The media have portrayed Governor Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” at a recent Iowa campaign event as the latest extreme statement of an unconventionally candid, conservative presidential candidate. more »
When it comes to the "Grand Bargain" they're pushing in Washington, the movie posters for The Fly said it best: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Othe people are using our lives as bargaining chips. Whether it's the so-called Congressional "Super Committee" or the President's push for that grandé-sized deal, they want to look "grand" while we get stuck with the "bargain."
The Capital's misplaced focus on austerity has led to plenty of bad ideas, but one of the worst is raising the Medicare retirement age to 67. It may be the most destructive deal to come out of Washington since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. It's unfair, short-sighted, and will actually cost the economy more money than we're spending today.
No Democratic President would accept an idea like that, right? Right?
You hear over and over that Social Security is "in trouble" or that we "can't afford it." This is as far from true as can be, and the idea behind this is to convince people to just give up on defending the program and let the haters have their way. The people who hate Social Security the most are the ones who say they want to make these changes to "save" it. more »
truth-out.org — On his tour of the Midwest last week, President Obama again indicated his interest in cutting Social Security. He repeated a proposal that his administration first put forward in the debt ceiling negotiations: he wants to cut the annual cost of living adjustment by 0.3 percentage points. This cut may sound small, but it adds up over time. A person in their 70s who had been getting benefits for ten years would see a reduction of 3 percent. By the time they were in their 80s, the cut would be 6 percent. And if they lived into their 90s, their benefit would be more than 9 percent lower as a result of President Obama's proposal. But apparently President Obama feels that these people need to make greater sacrifices. The determination to cut Social Security is especially strange given the finances of the program.
Back in my corporate days I sat in a boardroom with one of the most powerful and fearsome CEOs in the country. He had called in the executives that designed his employee benefits program and asked them to propose changes to the corporation's retirement and health programs. But he scowled and shook his head as they presented one set of options after another. Finally I asked the question the others were afraid to ask: What do you want to accomplish by changing your employees' benefits?
"I want to give them less," he said, "and make them think it's more."
The Human Resources executives in the room turned pale. As brilliant as this CEO was, he didn't know what they had learned from experience:
When you give people less, they always know it.
Less is Less
I thought of that meeting when I listened to the President's remarks on Social Security in Iowa. A woman with lung cancer asked the President to speak about Social Security, and he began by employing a lot of the rhetoric he's been reluctant to use so far, and by making a lot of the arguments he's refused to make since he was elected.
President Obama said that Social Security is not an "entitlement," or a "driver of the deficit or debt," at a Minnesota Town Hall meeting on Monday. Then why is he allowing a Super Committee charged with deficit reduction to address the program?
A letter that prominent veterans groups sent to the President and Congress this week opposing the chained CPI COLA cut relied on a new analysis by the Strengthen Social Security Campaign showing that the chained CPI will have an especially large effect on veterans and their families.