Which way you blowing, Nancy?

Women are an important constituency in the Democratic party (they were twice as likely to vote for Obama in the last election as any other group). Add to that the fact that one of the most common fears among single women is becoming a bag lady. Gee, Medicare and Social Security cuts sound like a real formula for electoral success, huh?

This week, multimillionaire House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi seemingly alerted women to the dangers of the changes to Social Security and Medicare in the various debt ceiling proposals – but also claims that a change to the chained CPI isn’t a cut. That sounds like she sees the train coming down the track and knows she has to sell it to her caucus:

“We know firsthand the impact of changes in Medicare,” said Pelosi, flanked by 14 other Democratic women. “We know it because we are women and caregivers and we know it because of the people we represent. We know it because of the special interest we have taken in this bedrock of security for women and families in our country.”

Several lawmakers pointed out that women tend to live longer than men, and are usually the primary caregivers in families – making their dependency on key social programs that much more urgent.

Several of Pelosi’s colleagues were adamant that changing how Social Security benefits are calculated would essentially be cutting benefits – a stance that the House’s top Democrat didn’t embrace on Tuesday.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) [Ed. note: net worth $130K] stressed that using the chained Consumer Price Index to calculate benefits would push more seniors into poverty. And Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) [Ed. note: assets up to $5M, with debt totaling $5M] added that reducing these cost-of-living adjustments would “acutely harm” Latina women.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) [Ed. note: net worth $50M] said “even Grover Norquist” – the influential leader of the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform – considers using the chained CPI to determine benefits a tax hike.

“Let’s remember that the average income on Social Security is $19,000 a year,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). [Ed. note: collects a pension of almost $23K annum from State of Illinois, net worth up to $390,999] “And these are the people who ought to be paying to cut the deficit here?”

NOTE: I’m continuing my little experiment of illustrating just how large a class divide exists between us and our elected representatives. As has been reported elsewhere, members of Congress seem to have amazing luck with the stock market – frequently beating the Street by significant margins. So let’s keep in mind that their interests may not always align with ours.

5 thoughts on “Which way you blowing, Nancy?

  1. It is discouraging that the rich are the ones who can AFFORD to be elected. I think regular folks are starting to understand “how rich the rich” really are. I find it disgusting that a lot of our elected folks think “sacrifice” should be made by the most vulnerable and fragile parts of our society. The top 2% are not job creators and the facts show it.

    Really, though, one almost would have to be brain dead not to make gains in the stock market recently. It is the only sector that has shown growth in the economy, but, I agree, it is a game for the rich and the deck is stacked.

    Social Security should be put in a lock box as Al Gore proposed and the limits on payroll taxes for Social Security should be raised. Problem solved. There should be no borrowing. on Social Security, ever

    Say what you will about “Nancy Smash.” But, in these times and the huge economic snarl we are in, she one of the best things going for the regular folks….. even if she is worth a go-zillion bucks.

  2. One blog commenter (I forget at which blog) said that using the chained CPI was not a cut to benefits but a cut in the increase in benefits. And anyway for most people it would only be a few cents.

    I wanted to write the jerk and tell him: Maybe for you, but for a single woman who gets a middle range SS benefit because she had low wage jobs her whole life, that 14 cents (the number he used) could be the difference in paying her rent or buying her medicines. The jerk must not live check to check. In our world, 14 cents is often the kind of amount that will be the dividing line between affording something or not. I’ve never heard of a rent regulation under which the rent of a senior person is exempt from increases. (And NYC’s rent control effectively no longer exists; as people leave apartments the apartment becomes stabilized and rent will increase every one or two years.)

  3. I think we must find a way to show the Democrats that they have to make a choice: They can choose to work to help us, the little people, the masses, OR they can follow Obama off the cliff he’s rushing them toward.

    Obama is going to destroy the Dem Party.

    We need a new party which gives a damn about us, all of us.

  4. Neither Obama nor the Democratic Party care about the women who vote them into office. We are not served the way that Republican constitutencies are served by Republican politicians. We’re only useful to them in election years when they scream “but ZOMG ROE ROE ROE!!!” IOW, we get nothing if they win, and we get blamed for not showing up if they lose.

    It’s time for a National Women’s Party again, friends.

  5. I have been taking care of my mother’s finances since 2005, so I have to keep very close tabs on thing like the COLA and the Medicare premium. There hasn’t been any COLA for the last two years, but when there was one all it did was cover the increase in the Medicare premium, so with a lower COLA, chances are that the increases in Medicare premiums will eat into the Social Security benefit. (For anybody who doesn’t know, everybody on Medicare pays a monthly premium like on any other insurance policy. Also a deductible- $1,100, which has gone up from $900 5 years ago- and co-payments) So even with a regular COLA, the best you are going to do is stay even with the year before.

    And for the last two years there has been no COLA at all, “chained” or otherwise, because they have fiddled around with the numbers so that the COLA does not represent the real cost of living for an elderly person. Fortunately there was no increase in the Medicare premium last year. The year before, some how there was put through a one time $250 payment to compensate for the lack of the COLA because someone realized the unfairness of the situation. This year the discussion of a similar proposal was stifled by the administration. The $250 wasn’t much, but it would have paid the gas bill in January, and I would not have had to deal with a shutoff notice.

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