As we fly off the so-called fiscal cliff New York Times columnist Paul Krugman defends the Dems by saying, ” The reality is that President Obama has made huge concessions. He has already cut spending sharply, and has now offered additional big spending cuts, including a cut in Social Security benefits, while signaling his willingness to retain many of the Bush tax cuts, even for people with very high incomes. Taken as a whole, the president’s proposals are arguably to the right of those made by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of his deficit commission, in 2010.”
No doubt Krugman is accurate in how “reasonable” Obama is willing to be. Obama is reportedly ready to keep the enormous tax cuts for almost all of the rich. The only ones who would see small increases would be those with taxable income over $400,000. That’s not the 1%. It’s only the ¼ of 1 percent, very successful lawyers, cardiologists, the head of Teach for America, etc., etc. (This writer says it’s a bit more…7/10th of 1 percent.)
And down our end he’s ready to cut Social Security! He would start the process of chipping away at the formerly untouchable Social Security. It should be untouchable. For millions of seniors it’s their only pension. ( A third of retirees receive 90% or more of their income from Social Security,)The average payment is just $1,229 a month. Social Security adds not one penny to the national debt. It’s a fund all by itself and right now it’s running a surplus, yes a surplus, of $2.7 trillion
Obama would cut Social Security by changing the way increases are figured when prices go up. For decades they’ve used the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Some geniuses have decided that’s too generous. Right now if the price of hamburger goes up 2% the CPI says the price has gone up by 2%. However, say the bright guys, if prices are going up people would often go to lower cuts of meat or scrap the burger and just have a bit of meat sauce. They never actually pay out more money and so they don’t really need any raise! Brilliant thinking. Outgoing Congressman Kucinich has pointed out that this could go on until seniors start eating cat food for Christmas.
After some stalling AFL-CIO head Trumka has called on Obama to take Social Security cuts off the table, but if you go to the AFL-CIO website you don’t get any sense of urgency. I had to find out Trumka’s position on Fox News. Why isn’t he bringing people out into the streets?
Back in 1998 when Clinton was ready to “save” Social Security by by cutting it Monica Lewinsky came to our rescue. This time we might not be so lucky.