Say No to Cuts to Social Security

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

President Obama formerly released his budget for 2014. As, expected it contained the cuts to Social Security and Medicare that have are an anathema to the left. As has been pointed out before on this site, these proposals for the sake a few dollars in revenue increases and a paltry $50 billion investment for infrastructure improvement. That is bad policy and even worse politics. If you don’t believe that, well here is a sample of the criticism from the right:

Americans for Tax Reform, the advocacy group that asks lawmakers to sign a formal “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” said Tuesday that chained CPI violates the pledge.

“Chained CPI as a stand-alone measure (that is, not paired with tax relief of equal or greater size) is a tax increase and a Taxpayer Protection Pledge violation,” the group said in a blog post.

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, leader of the organization, criticized the policy via Twitter on Wednesday. “Chained CPI is a very large tax hike over time,” Norquist wrote. “Hence Democrat interest in same.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates (pdf) that chained CPI would reduce Social Security spending by $127 billion and increase tax revenue by $123 billion over 10 years.

When asked Friday if chained CPI represents a tax hike on the middle class, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “I’m not disputing that.

Can you hear the political ads attacking Democrats with this? So much for electoral victory in 2014, Obama just sold that prospect for what? Trying to make the point that Republicans are intransigent? American already know that. A few dollars of revenue from tax reforms that will be changed the first chance the Republicans get, like the debt ceiling hostage situation? We seen this scene played out how many times with Obama caving to Republican demands because some vague fear about the economy.

Predictably the left is outraged and there are threats from left wing organizations to primary any Democrat who votes for chained CPI.

A party rift on Obama budget

Warren joins lawmakers in criticizing Obama budget

A coalition of prominent Democrats, including many from New England, slammed President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget blueprint Wednesday for its proposed changes to the Social Security payment formula and Medicare, opening a widening rift between the president and members of his own party.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said she was shocked by Obama’s proposal to recalculate the cost of living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries by linking it to a different version of the Consumer Price Index, known as the “chained CPI.” [..]

“In short, ‘chained CPI’ is just a fancy way to say ‘cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans,'” Warren fired off in an e-mail to supporters. She related the experience of her brother, David Herring, a military veteran and former small business owner who lives on monthly Social Security checks of $1,100. “Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle-class families,” she wrote, “and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.” [..]

Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts called “chained CPI” an abbreviation for “Cutting People’s Income, a wrong-headed change that would go back on the promise we make to our senior citizens.”

“Tea Party Republicans may have pushed the president into many of these difficult decisions, but it still does not make this budget right nor fair, especially for those Americans who need help the most,” Markey said.

MSNBC’s All In host Chris Hayes discussed the chained CPI with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jonathan Alter, Heather McGhee, and Mattie Duppler, Americans for Tax Reform.

Transcript for this video can be read here

This a direct attack by a Democratic president on our earned benefits. Time to start calling and don’t stop until this deal is dead and buried.

The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414.

The comments line is 202-456-1111.

Numbers for the Senate are here.

Numbers for the House are here.

h/t Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars


  1. TMC
  2. tahoebasha3

    Obama formed the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on February 18, 2010. [Co-Chairmen: Sen. Alan Simpson (with his buddy, Pete Peterson spending tons of money to push on attempts to destroy Social Security). Former Republican Senator from Wyoming.  Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff to President Clinton; Executive Director:  Bruce Reed, Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Clinton.]

    Obama put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts “on the table,” first On July 7, 2011, in the budget negotiations.  And, those Trust Funds have been on the table from then and continuously to this day, in budget talks, debt deficit talks and any “cliff” type negotiations (which we know to be BS). As you know these Trust Funds had no business ever being a part of any of those negotiations, since Social Security has not contributed a dime to the deficit and I’ve even heard that Medicare, in fact, operates in the black.  

    Of course, reality is that no cuts need to be made at all to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Lifting the cap from $113,000 to, say, $400,000 would fund the Trust Funds for a long, long time, or the cap could be lifted altogether.  Can’t say where I read it, but I read somewhere that demands have been made on the Trust Funds to see to it that they are funded for the next 75 years . . . . the same exact thing that was demanded of the U.S. Post Office about two years or more ago.  Absurd demands!


    4. You could save much more money in other, better ways.

    The White House has said the chained CPI will save $122 billion in benefits over ten years. Leaving aside the fact that Social Security doesn’t affect the deficit (which we’ll discuss shortly), here’s what isn’t being done:

    Close capital gains loopholes: $174 billion.

    End the Bush tax cuts at Obama’s original $250,000 level, rather than the compromise $400,000 number: $183 billion.

    Cut overseas military bases by 20 percent: $200 billion.

    Negotiate with drug companies: $220 billion.

    Enact “Defense-friendly” Pentagon cuts: $519 billion.

    End corporate tax loopholes (without being “revenue neutral,” as the President’s proposing): $1.24 trillion.

    Enact a financial transaction tax on the folks who ruined our economy: $1.8 trillion.  (read more:


    [Of interest, The Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch)shows how Americans view areas to increase spending, not decrease spending in this


    Click on picture!

    The outrage is justified. President Obama wants to cut Social Security benefits. And Medicare benefits.

    Signing a petition is not enough. Send a clear message: Any member of Congress who votes to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits does not deserve to be re-elected.

    While billions go to military spending every day, Democratic leaders are now pushing to cut the basic, precious safety net that protects vast numbers of Americans.

    You can instantly email your member of Congress and senators. Click here to send a message loud and clear: Fully defend Social Security and Medicare or I will oppose your re-election next year.

    Switching to a chained-CPI calculation for Social Security cost of living adjustments “would immediately begin to cut benefits and would continue to do so year after year,” economist Dean Baker points out.

    We’ve got to be absolutely clear with members of Congress. Voting for such a change would be an unforgivable assault on Social Security. As Baker explains: “For an average worker retiring at the age of 65, this would amount to a cut of $650 a year by age 75. At age 85, this would be a cut of $1,130 a year.”

    Send an unambiguous message to your representative and senators: If you vote to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, I will oppose your re-election.

    Please forward this email to your friends.

    — The RootsAction.org team

    P.S. Our small staff is supported by contributions from people like you; your donations are greatly appreciated.

    P.P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.


    Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 5, 2013: “The Chained CPI: a Cut to Social Security Benefits”

    Digby, Common Dreams: “It’s Official: A Democratic President Proposes to Cut Social Security”


    And this is disgusting:

    Progressive Caucus members who haven’t stood up!

    As of now, the following House members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have NOT signed the letter initiated by Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano pledging: “We will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits — including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”

    Here’s a list of those Congresspersons who have NOT signed the pledge.  WE NEED TO WATCH THIS IN ORDER TO VOTE OUT ANY OF THEM THAT DID NOT SIGN!

    Sorry for the length!  

    Thanks for staying on top of this machiavellian effort by our government, TMC!

  3. terryhallinan

    A blind man who didn’t see it coming should fire his seeing eye dog for gross incompetence.

    Elizabeth Warren is a wondrous addition to the Senate but I can’t believe she is shocked at all.

    Best,  Terry

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