Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who Will Protect Social Security-- And Who Wants To Wreck It?


In the new ad above, the DCCC-connected SuperPAC, House Majority PAC, quotes AARP about the dangers seniors face if conservatives ever get their way in regard to privatizing Social Security. And they point out that the Republican candidate in the FL-13 special election, for the remainder of Bill Young's term, David Jolly, was a lobbyist who worked to privatize Social Security and who still favors that approach. All true. What the DCCC will avoid at all costs, of course, is an discussion of how so many of its candidates (and incumbents-- primarily New Dems and Blue Dogs) also favor a conservative approach hated by AARP-- Chained CPI.

Most of Steve Israel's mystery meat candidates have received strict orders to not answer any questions about Chained CPI. Last year when I called Pete Aguilar to see where he stood on key issues-- and long before I found the newspaper interview where he endorsed Chained CPI and other Austerity measures-- I couldn't get past his campaign manager, Boris Medzhibovsky, a former campaign worker for Rahm Emanuel. He was friendly and said he would have Aguilar call me back but that they couldn't answer any policy questions yet because the DCCC hasn't told them what the answers are yet. I assumed I was talking to an inexperienced intern who didn't understand not to talk that way to strangers, but, no, Boris Medzhibovsky turned out to be the campaign manager. Unless there are two Boris Medzhibovskys. But the Pete and Boris Show isn't the only circus the DCCC is running. Israel's Jumpstart roster of mostly closet conservative Democrats like Aguilar-- Ann Callis (IL), Jerry Cannon (MI), Sean Eldridge (NY), Jennifer Garrison (OH), Gwen Graham (FL), John Lewis (MT), Suzanne Patrick (VA), Domenic Recchia (NY), Kevin Strouse (PA)-- are on the wrong side of the ideological divide within the Democratic Party. They are all from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Bit don't expect any Majority PAC ads touting their feel ins about Chained CPI. The DCCC knows better than to trumpet that position to voters.

The Democratic Party Establishment-- from the corrupt Philly Machine to Steny Hoyer and his K Street goons-- have come to the aid of the most conservative of the 4 Democrats running for the PA-13 seat Allyson Schwartz is giving up to run for governor. And that would be former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who was defeated after she and her congressman husband got caught up in a multimillion dollar pyramid scheme that defrauded thousands of Americans. He went to prison and she settled comfortably into a life of obscurity… until their son married Chelsea Clinton and she decided to see if she could use the connection to catapult herself back into office so she could try-- once again-- to cut benefits for Social Security recipients.

Conventional wisdom-- relentlessly stoked by Margolies herself-- is that she was defeated in 1994 by Republican Jon Fox (who she had narrowly beaten in 1992) because of her heroic vote for Clinton's 1993 budget. She was the "deciding vote." But that isn't the full story. Margolies is a liberal on women's issues but, for a Democrat, a raging conservative on issues of economic justice. A few days ago she told the Philadelphia Daily News why she almost didn't vote for the Clinton budget. She claims President Clinton asked her "What would it take?" to get her to vote for the budget. "I said I wanted to talk about entitlements, I wanted further cuts, and I'll only be your last vote-- if you need it. And he did." Cutting entitlements and screwing working families is the kind of Democrat Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky has always been-- and that's one old dog that is definitely not learning any new tricks.

If you go to http://www.margoliesforcongress.com/ you come upon a Phildadelphia Inquirer story from June, 1994, "Social Security Curbs Proposed Marjorie Margolies-mezvinsky Is Touting Major Changes. Her GOP Foe, Jon Fox, Opposes The Plan." Voters in PA-13 should read it carefully. This is a candidate who is eager to cut Social Security and other benefits for working families. She sounds like a garden variety Republican, although the Republican that beat her in 1994 was more a defender of Social Security than she was-- and the way she disappointed the Democratic base and kept voters away from the polls is why she was really defeated that year. Her proposal to cut back on Social Security for retired Americans was even too conservative for Bill Clinton, who pointedly told her that "we do not deal with a problem like the deficit by (creating) income stagnation among the elderly."
Calling it the first fruit of last year's conference on entitlement spending, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky announced legislation yesterday that would raise the retirement age for Social Security recipients and limit their cost-of-living adjustments.

