Tell California’s Congressional Delegation: Protect Social Security and Medicare

Earlier this week the co-chairs of the Catfood Commission – Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson – published their “chairman’s mark,” a set of proposals laying out truly cruel and reckless cuts to a range of public programs. At the core were proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, offered in order to pay for proposed cuts to corporate taxes and income taxes for the wealthy.

There’s been a lot of public reaction against these insane proposals. But the bigger picture is that there has been a lot of effort and money expended in the last few years to convince Americans – and Congress – that there is some kind of crisis and that the only way to “save” Social Security and Medicare is to slash benefits. Even if the Catfood Commission recommendations go nowhere, we’ll keep hearing calls from the elite that we have to cut those benefits – even if it means we all eat catfood when we’re in our old age.

We have to mobilize now to stop Congress from ever considering cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. That’s why the Courage Campaign is organizing a public whip count of the California House Delegation to demand they pledge to oppose any cuts to those programs. You can see the latest totals here. Depending on the outcome, we’ll target our two Senators next.

It’s our hope that all 53 of California’s Representatives will stand with the people against destroying our economy and our future prosperity and reject these crazy cuts.

After all, Social Security itself began as a grassroots effort here in California, organized by Dr. Francis Townsend, a resident of Long Beach who in the early 1930s created a huge public movement to demand public old age pensions. Social Security was a bit less than what Townsend had wanted, but it was still a major success. Nearly 80 years later, it’s time for another grassroots movement to protect and expand Social Security, instead of destroying it to satisfy some wealthy elites.

Note: I am the Public Policy Director at the Courage Campaign

41 thoughts on “Tell California’s Congressional Delegation: Protect Social Security and Medicare”

  1. Are Republicans and He doesn’t listen to anyone outside of the party faithful and the far right loonies.

  2. What’s wrong with raising the age for Social Security with some blue-collar progressive provisions? Life expectancy has gone up and savings have to be found somewhere.

    I love the inclusion of capital gains and dividends as earned income. And I love what I read about the new Bowles-Simpson tax system being more progressive than the present code; so far as the super-wealthy are concerned, it almost certainly would be. (Warren Buffett would no longer have a lower marginal tax rate than his staff.)

  3. All he has to do is propose cutting Social Security, the “third rail” of politics.   He took enough hits on the healthcare bill already.    Let the Republicans be out in front on demanding cuts to Social Security to balance the budget.

  4. Most multi-national corporations pay no income tax now. Report after report make that quite clear. So how can you cut them lower than that?

    As for tax cuts to top earners, we’ve tried that. It didn’t cut the deficit. In fact, just the reverse. It didn’t create jobs. In fact, just the reverse.

    As for raising the retirement age, being 60 myself, I know plenty of people who are retiring early because they can’t find work. Age discrimination is alive and well. You don’t need to believe me. Look at the unemployment rate for older workers. It’s much higher than the general unemployment rate. If the age is raised, that option will be gone. With unemployment exhausted, what will older workers do?

    With the housing market in shambles, our largest asset is now worth much less than it used to be–if we’ve managed to hold on to our homes at all. And the stock market has put quite a dent in most retirement accounts. Private pensions are pretty much gone. Social Security is all that’s standing between many of us and the streets.

    We have a choice as a society. We can choose to care for our citizens. Or let them starve in the streets. We can choose to make decisions based on facts, or on already failed theories. The commission has opted for the second choice in both cases. It’s not a choice I would be proud to recommend or support.

  5. Trying to “stop Congress from ever considering cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits” is dumb.  It is the left-wing equivilent of a “no new taxes” pledge.  It’s designed to avoid comprimise and further poison politics.

    There are certainly Social Security and Medicare benefits that could be eliminated or reduced.  Oft-abused SSI mental health disability benefits come to mind (and yes, I know, some people deserve SSI for mental health issues, but the rapid growth of payouts suggests a huge amount of abuse).  Or social security benefits for retireees with millions of dollars in the bank — I wouldn’t mind cutting that.  Pledging to oppose all cuts, even sensible cuts, is bad policy.  Even if the overall size of the program stays the same or grows, some cuts are always needed.  Sometimes you need to cut a poorly-performing aspect of a program to replace it with a better one.

    When Republicans pledge never to raise taxes, they back themselves into a corner.  They end up opposing dumb taxes and smart ones with the same level of energy.  Democrats should avoid falling into the same stupid trap with entitlements.

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