More than 300 economists, policy experts and civic leaders have signed a statement warning political leaders of “a grave danger” that the still-fragile economic recovery will be undercut by austerity economics of the kind being pushed by conservative politicians and by the White House deficit commission. Read the statement and related commentary on the critical choices we must make to revive the economy.
No doubt Republicans know the fight over extending the payroll tax is one they could lose. Thus, they've pivoted away from opposing the extension, and have presented a plan of their own — one that Timothy Noah says the Democrats should be willing to work with because it "doesn't stink."
Well, in my experience, just because you can't smell something doesn't mean it doesn't sink. Some things "pass the smell test" because of a faulty sniffer; not because they don't stink. And the GOP's payroll tax plan does so stink.
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In an open letter to the President this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders mentioned "worriesome reports" that the President is planning to cut Social Security. These reports don't come out of the blue. They're the culmination of a months-long campaign. The White House has been privately signalling for months that it was leaning in that direction, and now the sky over Washington is darkening with trial balloons floating up from Pennsylvania Avenue.
Before you make such a disastrous and unwarranted move, Mr. President, there's someone I think you should meet. Actually, you may have run into him before: He's a skinny guy with an keen analytical mind and a gift for brilliant oratory. Sound familiar? He ran for President last time around, and he had some very sensible things to say about Social Security: more »
Sen. John McCain's comment last week that it's an "absolute disgrace" that current workers pay for the Social Security benefits of current retirees was bad enough, but the conservative policy alternative, and the fear-mongering that comes with it, is even worse. Here's how to attack it.
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We need to make it possible for all Americans to retire with dignity at the end of a lifetime of work. That means protecting Social Security and mandating corporations treat their employees the same as their executives when it comes to health and retirement benefits.
As conservatives relentlessly demand more and more spending cuts in their crusade to impose austerity on our economy, they have fixated on cuts to benefits offered by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – the core pillars of family security. One particularly noxious idea is the "chained CPI.” It is a political trick, not a technical fix. It is a hidden benefit cut that would shackle seniors with lower benefits and thus less security over time. Here are seven reasons shackling seniors and the disabled with a chained CPI is just plain wrong.
When you tell people some proposals for fixing it, they a) overwhelmingly choose to fund it more generously and b) decide that the program actually does not face any sort of crisis at all. A marketing firm hired by the National Academy of Social Insurance surveyed a random sampling of Americans and discovered that what people want is to raise taxes on rich (and regular!) people in order to fund more Social Security benefits, which is a good idea because the program is currently pretty stingy by international standards and Americans don’t actually have pensions anymore. Deficit fear-mongering succeeded in getting 57 percent of survey respondents to believe that Social Security is a “crisis or significant problem,” until they learned that minor tax increases would make it totally sustainable for 75 years, at which point 74 percent of Americans were like “Oh, really? Then it seems fine, why don’t they ever put it like that on the news.” more »
The "chained" CPI is a Social Security benefit cut (not an innocuous "adjustment"), and the majority of voters understand this, with 55% opposing this policy proposal. A new poll, Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want? from the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), highlights working people's opposition to benefit cuts, including the "chained" CPI, which reduces the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). A large majority, 64%, thought the COLA should be increased to better protect seniors and other beneficiaries from inflation and rising prices of food, utilities and other necessities.
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Here we go again. more »
Anyone who has read The Shock Doctrine understands exactly what this "Fiscal Cliff" scare is. more »
When it comes to politics, it ain’t over ’til its’ over. And even then it may not be over. With the presidential election just days away, the contest remains close enough to ensure some jangled nerves and nail-biting among Republicans and Democrats. Still, the latest news and numbers should give President President Barack Obama a boost as he delivers his closing argument to voters.
Should Obama emerge the victor when the dust settles after Tuesday, his closing argument will become the winning message. And voters convinced to reward Obama with a second term on the strength of that message will — and should — expect him to live up to its vision and promise.
If you support strong and effective government, then the unfamiliar glow you felt after last Thursday's debate was the satisfaction of seeing your opinions forcefully defended by a national candidate. There hasn't been much of that going on lately. But a deceptive question was asked in the Vice Presidential debate, while other important ones still haven't been asked of any national candidate. more »
Man, that felt good. And it was fun, too. Vice President Joe Biden certainly looked like he was having a good time. In fact, Republicans' biggest complain seems to be that Biden was having too much fun. He laughed too much. That Republicans can't find much to attack in what Biden said during the debate — or much to defend about what Paul Ryan said — speaks volumes about the difference between the two major parties.
That difference was reflected in the two men who represented the parties last night, and how they each came to be there.Joe Biden was chosen to be on the Democratic ticket because of what he knows. Paul Ryan was chosen to be on the Republican ticket because of what he believes. That was the "BFD" of the VP debate. And the "D" is for "difference."
I think President Obama spoke the best line in the debate last night. Call it a "zinger" if you want.
"If you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen."
Again and again Mitt Romney talked about how under his Medicare plan there would be no changes for "current retirees." He stressed that, without explaining what that means. more »
They call it the "fiscal cliff," but it's Social Security that's going to be pushed over it, unless we speak out now.
The forces of austerity in Washington are using the prospect of automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year to pressure Congress into a "grand bargain," slashing Social Security benefits in the name of deficit reduction.