •  We need a Million Geezer March (0+ / 0-)

    with civil disobedience....

    and some Hoovervilles.

    A wonderful photo opportunity for our wonderful transformational leader!

  •  Who are the "progressive economists" that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    agree with this shit deal?

    "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

    by skyounkin on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:28:32 PM PST

  •  it all boils down to this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, atana, orestes1963

    The 1% are having increasingly less use for even the fiction of democratic governance. The resource pie is shrinking, due to climate change and the end of cheap fossil fuel energy. Everyone is scrambling to get their piece of it.

    The elites need to seize as much of what's left as they can, and that means imposing austerity on everyone else. Democracy can't be allowed to get in the way of that, which is why both the Democratic and Republican parties have been bought off to ensure their compliance with the austerity agenda. Elections cannot be permitted to derail it.

    No matter how this last election came out, we were going to get cuts. The choice was between Obamausterity and Romneysterity, that's all.

    Obamausterity has the bonus that no matter how this comes out, even if the anti-austerity faction of the Democratic party wins this battle (highly unlikely), the Dems will be badly divided and easy prey for the Republicans in 2016. It's a win-win for the 1%. And that's why they let Obama win this time.

    When it's convenient, in 2016, they'll put in a Republican to fully consolidate the gains the 1% have made from stripping the assets of the public sphere under Obama, and to defend those gains against attempts by the 99% to recover them. This project will require authoritarian leaders who are willing and eager to use naked force on a wide scale against American citizens. For that purpose, the Republicans are unquestionably the better choice.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:29:42 PM PST

    •  Thing is, this extractive model is unsustainable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and the smarter ones among them know it. The US can't remain economically viable on such a trajectory in which little is made and most wealth is simply reallocated upwards. So either the smarter ones don't have the stomach to fight the dumber ones among them, or else they've resigned themselves to securing their share of the pie before it all comes crashing down.

      This is what most galls me. That the US was founded and has ALWAYS been run by elites is a given. No serious student of US history could dispute that. Sure, there have been periods of greater shared prosperity, but it was always skewed upwards and even during such times elites ran the show.

      But for most of our history, certain notable periods excepted, these elites ran things both smartly and fairly, more or less. They did this both out of a sense of social obligation (well, some of them, at least), and because they knew that this was necessary to maintain peace, order and prosperity and protect the value of their wealth. I'm talking about people like Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln, TR, etc., who were aligned with elites but looked out for everyone.

      But during certain periods, including our own, the elites stopped caring or lost sight of this, going from an upwardly-skewed but still reasonably fair allocation of wealth, prosperity and growth, to an upwardly-skewed but increasingly unfair, and thus unsustainable, allocation of wealth, prosperity and growth. When they did this, the result was always the same: economic collapse, which hurt them as much as everyone else, as the value of their wealth plunged.

      Well, this is what's happening now, so you'd think that enough of them would be smart and disciplined enough to do something about it before the true crash comes. Perhaps that's what Obama believes that he's doing. Or, maybe, he's with the irresponsible elites and could care less that this is unsustainable because when things crash he'll be ok. I don't know and I can't tell. But even if he's trying to do the right thing and believes that he is, I don't see it.

      And that's the thing. Whether Obama is selling us out or is genuinely trying to fix things, I have no faith in how he's trying to do it. Not so much in terms of policy. He's been reasonably good there. But in terms of politics. The way that he's trying to implement what he appears to believe is good policy (putting aside whether it is good policy or not) is politically foolish, because it helps the GOP and hurts Dems. And there is simply no path to a better future that isn't through a dominant Democratic party. None. I so believe this to be true that I'm willing to put policy aside for now until the party is strong enough to implement truly good policy without having to bargain with Repubs.

      Obama, though, is doing the opposite, pursuing short to mid-term policy gains through long-term political self-destruction. A piss-poor bargain IMO.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:54:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yawn. (0+ / 0-)

    Hurricane Sandy wrecked New York City and the Jersey Shore. And here we are, talking about Social Security, not climate change.

    A mentally deranged shooter killed his paranoid mother, stole her guns, and executed 18 schoolchildren. And here we are, talking about Social Security, not gun control.

    How about instead of demanding this-or-that policy on the deficit, taxes, Social Security, etc., we demand our politicians and news media shut the fuck up and stop talking about what's in America's Quicken.

    We're living in challenging times, literally shooting and drowning ourselves to death. But even on the left, we're just letting ourselves get sucked into shit that does not matter one bit. It makes me sick.

    •  Social Security cuts don't matter one bit? (3+ / 0-)

      Perhaps not to you, which is why no one should take you seriously on even the stuff you claim to care about. You're obviously clueless about the issues.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:37:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reread what I wrote. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My point is this: Progressives are not driving the conversation. If we were, Obama and Congress would be falling over each other to come up with proposals on climate and gun control. Social Security would not change because it would not be considered an issue that's up for debate or discussion. The issues that should be up for discussion are being ignored, and things that should be left alone (notably: Social Security and our legislative norms around the debt ceiling) become bargaining chips. If progressives were driving the conversation, Social Security would be secure.

