About Social Security

And somehow, you just knew it would be the Democrats:

It’s the Democrats who have progressives feeling queasy.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer explicitly put the idea on the table as well in a speech last month. “We should consider a higher retirement age or one pegged to lifespan,” Hoyer said.

He echoed House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who put it this way: “With minor changes to the program such as raising the salary cap and raising the retirement age by one month every year, the program could become solvent for the next 75 years.” One month a year may not sound like much, but if you’re 30 years away from retirement, that adds up to almost three years.

In the House, though, Nancy Pelosi is the linchpin, and she’s not nearly as enthusiastic as her colleagues. But, notwithstanding the enthusiasm gap, she also left the possibility of raising the retirement age on the table. When asked about it by TPMDC at her press conference last week, she criticized the plan, but mainly to say she disagrees with putting Social Security on the chopping block ahead of other measures. “Why they would start talking about a place that could be harmful to our seniors — 70 is a relative age,” Pelosi said. “Around here, there’s not a lot of outdoor work or heavy lifting. But for some people it is, and 70 means something different to them. So in any event let’s talk about growth, let’s talk about how we can reduce spending, let’s put everything, those initiatives: promoting growth, tightening the belt, looking at entitlements. But let’s not start on the backs of our seniors.”

There’s one catch, though. Last week, Democrats included a rider to the supplemental war spending bill that will likely force the House to vote on a forthcoming fiscal reform plan, if the Senate passes it first. That package is being put together by President Obama’s deficit and debt commission, and will be ready to go after the midterms. Pelosi had already pledged to give the package a vote, so perhaps nothing has really changed. But in a way, she also tied her own hands: if the Senate passes a broad tax-and-entitlement reform package at the end of this Congress and her own caucus is willing, she’ll be hard-pressed to stop the Social Security reforms she thinks should come last.

Of course, that puts the onus on the Senate, which can’t pass much of anything these days,especially if it includes tax hikes — and any serious effort to pull the country back from the brink of fiscal crisis will have to include some of those. But if there’s a fluke, or an unexpected decision on the part of 60 senators to hold hands and jump together, it could happen swiftly, with very little notice.

Don’t get mad, get organized! And call your congress critters every single time you read a story like this to tell them you don’t support it.

3 thoughts on “About Social Security

  1. I think there’s a serious problem with the framing of blame in American political discourse. The old school democrat-rethuglican bipolarity is no longer functional. Just as most people didn’t get that George II was not a conservative, but a neoconservative, it also seems that nobody really gets that Obomber is a neoliberal and NOT a liberal. Like Potus GeBu walked and talked and quacked like a conservative, Potus BaOb looks and smells and tastes like a liberal. Except that he’s not. And then everyone goes clutching at pearls when he behaves like the technocrat fascist that he really is. Nobody should be shocked that the banks and war profiteers and energy companies are calling the shots. No matter who farts in the offal office, they are in charge and the only requirement at that level is that the potus be a player of The Game. His party doesn’t matter except out in the provinces and shitbox subdivisions and urban hellholes where the small people need something upon which to hang their political schemas. A simplistic bipolar understanding of the political system works to the advantage of the thieving class.

  2. Yeah, it’s okay to spend enormous sums on a wasteful, bloated military budget each year without fail, and to bail out connected corporations, but we can’t help our citizens because THAT would be “socialism.”

    right (ala the ol’ Bill Cosby)

  3. I’d like to leaflet my neighborhood with the information about what’s going on. But, I’m stuck. I’m so angry, I’m just coming up with big/angry headlines. I guess I’m not in a good marketing mode.

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