Hey Jill Stein, though I see your campaign’s front page doesn’t mention Social Security, still hoping you might take the lead on saving and strengthening that great program. Besides aiding a righteous cause, (just sayin’ but) doing so might win you a few million votes …
After the second Social Security debate fiasco — Martha Raddatz lying that the program is going broke and VP Joe Biden not correcting her (the first fiasco was when Pres. Obama said that he and Romney had a “somewhat similar position” on Social Security) — it’s time to come up with a serious effort to save Social Security from Democratic and Republican preparations to cut it and privatize it.
However, obeying the political rule that the best defense is a good offense, I strongly suggest we push a clear, simple, and populist Social Security plan:
1. Delete the income cap. (Why should the rich pay less?)
2. Increase benefits and reduce the full-benefits retirement age from 67 down to 66 or 65. (Inflation has for years been eating into benefits since the feds (under Clinton) began using a measure that shorts inflation; 67 is just too long to wait for full benefits.)
Social Security lovers should do this not just because it is simple, clear and ‘on the offensive’, but because it is what Americans, especially working-class Americans, need. And, we would simply be following the strong hint provided Friday by Eric Kingson, co-director of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, at the end of comments on Raddatz’s question and bad signals from the Vice-Presidential debate and the Obama administration (emphasis added):
Kingson said, “the White House was not willing to say that they will not cut benefits. And in fact that’s unfortunate that they’re not willing to draw that bright line in the sand that says, ‘We’re going to maintain this system.’” …
Kingson said he is worried about Obama’s openness to making “tweaks” to the program during negotiations to find a “grand bargain” over entitlements and the deficit after the election.
That concern is the reason Kingson said he found Raddatz’s question — which presupposed that there might need to be benefits “changes” to fix the “broke” Social Security system — “outrageous.”
“That framing … I would love to see a candidate say this is outrageous,” Kingson said. “This is part of the Washington journalist approach to Social Security: everyone knows it’s in crisis, everyone knows it’s going bankrupt. Baloney — that’s not a statement based in reality.”
With changes like lifting the cap on how much income individuals have to pay in Social Security payroll taxes, Kingson believes the program could be extended well beyond its current 2033 insolvency debate. What moderators should be concerning themselves with, he argued, are the millions of Americans who will be retiring in the near future with underwater mortgages and depleted 401(k)s, who could use if anything stronger Social Security benefits.
For more on Raddatz’s lie posing as a question, see Glenn Greenwald, Dean Baker and No, Martha Raddatz, Social Security Is Not “Going Broke” For more on the White House’s obfuscations on and not-so-semi-secret plans for Social Security, see Still no straight answers on Social Security.