Obama and social safety nets

There is a lot of posting on the proposed budget (out next week) from our President focusing on his insistence of including the cuts to Social Security benefits as part of the 11 dimensional chess game analogy Beltway convention likes to applaud. How clever of them. Yves Smith gives us an impassioned declaration of outrage over the ‘chained cpi’ proposal our President insists on proposing as part of a grand bargain that is sold as a benefit to all Americans. 
Angry Bear certainly has many, many posts on the state of health of the Social Security program and reasonable alternatives if you care to tackle why we say it is healthy (all companies and programs need adjusting over time as conditions change….few prove out over so long a time).  I happen to have the opinion the fixing is a preferred policy action by the President and not so much a political strategy.

Obama not standing up to radical right attempting to undo America’s Social Insurance ProgramObama seemed to get a spine for a brief time around the State of the Union address. But he just can’t seem to maintain a strong progressive position–too easily swayed by the Wall Street bunch that run his Treasury or just not understanding what is required to keep his base voting for him. If he treats Social Security–which doesn’t have anything to do with the deficit–as one of the cards he can “trade” to the right-wing Republican crowd for some kind of a “grand deal” (of undefined necessity), he will destroy the gains of Roosevelt’s New Deal for petty concessions from the entrenched GOP that intends to dismantle the New Deal.

Obama has been threatening to include chained CPI as one of his own budget recommendations. This is foolhardy. For those who depend on Social Security, which they have paid into all their working lives, reducing benefits–which is what moving to chained CPI does–is nothing short of betrayal.
Robert Reich is urging people to sign onto a MoveOn petition to Obama to make clear that we understand the importance of holding firm against the radical right’s attempt to dismantle the New Deal. I’ve reproduced the letter and link, below.
From: Robert Reich
Date: Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Subject: Mr. President, don’t hurt seniors with your Chained CPI

Social Security is not driving the deficit, therefore it should not be part of reforms aimed at cutting the deficit. The chained CPI, deceptively portrayed as a reasonable cost of living adjustment, is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors.
There are several sensible reforms to Social Security that should be considered to help make it sustainable, including lifting the ceiling on income subject to Social Security from $113,700 to $200,000 or more, as well as instituting a 1% raise in the payroll tax rate, a rate that hasn’t changed in over 20 years.

Both of these reforms would go a long way toward protecting the long-term health of Social Security, but neither should not be conflated with efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit.

President Obama needs to stand by his Democratic principles and fight to protect Social Security benefits.

That’s why I created a petition on SignOn.org to President Barack Obama, which says:
Mr. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors—it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president. If you want to reform Social Security, make the wealthy pay their fair share by lifting the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes.
Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.


–Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
This petition was created on SignOn.org, the progressive, nonprofit petition site. SignOn.org is sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, which is not responsible for the contents of this or other petitions posted on the site. Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.