Last night, the President pledged to improve Social Security "without putting at risk current retirees" and "without slashing benefits for future generations." With the State of the Union speech out of the way Progressives can claim some credit and breathe a little bit easier for a while. But the fight is not over -- it never is. The door is still open for new attacks. And Social Security's attackers never, ever, ever, ever give up.
Demonstrating that, Ross Douthat in the NY Times calls President Obama's statement of support for Social Security "evasion," lamenting the “looming insolvency of our entitlement system.” Others in the "conventional wisdom" machine continue to demand cuts to ward off the threat of future cuts, claiming the cuts will "save" the system from cuts.
There is one and only one reason Social Security is such a topic of discussion and that is because it is a target of the corporate-conservatives who denigrate government itself. Social Security is government, therefore it just can't be true that it works well, helps people and is the right thing to do. But it is. All the facts line up on Social Secuirty’s side, so they have to use trickery. They have to claim "insolvency." They have to claim that life expectancy is longer now -- even though they are referring to the effect of infant morality on statistics.
If Social Security's attackers truly want to "save" entitlements they would address the cost of health care in this country. They would look at the rest of the world and realize that the only thing that can work for that is some form of Medicare-For-All.
I'm glad that he said he didn't want "fixing" Social Security to come at the expense of the vulnerable or by restricting benefits, but like the AARP I think danger lurks in the fact that he spoke about it in the context of deficit reduction. Best to be vigilant on this one.
By the way:
You did it! You helped the Campaign for America's Future sound the alarm to President Barack Obama that he must embrace jobs, not Social Security cuts. And he got the message. But the fight isn't over. And we need your help to keep fighting.