If We Let Them Cut Social Security Now, Where Will It Stop?

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Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio explains the chained CGI and why it's a really bad idea.

Here's what I think of all this crap about "shared sacrifice" and "skin in the game": We already have so much damned skin in the game, we're flayed.

And to us, it's not a game.

We're the people who lost our jobs, our savings, our healthcare, our home equity (and in many cases, our homes). Our public and private pensions have been pillaged, and for far too many of us, all we have left is Social Security and Medicare.

What are we willing to put on the table? Frankly, not another damned thing. Why should we? We're not the millionaires and billionaires who are doing so well. We're not the bankers who crashed the economy and walked off scot-free and richer than ever.

Here's what we're willing to contribute to the negotiations: We promise not to go after the bankers with pitchforks. That's a great deal, they should take it.

"Why not cut Social Security?"

"It's not a cut," they say. Really? What would you call it if a Republican president was trying to impose this on us? This is a solution in search of a problem.

I am so thoroughly disgusted by the charade of what's going on. Nancy Pelosi is saying the chained Consumer Price Index will contribute to the "strengthening" of Social Security. Sure it will -- in the same sense that Bush's Blue Skies act stopped air pollution, I guess. If it will indeed strengthen Social Security, why is the White House pretending that the Republicans are forcing them into it? What's the part, then, that Pelosi says she's "not crazy about"?

Our democracy is now so perverted that our "leaders" no longer bother to pay us the compliment of wooing us to support what they propose. Instead, they hide behind the skirts of deeply dishonest ploys like the chained CPI. This is the coward's cut -- it hurts the most vulnerable, and pretends to be a tweak.

Oh, and it raises taxes on those who make less than $40,000 a year.

Once again: What does Social Security have to do with the deficit? That's it in a nutshell. You don't have to argue against people who insist changing the COLA formula to one that doesn't count heating oil or healthcare costs is an accurate reflection of the elderly's expenses. All you have to do is get an answer to that question: Why are we cutting Social Security when it has nothing to do with the deficit?

We are talking about elderly people dying because they won't have enough money to turn the heat up. In a nation where we "lost" several billion dollars in cash in Iraq, is this a rational or humane discussion?

And all this is President Obama's response to an election in which he claimed that he would "protect" Social Security and Medicare. He used weasel words that fooled people. But what he's doing now is so cynical, so manipulative, that if he gets away with it, he will cause real harm to the very idea of democracy.

And I don't say it lightly. This paternalistic politician has consulted with his corporatist friends and from the very beginning, has been determined to find a way to cut Social Security. For our own good, of course!

Why? Who does he really work for -- us, or Pete Peterson?

And why is the president is only pushing for a two-year extension on the debt ceiling? You don't suppose it's because he'll have another lame duck session and can go back for the cuts he couldn't get the first time, would it?

The thing that kept Social Security safe and sound for so many years is that politicians were afraid to touch it. When a Democratic president not only accepts, but encourages cuts in one of the crown jewels of Democratic policy, how much easier will it be to hack away at it in administrations to come? It will never be safe again. We will have to fight this same fight every year, and all they'll have to do is point to President Obama.

You need to call. If you've already called, call again. This is our only chance to scare our elected officials into representing us - for a change.

Mike Lux:

The Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. The White House number is 202-456-1414.You can sign a petition here. But it is going to take people doing more. Make sure your parents, grandparents, and everyone else you know does something. Talk to people at work and at church and everywhere you go. Join up with groups that are fighting the battle like MoveOn and Working America. Show up at your congressperson’s office and let them know what you think. Organize a picket outside that congressional office. Do not hold anything back if you care about this issue. And maybe, just maybe, if enough of us raise some hell, this train headed down the track to cutting Social Security benefits, to taking money out of the hands of vulnerable innocents who had nothing to do with the deficits, will be forced to stop.

No cuts to Social Security.

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