        Also, "You're obviously clueless about the issues"? I have a New Years resolution for you. Promise yourself to learn how to have productive conversations with people who largely agree with you by not stooping to say such things.

        •  Apologies for having misunderstood you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steve Simitzis

          My irony detector was broken, I guess. It's just that this is one of those issues on which I refuse to acknowledge a legitimate opposite side, because of what they imply, and get pretty antsy when I think I've come across one.

          Both my parents rely on SS for survival these days. Literally.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 10:16:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            My mom is also on Social Security (and, unfortunately, is a Tea Partier – but I don't hold it against her) and is still having to work. Definitely don't want to see changes made, I'm just frustrated that these are kind of things we're debating: policies that should be settled issues, but progressive voices aren't strong enough to set the conversation in the first place.

    •  Not being able to afford meds and healthy food (4+ / 0-)

      makes me sick too. Sorry but there are actual people who are harmed by Obama's Social Security cave.

  •  I feel stunned and betrayed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MacJimi, KLM

    Both Obama and Biden both promised to leave Social Security alone. I'm disabled and simply can't go out and earn more. No matter what the fed says, the cost of staying alive NEVER goes down. We gave this guy a victory with a mandate and he turned around and caved without nary a shot from the republicants.

    Speaking of republicants, they are all about the 'ol "slippery slope" theory when it comes to gun control. They're all about the 'ol slippery slope when it comes to Social Security and Medicare too. If you don't think the republicants don't have a long term plan to underfund then ultimately privatize or eliminate Social Security and this is the first step in that process, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

    Obama and his advisors can't be that stupid. This is a sign of just what his worldview is; get the deal done and deal with the consequences later. He promised not to include Social Security in the debt talks. Evidently, he lied.

  •  All I can say is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the President negotiates on gun control the way he's going on Social Security, more schoolyards will be littered with the results.

    No, Mr. President: we don't want compromise; we want the conviction of principled leadership.

  •  obama has just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    joined the gop in dividing americans against one another, the election is over so he can get on with the right of center agenda he has favored all along, wolf in sheeps clothing applies here as with others in wash.

  •  This is sad. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We have here a whole anthill of excited people who assume that Obama can simply walk into negotiations, dictate his terms, and force them to be accepted. That he can be Grant at Appomattox, and Boner will be content to play Lee.

    What they ignore -- we can't say forget, it's willful ignorance -- is that the Democrats do not control the House of Representatives.

    Half of the Legislative Branch is still under the control of the Republican Party. How do you propose to deal with that?

    Bully pulpit? Yes, of course, Republicans always yield to the eloquence of a Democratic president. Not.

    Public opinion? It means precisely nothing at this point. The House isn't up for election for two years. There is no recall in the Federal Government. There is no initiative process. There is no reason why any of the Republican majority in the House should do anything with petitions and appeals other than to wipe their arses with them.

    Doing nothing? I agree the "fiscal cliff" is more like a molehill, and that going "over" it wouldn't be the end of the world. Calling it a "cliff" was just an attempt to magnify its importance. But there's also the debt limit. Insane, I know, but unless you think Obama can get away with a finagle like a trillion-dollar coin, the Republicans can wreck the credit of the United States at will. They wouldn't dare, you say? Dream on. Their backs are against the wall. Demographics are against them. They either wield power now, or never. And their backers in the business community know that. It's positively pathetic seeing people here say that the rich men behind the Republican party wouldn't allow a default to happen. Since when have progressives hung their hopes on the benevolence of rich men? In a game of power, they can well afford to take a financial hit, even a huge one. It's not as if they will be out on the street begging afterwards.

    So, I suggest that if you don't like concessions on Social Security, that you state what you're willing for Obama to trade to get the Republicans to concede. It's a negotiation, and in negotiation, both sides give something.

    The essence of not having all the power is not being able to make all the decisions. And no matter what the Sturm und Drang here, unless someone can suggest a way to turn at least seventeen of the Republicans in the House, that's what you're stuck with.

    And if something has to be traded, better to trade a concession that will make little difference in the next few years. Then you can plan to take back the House, and throw the whole thing out. It's called a tactical retreat, and it's what you do when you don't have enough force to prevail directly. And as of now, you don't.

    Oh, you say the changes will be "permanent"? What rubbish. Not even the Constitution is "permanent" in that sense. A law is by its nature changeable. What you're saying is that you don't trust your representatives to change it back when they have the power. But if you don't think you can prevail in that situation, say in 2014 where a demand to reverse the changes in exchange for your votes might actually have some force, why do you think you have any power in this one, where none of the participants have to face the electorate for another two years? And if you swear not to vote or to vote third party, why should anyone give a damn about your opinions?

    The American people will turn on the Democrats for this "betrayal"? Not likely. The vast majority of the American people, those who live in the real world, that is, have some experience with negotiations and the give and take they entail. I suspect most of them managed to stay awake in their civics classes too, and understand the limits on any party's or any president's actions when the opposition controls part of the government. They don't blow up their trade unions when the union doesn't get every single thing it wants in a negotiation. Why should they blow up the Democratic party for not getting 100% when it doesn't have 100% of the power?

