fresh voices from the front lines of change







Retiring U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-No Shame, TX) today unveiled a plan to steal Social Security from Americans by cutting their benefits and lying to them about it. In a release and fact sheet with more holes than a piece of swiss cheese in front of Dick Cheney on a hunting trip, Hutchison claims not to cut any “core benefits” in Social Security, but cutting those benefits is exactly what she does, and she cuts them by at least 13% or more. She gave her bill the great, blatantly full of rodeo bull manure title of the Defend and Save Social Security Act. This bill wouldn’t save and defend Social Security in the least. Even the most casual observer can tell the bill would more aptly be named the Attempted Murder of Social Security Act.

Hutchison wrote a letter to Vice President Biden’s deficit commission too. In it she said “I am concerned that Social Security reform must be part of the debt ceiling.” Leaving the bad grammar in that sentence aside, Social Security hasn’t contributed one penny to the deficit since by law it cannot do so.

Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a champion for Social Security said “Social Security has never added a dime to the deficits but Senator Hutchison’s plan would force massive benefit cuts on retired Americans in an effort to reduce the deficits created by the unfunded Bush tax cuts, the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economic recession.”

Becerra’s office also said:

According to the Social Security Actuary, Senator Hutchison’s plan would result in the following:

  • No COLA this year
  • Cuts in COLA benefits in future years affecting current seniors: $408-$540 per year
  • Cuts in benefits by raising the retirement age: $2,000-$2,700 per year
  • Total cuts in future benefits per middle income worker: $2,400-$3,600 per year

Last week Pete Sessions, chairman of the Republican House campaign committee released a plan that would privatize Social Security, just a few years after the stock market collapsed, and just six years after fellow Texan President Bush released a privatization plan that sunk so gloriously it made the Titanic look like a tea party. Sessions’ privatization scheme is a gift to Wall Street’s greediest players, who he’s depending on to raise money for his candidates. His bill is called the Savings Account For Every American (SAFE) Act. The only thing safe about it would be a bet that it fails.

I once knew a Texan from El Paso whose demeanor was the same as Hutchison’s and Sessions on these bills. He smiled like a happy little kid when he spoke to anyone who might help him out. He’d talk about how he wanted to work hard, then go skip out on any promises he’d made. I finally realized that almost every time he showed that smile, he’d be lying right through it and didn’t care one bit. Sessions and Senator Hutchison are smiling that lying smile on Social Security. They’re talking about saving the program that in reality they want to kill dead. But thankfully their aim stinks and Americans know it.

Today Gallup put out a new poll in which 66% of Americans say they’re worried about not having enough money for retirement. So while the vast majority of Americans worry about having enough money to live out their golden years these two Washington politicians with Wall Street friends put out bills with great names that strip Americans of their retirement security. No wonder so many of us are worried.

108 miles southeast of Dallas is Anderson County, which has a life expectancy of 69.8 years for their men. 18 Texas counties have life expectancies of under 72 years for males. Most Americans are not living longer, and according to a study from the University of Washington “large swaths of the United States are showing decreasing or stagnating life expectancy.” So why introduce a bill that increases the retirement age for Social Security?

For the 2012 election cycle, every Republican running for office who takes a dime from the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) that Sessions heads should be asked by voters and their opponents whether they support their campaign chief’s plan to privatize Social Security.

Most political candidates know that Americans don’t want Social Security privatized or benefits cut. But Republican and Democratic candidates must take the right position on these issues or face the wrath of the voters. So make sure to ask Republicans who take any money or advice from the NRCC if they support their campaign chief’s Wall Street plan to privatize Social Security and his Senator’s plan to take away our benefits. If the candidates don’t take a stand, that’s as good as saying they support privatizing Social Security and cutting our benefits.

If they’re going to kill Social Security, they’re going to have to get it by voters, not just by Wall Street, and they should know better than to think so poorly of all of us who don’t work on Wall Street.

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