There are a number of important blog posts and articles to recommend to anyone who’s rightfully concerned about ongoing efforts to reduce our debt & deficits on the back of Social Security.First, news from Congressional Quarterly on what President Obama’s Commission is beginning to look like. White House staff “briefed” concerned organizations yesterday but CQ learnedmore than we did.
“President Obama plans to name former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan K. Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles as co-chairmen of his deficit commission, according to sources on and off Capitol Hill.The announcement could come as early as Thursday. The White House did not immediately return e-mail messages or phone calls seeking comment.A Democratic congressional aide said the White House has told congressional leaders that Bowles and Simpson have accepted the offer.”
Dean Baker offers just one glimpse into Senator Simpson’s history with Social Security, namely supporting privatization and COLA cuts:
“It is not good news that President Obama picked former Senator Alan Simpson as one of the co-chairs of his deficit commission. Simpson is not just your run of the mill Republican. He is an extreme foe of Social Security.The plan was to cut the size of the annual COLA to 1 percentage point less than the CPI. This may sound trivial, but it would add up over time. Someone who was retired 5 years would see their benefits cut by roughly 5 percent, 10 years by 10 percent, and 20 years by 20 percent. This is real money.”
Over at Daily Kos, New Deal Democrat, offers a lengthy record of candidate Obama and President Obama’s comments on Social Security. While we don’t necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, this post does offer a detailed compilation of comments that help provide some context for why we’re even having this conversation now.Which is the bottom line question–Why with staggering unemployment facing us for some time to come,investmentand savings income still reeling from the market collapse, home values decimated and skyrocketing health care costs eatingseniors aliveare we looking at cutting the very programs which are keeping millions from poverty? Especially when, contrary to a billion dollar campaign to persuade us otherwise, Social Securityisnot responsible for our debt/deficits.We highly recommend you read the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s latest paper, The Budget Deficit Scare Story and the Great Recession , for some perspective on this debate and its potential impact on millions of Americans, young and old alike.**Just in: please also check out the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ newdeficit analysis,Where Today’s Large Deficits Come From. They say:
“Some critics charge that the new policies pursued by President Obama and the 111th Congress caused the huge federal budget deficits that the nation now faces. In fact, the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic downturn together explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.”