fresh voices from the front lines of change







The White House deficit commission is expected to vote Wednesday, Dec. 1 on a final report of recommendations. And it will likely not be much different than the draft released by its co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

Bowles said last week: “We aren’t going to make it softer than it is today. It’s going to be a tough report. If we get 14 votes, great. If we don’t, then by God, we’ll put it out there.” (14 out of 18 is needed to trigger an agreement with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to vote on the recommendations.)

Though today’s Washington Post reports: “Bowles and Simpson are rewriting their plan to accommodate the concerns of commission members, though the two insist, in Simpson’s words, that it will not be watered down to ‘mush’ for the sake of winning votes.”

That was an odd sentence in a W. Post report that claimed we already had a “consensus” for what Simpson-Bowles are offering. It’s a strange consensus that doesn’t have the votes in hand, let alone any obvious support from the broader public, as my colleague Dave Johnson observed.

Simpson and Bowles, with the help of certain media outlets, will likely to try to spin their proposal as a “consensus” policy even though it is very likely not to get the needed 14 votes.

It’s up to us now to show Washington that there is no consensus to cut Social Security when Social Security is fiscally sound and does not contribute one penny to the deficit. In fact, it’s the opposite of consensus, it’s opposition.

Please sign our petition to President Barack Obama, which reads:

Please reject the proposal by the co-chairs of your deficit commission to slash Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age.

Social Security has its own financing and does not contribute one dime to deficit. Social Security has successfully provided secure retirements for 75 years. It is fiscally sound and will never go bankrupt. Yes, work to bring down deficits and spur economic recovery, but don’t cut Social Security, which contributes nothing to the deficit.

I’m also worried that if you embrace proposals to cut Social Security, you will continue to lose seniors and anger future retirees whose retirement security has just been hit hard by the recession. And losing that support would endanger your re-election chances and the rest of your agenda for change.

You have continually fought to protect and strengthen Social Security. Don’t stop now.

Now is the time to speak up, and make sure the President does not embrace anything along the lines of what Simpson and Bowles are peddling.

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