    As I've said before, sometimes the commentary here tells me all I need to know about the reason that the United States has the weakest and most uninfluential left wing in the entire developed world. You refuse to deal with the situation as it stands and make the best of it. Instead, you construct fantasies of superhero powers for your leaders, and become furious when reality won't bend to your will. As V said in V for Vendetta, if you want to see the people most to blame for the mess, just look in the mirror.

    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

    by sagesource on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:11:31 PM PST

  •  I counldn't count the number of times I received (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    an email, text, or robo call from Obama asking me to contribute.  

    However, he apparently doesn't have the technology for me to leave a message on the WH comment line.  Funny how that works.

    I was tempted to donate to him, but to my credit I didn't.  I knew he was talking BS just to get re-elected.

    There is no honor in voting for the lesser of two evils, especially when the difference between them is shrinking every day.

    What's the use of electing more Democrats if they're not better Democrats? Elect BETTER Democrats and the MORE will take care of itself.

    by MacJimi on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:15:15 PM PST

  •  You know what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MacJimi, SparkyGump, vacantlook

    I'm getting so sick of this. I get most of my income from Social Security. I've been in the workforce for more than 50 years. The only reason I'm not in true poverty is because one skinny little company still gives me some work, and they could go out of business.

    I'm 68. My niece and nephew, in their 50s, are respectively homeless/couch-surfing and working construction. Don't cut mine, don't cut theirs, don't cut anybody's.


    I suddenly started a blog.

    by JG in MD on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:17:45 PM PST

  •  I am with you on this (0+ / 0-)

    phone calls and letters are in order. However, I will always vote for the democratic party's candidates.

    The Democrats now own everything from the center right to the far left. the republicans and the filthy robberbarons occupy the extreme right fringe.

    by longtimelurker on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:19:59 PM PST

  •  let me just say, (0+ / 0-)

    john boehner is a fool and so is norquist, mcconnell, cantor, and their cohorts.

    The Democrats now own everything from the center right to the far left. the republicans and the filthy robberbarons occupy the extreme right fringe.

    by longtimelurker on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:26:19 PM PST

  •  Chained CPI and a DEmocratic President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    first let's be clear on the chained CPI. I received an inflation adjusted increase of my SS of $9, after having my premiums raised by $5,  while my wife paid an increased premium of $5 and her SS increase was $1. With a chained CPI would I have gotten a reduction?
    But needless to say since the Republicans scored a substantial victory in the election and now have a mandate to destroy the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the middle class our DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT had no choice but to quickly and preemptively move to the right and do what no Democratic President in history has done, slash SS benefits. And of course Pelosi as well as Reid and 90% of the Democratic Party will as Pelosi said, line up behind the President and agree to fuck over their core constituencies.

  •  Social Security benefits, like COLA and CPI, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should have progressive formulas that lift the low-end recipients.

    Regressive on top of regressive is balancing the budget on the backs of low income grandmas.

    Why aren't they talking about eliminating the SS payroll tax cap if they want to "strengthen" Social Security?

    •  Exactly! Then SS is Fixed For 75 years (0+ / 0-)

      It's not even part of the conversation!!!

      Just get rid of that one loophole, which allows millionaires to stop paying their taxes in February, and the whole problem is solved.

      How in the world can this not be part of the negotiations?  I mean, if you're going to kill old people by taking away their money for medicine, can't you at least raise the tax cap in exchange for the slaughter?

  •  you're more optimistic than I (0+ / 0-)

    eventually one of these attacks is going to work and severely damage Social Security. Obama does appear determined to hit SS in a significant way. we can't hold him off forever.

    Shout golden shouts!

    by itsbenj on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:02:16 PM PST

  •  No Go (0+ / 0-)

    There's no excuse for messing with Social Security, unless you're going to strengthen it by increasing the employer contribution. Since they've gotten the benefits of worker productivity increases for the last few decades, they can afford to pay more.

    When people start talking about changing Social Security, that's what I think of. I think about how the employers have been getting off easier each year and how the continuing trade deficit robs the Social Security fund of tens of billions of dollars each decade. I think about how we have lost huge swaths of our jobs and wages have been held down by foreign competition, and how much that's hurt the Social Security fund.

    And I want something in return. I want increases and I want tariffs and I want an international minimum wage. That's what I want to make changes to. It won't fix the federal deficit because Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, but it would help the economy, and THAT would help with the deficit.

    Why do we have to put up with politicians this stupid? Don't they ever listen to their constituents? Do they have no clue how these things work? What country did they grow up in that they don't have the most fundamental ideas about how our retirement programs work? Are they plain incapable of using the Internet?


    I'm working on the next crop. Maybe they'll be better.

  •  Not only do women earn less, they're more (0+ / 0-)

    likely to take time off from work to care for children and/or other family members.  Years that are averaged in as zeroes when it comes time to calculate their benefit.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:55:49 PM PST

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