Tomorrow, thousands of Americans nationwide will be asked their opinions on how to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington.  National “town hall meetings” are being hosted by America Speaks --with funding from the Kellogg,  MacArthur, and Peterson Foundations ( Peterson is a leading proponent of cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits in the name of “fiscal responsibility”).  A report summarizing tomorrow's town hall meetings will be delivered to the National Commission for Fiscal Responsiblity and Reform which is charged wtih developing fiscal recommendations by December 1.   We believe if a truly representative cross section of America attends these events and a full and open debate is allowed, then Washington will see just how out of step it is with Americans, of all ages, economic means, and ethnicity.  Americans who understand that Social Security has not contributed one bit to our deficits and that the Social Security trust fund has , in fact, been used as Washington’s piggy bank.   If America really speaks, Washington will find that we want fiscal responsibility; however, we also know cutting benefits to avoid paying back what's owed to beneficiaries is anything but responsible.   But will Americans who understand all this attend tomorrow’s events...or will these meetings be stacked with members from organizations determined to persuade America that the only way to reduce our debt and deficit is to cut Social Security?   The Center for Economic and Policy Research  has prepared two must-read documents.  One analyzes the America Speaks’ Federal Budget Guide,  which will be used at tomorrow’s events.  It highlights some very important omissions that participants need to know for this debate, including: 
  • Why does the guide presume that tax cuts for higher earners should be extended?
  • Why does the guide lump Social Security in with Medicare and Medicaid when Social Security is NOT a major contributor to future deficits?
  • Why doesn’t the guide remind participants that baby boomers have paid extra payroll taxes since 1983 and CBO says those funds will pay full benefits until 2044 with not changes at all?
 CEPR’s second analysis is an even larger breakdown of how the America Speaks program  has been structured, including what will be debated, which topics and options will be discussed and how are they framed.  CEPR says:
 “the program for America Speaks is supposed to include input from a broad range of viewpoints in order to frame an intelligent discussion of the country’s long-term budget problems.  It does not live up to this standard.”
 Is the deck stacked?  It doesn’t have to be. We urge all of our National Committee members and supporters to register to attend an event tomorrow. If you support strengthening Social Security for all generations, be there to provide the perspective and balance too often missing in this debate.   If you believe Washington should fulfill its promise to American workers and honor its legal obligation to Social Security...you should attend an event in your area.  If Washington wants to hear America speak then let’s be sure they hear from all of us. Bring these resources along with you to help ensure the debate is fair and accurate. To see if an AmericaSpeaks event is being held near you, check their website.     Don’t have a town hall near your?  Tell the President’s Fiscal Commission directly what you think about proposals to balance the budget with cuts to Social Security.  While your at it, deliver that same message to Congress. You can also use our Legislative Action Center  to connect directly to your representatives on Capitol Hill.