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Walking Backwards: Social Security

As the President’s State of the Union Speech approaches stories are appearing that give us hints about what might show up:

See UPDATE Below

Obama’s Social Security Talk Is Turning Voters Off, Pollsters Say

A post-election poll by Celinda Lake’s Lake Research Partners found that, by a margin of 3 percentage points, Americans now trust Republicans in Congress more than Democrats when it comes to Social Security — surely the first time since the program became a signature issue for the Democratic Party in the 1930s.

Heather McGee, the director of Demos’ Washington office, said that when Democrats talk of cutting Social Security, it only serves to support the narrative that the government is to blame for the nation’s economic problems. “Bashing government is a way to shift attention from the decline of the middle class and widening inequality,” she said.

And while increasing the Social Security retirement age is considered a fairly benign change inside the Beltway, 7 in 10 voters oppose the idea, most of them very intensely, said Lake. Opposition is particularly strong among such groups as young voters, women under 55, non-college graduates, independent women and rural voters — in other words, those much sought-after swing voters.
“That reflects the different life experiences of those who have this debate versus those who will be affected by the policy outcomes,” Molyneux said.

Even a year ago, I couldn’t imagine Democrats wavering in their support of Social Security like this. It’s one thing when Republicans propose stuff like this — it’s almost their job!! But, when voters elect Democrats it’s because we count on them to protect us from the worst of Republican delusions.


[UPDATE] Susie at Suburban Guerilla shared this timely piece:

The Mask Slips: “Third Way” Admits Intention to Balance the Budget on the Back of Social Security

Unlike Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who were shamed into insisting that their proposed cuts were only for the purpose of “strengthening Social Security,” in their report, “Saving Social Security,”Jim Kessler and David Kendall from Third Way effectively admit that cutting Social Security should be a part of deficit reduction.

You see, Third Way would have us shore up Social Security’s finances with a package that is two-thirds cuts and one-third revenue increases. They must have known this is just a wee bit unbalanced, especially for a capital “D” Democratic think tank like theirs, because they feel the need to justify it throughout the paper.

Well, there you have it: the massive debt just ties our hands. Even though Social Security does not contribute a penny to the debt, and is forbidden by law from borrowing from the general budget, we need the money that currently goes toward it to pay down the deficit–supposedly so we can increase or maintain spending on other programs. There is apparently some magic line above which taxes cannot rise, and honoring our commitment to American workers no longer fits within that line.

Depriving Social Security of needed revenue in order to pay for other programs is the equivalent of rich, fat kids robbing a poor, emaciated kid of his lunch at the playground. The latter doesn’t ask anything of anybody, but they still feel entitled to rob him of all he’s got.

Speaking only for me …. In spite of pretty speeches and statements from Bernie Sanders, I don’t see the Democrats in the House and Senate standing against (Democratic) President Obama if he decides this is the CHANGE he’s been waiting for.  We’ve seen too many great speeches followed by lousy votes for me to have any faith that things are going to be different any time soon. (h/t Susie)

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60 Responses

  1. I know this isn’t NEWS …. but, it infuriates me all the same!

  2. it seems like Obama is trying to drive people from the party. Who is he serving besides big business and rich people?

    • Don’t look now but it’s working.

    • Not exactly. Obama (W2) is trying to remake the party as “wolf in sheep clothing” DINOcrat touchy feely conservative party.

      Remember “compassionate conservatism?” Well, get ready for “pragmatic liberalism.” Same car, different paint job.

  3. Teresa, he’s doing what he was hired to do–he’s destroying the Democratic brand for at least a generation while at the same time rehabilitating the Republicans, since that’s where his true beliefs–insofar as he has any–lie.

    • Whether he was hired for it or not, he’s certainly got a pattern since Chicago of benefiting his biggest donors, who often are also big business polluters. Even if he has to ‘push the wrong button’ to do it.

      • Yep, they’ll probably do it. They did austerity in Ireland too. The public was dead set against it. Their parliament or whatever they call it, voted for the austerity package anyway.

  4. Who could have predicted this two years ago?
    (Aside from us bitter old dried up hags, I mean)

    • Well, I expected him to be horrible but not as horrible as he has been. I really wish McCain had won.

      • Me too. Oh well, if he touches the 3rd rail, he’s gonna find out that in politics, geezers rock.
        Watch out for the lasers shooting out of their canes, Mr. President.

      • Yes, I wish McCain had won as well. In fact I voted for him–first time I’ve ever voted for a Republican, and I’ve been voting since 1964.

        I didn’t know how–or even if–I was going to vote in 2008 (except that I wouldn’t have voted for Obama under any circumstances) but after watching a little of the Dem convention and catching the very clear signals to us PUMAs (Carville’s Puma sneakers, Hillary’s orange pantsuit etc. ) and then seeing McCain signaling back (orange tie) when he announced his running mate, as well as his stated intention to re-establish the HOLC…well, after that the decision was an easy one to make. If my choice is between a RINO and a DINO, I’m going for the RINO every time.

