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I felt like this diary on the reclist needed an answer.

This goes to the foundation of what being a progressive means. This isn't about what I, OllieGarkey, say a progressive is, this is about our history and our founding principles. I really cannot believe that I have to go back to these basics, but that's where we are right now.

There are few things that are sacred to Democrats, as we generally believe in progress, and sacred cows tend to stand in the way of progress. There are, however, a few beliefs and ideas that are foundational to both the Democratic party, and the Progressive movement. The New Deal is one of them. That means social security, and the view that individuals, not corporations, have a certain economic rights.

As a Democrat and a Progressive, I eventually want to see a version of the second bill of rights enshrined in our constitution. It's an expansion of the four freedoms, which FDR put out in his 1941 inaugural address. Quick and simple, one of our foundational ideas as progressives is that there are four fundamental freedoms that everyone ought to enjoy: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. As listed, the economic bill of rights included the rights to employment with a living wage; to freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; to housing; to medical care; to education; and the right to social security.

This is as fundamental to the Democratic party and the progressive movement as it is possible to get.

And yet today we have a Democratic president proposing cuts that would affect seniors to a program that is part of our foundational values.

That is completely unacceptable.

If the republicans want cuts to social security, then the onus is on them to come up with cuts which are palatable enough to pass the senate.

Democrats should have the stance that any cut to social security, with the exception of trimming some fat, should be seen as unacceptable. And to make what I mean by trimmable fat completely clear, if there is any waste, fraud, or abuse of the social security system, get rid of it. Any cuts which would reduce the amount that seniors receive which is already far too little is completely unacceptable.

If this is what the Republicans want, Democrats should not in any way be helping them do it.

If our values and our history as a movement mean anything at all, then we shouldn't be helping the republicans sell out seniors.

Right now is a time to stop an ask what the hell we're doing. Are we really going to be the Quislings who help the Koch brothers take another step forward in their attempt to turn America into a debtridden backwater?

If that's what we're about, if that's what we're willing to do, then this entire enterprise which is the progressive movement is a waste of time. If we're willing to help the Koch brothers and their allies out by proposing policies that help them gut our social services then why bother fighting at all? We're not actually standing up to them, we're just fighting over the pace of their takeover of our country.

So yes, a Democrat proposing any policy which results in cuts to social security benefits for seniors is a huge a betrayal our values as Progressives and as Democrats.

Furthermore, it's politically stupid. Social Security is the third rail of American Politics. If the republicans want to go handling that thing, let them. The people who vote for them are all on social security anyway. Making Democrats look like we're Republican Lite is absolutely not the way to win those voters to the democratic party. If we turn the next two years into a fight over social security, we can take the house back, and take back state Governorships and legislatures. And then we'll really be able to get something done.

We just have to have enough backbone to stand up for our values.

11:08 AM PT: FDR's remarks on the Second Bill of Rights:


Originally posted to Writing by Will McLeod: A Better World is Possible on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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