otherwords.org — Peace of mind. That’s what Medicare and Medicaid mean for nearly one in every three Americans. Almost 50 million Americans have paid into, and are beneficiaries of Medicare, our national health insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities. And almost 50 million Americans — the elderly, low-income adults and their children, and people with certain disabilities — have access to Medicaid. Six million Americans depend on both. But now these programs are under siege.
progressive.org — In the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, many in the media have missed something critical that both parties must understand: People of color, whose votes are increasingly crucial, believe in the positive role of government. They don’t want domestic social programs cut. According to the Census Bureau, people of color will be America’s new majority by the year 2043. African-Americans, Asians and Latinos already outnumber whites in several states and play a growing role in presidential swing states. Neither party can ignore them Neither party will win voters of color by preserving tax cuts for the wealthy while slashing Medicare and other vital programs.
prospect.org — The behavior of political elites on the subject of deficits, debts, and the economic recovery requires some combination of Buñuel and his contemporary John Maynard Keynes to do it justice. With the economy stuck at about $1.5 trillion below its potential and at least 15 million people unable to find full-time jobs, the debate is fixated on the question of how to cut the deficit instead of how to restore jobs, wages, and output. Until President Obama changes the subject to the real issue of economic recovery, he will be mired in an enervating form of retrench warfare where budget cuts are inevitable. He needs to isolate Republicans on the issue of how to produce a recovery, just as he did on taxes. Here again, public opinion is on his side if he will lead. Cutting Social Security and Medicare are no more popular than raising taxes on the middle class.
robertreich.org — Why is the President back to making premature and unnecessary concessions to Republicans? Two central issues in the 2012 presidential election were whether the Bush tax cuts should be ended for people earning over $250,000, and whether Social Security and Medicare should be protected from future budget cuts. The President said yes to both. Republicans said no. Obama won. It defies logic and fairness to give more tax cuts to the wealthy while cutting benefits for the near-poor. Hands off Social Security. If the Republicans are willing to raise tax rates on high earners but demand more spending cuts in return, the President should offer larger cuts in defense spending and corporate welfare.
thenation.com — There are a lot of complicated ways in which to describe the schemes being floated by President Obama and congressional Republicans to abandon the traditional Consumer Price Index in favor of the so-called “chained-CPI” scheme. But there is nothing complicated about the reality that changing the calculations on which cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients are based has the potential to dramatically reduce the buying power of Americans who rely on this successful and stable federal program. So the word for what is being proposed is “cut”—as in: President Obama and congressional Republicans are proposing to cut Social Security. This is what Democrats—and most Republicans—said during the recently finished campaign that they would never do. The question is whether the president’s backers will back the betrayal. The only responsible response is to say “No!”
prospect.org — Once again, President Obama seems to be on the verge of folding a winning hand. Widely leaked reports indicate that the president and House Speaker John Boehner are making a fiscal deal that includes hiking tax rates back to the pre-Bush levels with a threshold of $400,000 rather than the original $250,000, and cutting present Social Security benefits. Obama, the reports say, will now settle for as little as $1.2 trillion in tax increases on the rich rather than the $1.6 trillion that he had originally sought. The difference, in effect, will come out of the pockets of workers, retirees, the young, and the poor.
huffingtonpost.com — Attempts to undo or diminish Social Security began upon the program's enactment; they continue unabated. Early charges of unconstitutionality foundered when the Supreme Court upheld the law. The Bush push for "privatization" shocked but did not awe. Participants and the public know that work and contributions earn the program's benefits. The recession tailspin of 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) demonstrated anew the unreliability of private, individual accounts; emerging news of their hidden fees further weakened their reputation. The latest bumper-sticker slogan that "Social Security is unsustainable" doesn't stand up under scrutiny.
huffingtonpost.com — I want to vote for a comprehensive bipartisan plan to address the fiscal cliff. I'm willing to take a tough vote. I'm willing to make sacrifices. I'm willing to feel the heat. But I'm not willing to solve the fiscal cliff by throwing seniors over the cliff. I draw the line at cutting benefits in Medicare and Social Security. Last week, House Republicans unveiled their fiscal cliff counterproposal. While they continue to call for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, they propose offsetting this cost by gutting Medicare benefits, including raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67. I won't go there. As California's Insurance Commissioner for eight years, I know this would be horrible policy, throwing millions of seniors into the rapacious hands of an insurance industry interested only in profits for its shareholders.
huffingtonpost.com — Dear former Senator Alan Simpson: I've seen you on television chatting up your debt reduction proposal with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show and Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation. And while you come across as a likable guy, your claim to be working on behalf of the next generation of young Americans is bogus. Here's why. You see, your argument rests on a big myth: that in order to save Social Security and Medicare for the young, you have to cut our benefits. This couldn't be further from the truth. There are fairer ways to ensure that these pillars of American progress stand the test of time. One option includes making wealthy individuals pay more by lifting Social Security's cap on wages, currently set at $110,100.