The Republicans Are Coming To Steal Your Social Security

In Obama’s weekly address, he warns about Republican leaders who want to privatize Social Security, saying he’d thought that the Wall Street crash would have put that debate to rest.

This is classic sleight of hand, and might be one of the most cynical political moves I’ve seen. Because, as you already know from what I’ve written, the imminent threat to Social Security is from the administration — and its pet Catfood Commission.

It’s not as if this is a big secret to anyone who works in the District, or the people who talk to them. But everyone’s agreed to act as if it’s otherwise, because activists believe pretending the current attack on Social Security is only coming from the Republican leadership will create such an uproar that the administration will back off from their plans — and not incidentally, get the base motivated to turn out for the mid-term elections.

It might work. But it seems to me that such a deeply dishonest strategy is not only an insult to the voters, it encourages the kind of “bipartisan”, split-the-difference policies of the president, and has the potential to backfire in a major way.

And it raises another question: Namely, if bloggers sacrifice transparency to the strategic goals of the Democratic leadership, why should anyone trust us — about anything?

But GOP leaders are not pressing for privatization. The idea proved so unpopular when President George W. Bush proposed it in 2004 that Congress, then led by Republicans, never took it up. The concept lives on in a budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee, but only a handful of GOP lawmakers have signed on to that measure. And, in the aftermath of the worst shock to the financial system since the Great Depression, many Republican lawmakers would just as soon see the idea forgotten.

Meanwhile, a coalition of 60 liberal groups and advocates for the elderly, including the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org, are predicting a different threat to Social Security: the possibility that a bipartisan deficit commission created by Obama will propose slashing benefits to help dig the nation out of debt.

Coalition members plan to buttonhole lawmakers as they campaign for reelection this fall, demanding that they sign a pledge to oppose any cuts to program entitlements, such as raising the retirement age.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we’re making sure every politician is put on notice: If you’re looking to raise the retirement age, you should be looking to retire in November,” said Nita Chaudhary, campaign director at MoveOn.org.

Such an effort could make the work of the deficit commission far more difficult. Commission members from both parties view Social Security as a prime opportunity for compromise — far easier to address than, for example, an overhaul of the tax system — and say they want to stabilize the program’s finances.

But forging a bipartisan compromise is likely to require cost-cutting as well as higher taxes. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) have both suggested raising the retirement age, and leading economists and budget experts have strongly advocated it as a cost-cutting solution. The commission is also studying less dramatic options, such as changing the way inflation is measured for the purpose of adjusting benefits and slowing the rate of increase in benefit payments for better-off retirees.

As an aside, you’ll notice the Post reporters (having already accepted the Village wisdom) don’t even mention any dispute as to whether Social Security cuts are, you know, actually needed.

4 thoughts on “The Republicans Are Coming To Steal Your Social Security

  1. Obama et al are probably already making their backroom deals, selling out access to SocSec funds in some way to their fave Banksters and throwing future and perhaps currents retirees under the Obama cabal’s many busses. We saw this movie, with its many previews, in how Obama et al handled their so-called health insurance “reform,” aka HCR (High Corporate Revenues) for their Big Health Insurance buddies.

    Loss of trust is very difficult to regain. Obama et al have lost my trust entirely. If the Dems in general go along with Obama’s Obama/Pete Peterson Cat Food Commission “recommendations*,” they will lose the trust of their base, of labor, of seniors, of the middle class…of anyone who depended on the Democrats acting according to the principles of the party of FDR, JFK, LBJ.

    Don’t these Dems of today get it? Or are they so blinded by the promise of big donations from Big Bidness and the Uberwealthy, they really think they can out-Republican the Republicans?

    Where ya gonna go, sweeties?

    Well, home for one on election day. Or None of the Above (NOTA) or other parties and write-in’s if we do go to vote.

    *Recommendations — Since Obama has stacked the Obama/Pete Peterson Cat Food Commission with deficit hawks and anti-SocSec members, it will be difficult to avoid bad, bad, bad recommendations coming out of it. Now, I read that a fairly high number must vote for any recommendations, but, again, Obama has stacked the group in favor of what he wants: Cuts to SocSec, laterr full SocSec age, what else?

    Jane Hamsher has a post on the Cat Food Commission, Obama’s decision to let the Republicans choose 3 members, a thumbnail sketch of where the known stands of the members concerning changes to SocSec, and her take on Obama’s con in saying the Repubs just want to privatize. (No, they’re pleased as punch to get Obama to do their initial dirty work for them.)

  2. And, again, where the hell is Josh Marshall on this go round of attempts to lower SocSec benefits?

  3. Susie writes:

    Namely, if bloggers sacrifice transparency to the strategic goals of the Democratic leadership, why should anyone trust us — about anything?

    What do you mean, “if” and what do you mean “us?” Any blogger who’s going to do that already smeared me as a racist in 2008, or joined The Big O in suppressing single payer advocates in favor of bailing out the insurance companies. There’s an “us” here, indeed, Susie, and it’s got nothing to do with bloggers who think that the strategic goals of the Ds are anything other than what they so visibly are: Permanently high disemployment, full service for the banksters and the rentiers, and everybody else under the bus.

  4. “if bloggers sacrifice transparency to the strategic goals of the Democratic leadership, why should anyone trust us”
    exactly. Anyone paying attention has this game figured out, to portray it as otherwise does nothing but serve our corporate overlords.

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