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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

President Obama, Please Don't F*ck Up Our Social Security

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

This frightens me. I’m sorry, but I just can’t ignore it any longer. I need to ask this question. Is President Obama considering privatizing Social Security and/or Medicare?

Ever since I read Dean Baker’s last HuffPo diary, I’ve been worrying.

Word has it that President Obama intends to appoint a task force the week after next which will be charged with “reforming” Social Security. According to inside gossip, the task force will be led entirely by economists who were not able to see the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which is giving the country its sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. […]

[…] Due to the reckless policies of the Rubin-Greenspan-Bush clique, this cohort has just seen [baby boomers’] housing equity wiped out with the collapse of the housing bubble. Tens of millions of baby boomers who might have felt reasonably secure three years ago are now approaching retirement with little or no equity in their homes. […]

In short, the vast majority of baby boomers will be approaching retirement with little other than their Social Security and Medicare to support them. And now President Obama is apparently prepared to appoint a commission that will attack these only remaining pillars of support.

It is especially infuriating that this task force is likely to headed up by economists who somehow could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble. The incompetence of such economists has inflicted enormous pain on billions of people around the world. However, unlike people who fail in other professions, economists who mess up on the job just get promoted so that they can do even more harm.

And if that’s not scary enough, take a look at William Greider’s story at AlterNet!

Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever “grand bargain” they want President Obama to embrace in the name of “fiscal responsibility.” The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea–Washington’s leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.

These players are promoting a tricky way to whack Social Security benefits, but to do it behind closed doors so the public cannot see what’s happening or figure out which politicians to blame. The essential transaction would amount to misappropriating the trillions in Social Security taxes that workers have paid to finance their retirement benefits. This swindle is portrayed as “fiscal reform.” In fact, it’s the political equivalent of bait-and-switch fraud.

Oh yes, none other than Mr. “IOUSA”, Republican billionaire Peter Peterson, is out on a mission to finish what George W. Bush started in destroying the bedrock American social safety net. And why is he out to take away working people’s right to a poverty-free retirement? Bascially, he and his fellow “market fundamentalist” buddies hate The New Deal. They hate the fact that “socialist” policies have kept the American capitalist system intact, so they’re out to dismantle our social safety net so they can have their laissez-faire nirvana.

But why is President Obama cozying up to this? Hasn’t he promised us that he will protect Social Security and Medicare? Yes, he has. So why are we even talking about this “fiscal responsibility summit” that’s nothing more than a radical right scheme in disguise? That’s what we need to know.

Now’s a good time for us to contact President Obama and our members of Congress, before any “fiscal responsibility” ponzi scheme takes hold. Again, we need to remind them that they work for us, not the “Broder-Friedman media establishment”. We defeated Bush’s privatization program in 2005, and we can defeat it again in 2009. With so many other crises to tackle, like health care and climate change, there’s no reason to rush into the non-crisis of Social Security & Medicare.

We elected President Obama & the new Congress on the promise that they will bring change to Washington. So why should we let Washington change them? Let’s remind them who they’re working for and what kind of change we want to see on “entitlement reform”.


  1. and I don’t know who else you hire to create a plan other than economists (pretty well all of whom missed all of the current economic problems).  I’ll wait to hear what sorts of plans they offer before I start bonfires outside their homes.

    The one thing I do know, though, is what I told my step-brother when he went off about Obama keeping Gates on as SecDef.  When Rush Limbaugh is unhappy and my step-brother (an icon of the ultra-left) is unhappy, then I’m probably pleased as punch.  I seriously doubt Obama is going to destroy the social safety net, on the one hand – or institute socialism, on the other.

  2. Everyone is talking about entitlement reform. That could mean some changes in SS like higher cut-of rate, means testing, etc… When it comes to Medicare, Obama intends to expand it to cover more people, why would anyone think he is going to do away with it?

    One thing we all know, Obama is a community organizer. He seems to believe in the principles behind it. Turning over something like SS reform to a panel consisting of only economists goes against everything I know about community organizing. Why would Obama turn against his core philosophical beliefs?

  3. HappyinVT

    emphasis mine.  There’s a lot more on that page but I thought this was the relevant part…

    SENIORS & SOCIAL SECURITYProtect Social Security

    President Obama and Vice President Biden are committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama and Biden will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. They will protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries alike, and they do not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age. Obama and Biden are strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security. As part of a bipartisan plan that would be phased in over many years, they will ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound. Obama does not support uncapping the full payroll tax 12.4 percent rate. Instead, he and Joe Biden are considering plans that will ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee).

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