Margolies-Mezvinsky, who is seeking re-election, said the proposals would ensure Social Security's solvency and keep her pledge to control the costs of politically sensitive entitlement programs.

Social Security officials predicted in April that the trust fund would go broke in 35 years because of demographic shifts that would leave fewer workers supporting more retirees.

Margolies-Mezvinsky's proposal is a political gamble for the freshman Democrat, who is already in the doghouse with many constituents because of her 11th-hour switch last year in favor of President Clinton's budget bill and tax increases.

The current legislation, which Margolies-Mezvinsky is sponsoring with Minnesota Democrat Timothy J. Penny, would raise the retirement age to 70 by the year 2013-- beginning in 1999 and increasing the age by four months annually.

The retirement age currently ranges from 65 for those born before 1938 to 67 for those born after 1959. Those who retire earlier get reduced benefits.

The proposal would give only the bottom 20 percent of Social Security recipients the full cost-of-living adjustment, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index. Other recipients would receive a flat cost-of-living adjustment equal to that for recipients at the 20th percentile.

Margolies-Mezvinsky had made Clinton's attendance at December's entitlement conference at Bryn Mawr College a condition for her support of his budget. The budget increased taxes for affluent workers and for single Social Security recipients with incomes over $34,000 and couples with incomes over $44,000.

Although Clinton attended the conference, he said there should be only minor unspecified changes in Social Security. "We do not want to deal with a problem like the deficit by (creating) income stagnation among the elderly," Clinton said.

White House officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Social Security is among the touchiest issues for Congress, due in part to the lobbying strength of the American Association of Retired Persons, which claims 33 million members.

"They're not opposed to this," Margolies-Mezvinsky said. "We've been working with them so that we get their input."

But Martin Corry, AARP's director of federal affairs, said he was unaware of any contact between his group and Margolies-Mezvinsky since December.

He said AARP would oppose any form of "means testing" such as Margolies-Mezvinsky's proposal on cost-of-living adjustments.

"Changing the retirement age to age 70 is really premature," he added. ''There may well be changes in the retirement age, and they can be done gradually. I've seen nothing to suggest it needs to go to 70."

Republican Jon D. Fox, who will face Margolies-Mezvinsky in November, said he opposed her proposal, as well as another Democratic plan to increase payroll taxes.

Fox said he would have to study the issue further before making a proposal of his own.

"I'm going to be coming out in this campaign with proposals dealing with the protection of Social Security," Fox said in a telephone interview. "I'll be getting back to you on them."

Margolies-Mezvinsky said she did not know how the proposals would play in her largely Republican Montgomery County district.

"My feeling is it's the right thing to do. I think that what happens when you get to Washington is you see people saying to their constituents what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear."
And Steny Hoyer is busy raising money for her campaign against Daylin Leach, one of the most aggressively progressive leaders in Pennsylvania-- or anywhere. If you want to see seniors starve, you can contribute to Steny and Marjorie. If not… Daylin Leach.

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At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just sent excerpts of this to DCCC, DNC and WH and called DCCC leaving an angry message.

Here's the number: (202) 863-1500

Let's get on this

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Susan S said...

Give Gwen Graham a chance. She was an early Dean supporter back in 2003.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

I spoke to her on the phone. She wouldn't say a single word about issues. Finally she said she was in a bad cell phone and hung up. Susan, she's going to be a huge disappointment if you expect anything more than a garden variety Democrat who does exactly what leadership tells her to do.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous richardFLASH said...

ugh. jennifer garrison in ohio is the worst. keep up the drum beat on her, please.


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