I’ve been meaning to get to this topic for a while, but with the G.O.P. currently predicted to take control of the U.S. House, if not the Senate, I plan to join the folks over at Campaign for America’s Future and focus a bit of my energies over the next week or so talking about Social Security… and what the Republicans and their wealthy patrons plan to do to it, should they be given the chance.
Of course, it’s one thing to be against something — like the privatization “reforms” nearly every Republican congressional nominee in Washington supports, even if they refuse to clearly say so on the record — but I thought it best to start out by stating some core principles that I would hope all of the Democratic incumbents and challengers in this year’s election would support:
- Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion, which it has loaned to the federal government. Social Security did not cause the federal deficit. Its benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit.
- Social Security, which has stood the test of time, should not be privatized in whole or in part.
- Social Security is insurance and should not be means-tested. Because workers pay for it, they should receive it regardless of their income or savings.
- Social Security is fully funded for more than 25 years; thereafter it has sufficient funds to meet 75 percent of promised benefits. To reassure Americans that Social Security will be there for them, Congress should act in the coming few years outside the context of deficit reduction to close this funding gap by requiring those who are most able to afford it to pay somewhat more.
- Social Security’s retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further. That would be a benefit cut that places the greatest hardship on older Americans who are in physically demanding jobs, or are otherwise unable to find or keep employment.
- Social Security, whose average benefit is $13,000 in 2010, provides vital protection against the loss of wages as the result of disability, death, or old age. Those benefits should not be reduced, including by changes to the cost of living adjustment or the benefit formula.
- Social Security’s benefits should be increased for those who are most disadvantaged. The benefits, which are very important to virtually all workers and their families, are particularly crucial to those who are disadvantaged.
You can read more about these Seven Principles at StrengthenSocialSecurity.org.
Also at the website you will find a list of the 136 members of Congress who have already signed on to the Grijalva-Conyers-Maffei Letter to President Obama, pledging their strong support for the principles above. FYI, Seattle’s own Rep. Jim McDermott is the only Washington state representative to sign the letter thus far.
I hope to change that.
But mostly I plan to use these posts to expose our state’s Republican congressional slate’s plans to undermine and weaken Social Security in the cynical name of “fixing” it.
[Disclosure: Campaign for America’s Future is paying me a small stipend in exchange for cross-posting at their site. But everybody who knows me knows that I only advocate for candidates, campaigns and issues that I believe in.]