06 December 2010

Deficit Commission Fail: Big Win For Seniors & Working Families

American baby boomers, seniors and retirees dodged a bullet last Friday when the National Commission on Fiscal Reform and Responsibility's members rejected their co-chair's (*Erskine Boles & Alan Simpson) proposal to drastically cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age.

On this rare occasion, sanity and reason trumped ideology, ignorance and venality. We must never again try to balance the federal budget on the backs of current and future retirees, especially when it is an incontrovertible fact that social security has not added a single cent to the current deficit crises.  Indeed, members of the commission included in their report to President Obama words acknowledging that Social Security has not contributed to the deficit!

It is a brutal irony that those members of the commission most ready to chop apart Social Security are the same crew of right-wingers that are leading the fight to extend Bush's tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  When one protests this, their retort is that the protester is engaging in "class" warfare.  As though socking it to working families and retirees to enrich the already wealthy is not class warfare.  Somewhat akin to a mugger telling the judge that his victim, who fought back, assaulted him.

The defeat of these draconian cuts to Social Security did not come easy.  Working families, retirees, and future retirees and their supporters mobilized and stood strong while letting commission members know there would be a heavy price if they pursued  a course of attack on one of America's greatest success story.  The week before the vote, progressive activists from many allied organizations joined with the Alliance for Retired Americans in a national call-in day which shut down the capitol switchboard--which is designed to process 7,000 calls at a single instant.

We can hope that this augers a new chapter in debating and solving the issues related to the preservation of Social Security for generations to come.  Solutions must be sought, but, those solutions must strengthen--not weaken--the economic security and well-being of millions of older Americans, widows, orphans and disabled workers.  Social Security has kept generations out of poverty and it must be protected and preserved for all future generations.

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