        • I voted for him as well as donated to his campaign. In fact, I liked him after Hillary got screwed so badly. I won’t vote for another Democrat until that is somehow magically fixed.

      • If nothing else, McCain would have gotten a much more vocal response if he did even half of the crap Obama has done.

        • Almost anything would beat the neutered opposition to Obama from the Democrats and their front groups.

  5. Yet another reason to expel him from the Party, the sooner the better.

  6. This is the NYTimes magazine piece which gives some preview of the economic elements in the SOTU address. “Competitiveness” may be the new economic vision apparently.

  7. House Conservatives Introduce Spending Cuts: $2.5 Trillion Over Ten Years. Dave Weigel makes a list of some things being targeted, but they don’t come close to the 250 billion a year the cuts would represent. The biggest items in the budget are obviously defense, healthcare, and social security.

  8. Susie has a good point and then she spoils it with that pointless comment about the Third Way. This is not Third Way. This is just plain, old fashioned Republicanism.

    • What is the Third Way? I think it’s a post she quoted that mentioned it. But, I’ve never heard of it.

      • Third Way is an official, supposedly Clinton Democrat, think tank. Probably paid for by Pete Peterson like a lot of those other junk organizations. Or Soros.

      • Here’s the co-chair page from their website. There is not a Republican in sight,

      • Did she mean the third rail? That is Social Security right> electric and deadly.

        • Used to be. Dunno why Obama thinks it’s safe to touch it now, even before elections.

          The metaphor came from street car days. Electric trains. They ran on two rails, then there was a ‘third rail’ that provided their power, high voltage.

  9. Always making excuses for him–I saw Eric Alterman on Dylan Ratigan today. He has a new book out about how it’s not Obama’s fault–just the system that is screwed up. Ratigan called him on it –abit.

    • I saw that! It was too sad. There was a kind of desperate look at the back of Eric’s eyes.

    • Oh, I remember what I saw! Alterman says something like, “Wall Street hates Obama” and Ratigan replies, “Yet, they’re his biggest contributers”

      THAT’s when Alterman got that desperate look in his eye. And no reply.

      • Of course the point ought to be that Wall Street gave more of their money to Obama than to his opponents.

        As it’s stated above, Alterman could have replied reasonably enough that Wall Street is everyone’s biggest donor, as they have the most money.

  10. I am hardly the first to say this, but apparently the Malefactors Of Great Wealth have decided they simply don’t need the rest of us any more, since they can make the products overseas, increasingly they can sell them overseas, and if we natives get too restless, the MOGW can just go live overseas, when they don’t already do that.

    Coolidge said “The business of America is business”. It has become quite obvious that the reverse is not true. 😡

    • I’m sort of picturing heavily armed Blackwater mercenaries guarding the gated communities where the MOGW live when they visit the US.

  11. let me get this straight… the money I contribute to Social Security is going to be used instead to pay down the debt?

    how can that even be legal?

    • I’m sure they’ll be letting us know. As soon as the work out the details.

      • glad I just planted 7 fruit trees… they should start producing just about the time I retire…

        now the question remains: Where can I hide a chicken coop so the cranky neighbor doesn’t complain?

    • If they cut SS, I don’t think they are ready for the huge backlash they are going to get from the population. I’m afraid they have a really big surprise coming.

      • Sadly, I don’t think they care. They just had a huge backlash in 2010 midterms and nothing changed. If they lose seats, well they can just go work for K street. Losing your Congressional gig is nothing like losing your job in the real world. They won’t ever need Soc Sec, so why do they care?

  12. Is anybody that frequents TC really surprised at this?

    Oh, and BTW, I did the same thing, voted for a republican for the first time in my life. Unless something changes Joe Sestack was the last Democrat I’ll ever vote for.

    • I can’t bring myself to vote Elephascist (aka GOP), since that’s the party (with the help of Boll Weevils–now known as Blue Dogs) that slashed funding for college scholarships just as I was graduating from high school in 1981.

      I cheerfully vote Green, however. :mrgreen:

    • Me too with the Sestak.

      Only Dem I’ll vote for in the future is Hillary for President. I might have to write that in though.

  13. I voted for a whole slate of Democrats in ’10 in the hopes that we could keep the state under Democratic control. We had Strickler and some other really responsible Dems.

    They were slaughtered by the Republicans.

  14. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by puma, mbfromhb. mbfromhb said: Walking Backwards: Social Security « The Confluence http://goo.gl/7TPKm […]

  15. Great post!

  16. Expect BO to promise everything again to appease the left and center of this country and then break that promise once the hard work begins.

  17. Where’s the KLOWN?

    We need some music. Call the guy in the big shoes and blood on his fingers…
    or is that pomegranate juice ?

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