Sunday, October 18, 2015

Elections Have Consequences: Conservatives Are Trying To Cut Social Security Benefits


A couple of dozen people liked my tweet on Thursday suggesting the need for a general congressional house-cleaning next year because of the decision to not have a cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment for people living on Social Security benefits. And this is on top of threats by Mitch McConnell and his Republican senators-- as well as the clown show running for that party's presidential nomination-- to actually cut benefits for Social Security and Medicare as the price for GOP cooperation for not letting the government go bankrupt. Worse yet, a small number of right-wing Democrats in the House, primarily Wall Street-owned New Dems like Patrick Murphy (FL), agree with McConnell. This hostage-taking has got to stop. And ironically, the congressman Murphy is running against for the open Florida Senate seat, Alan Grayson, is the guy leading the fight in the House to not just protect Social Security but to increase benefits that seniors have been cheated out of for years. Yesterday Grayson filed a bill to address the lack of a 2016 Social Security COLA. Grayson introduced The Seniors Deserve a Raise Act, which ties COLAs to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), an index that weighs more heavily the items that seniors actually spend more of their money on-- like health care-- rather than on a consumer price index that is based on the spending of urban workers, and not seniors. The Congressional Research Service estimates that using CPI-E since 1976 would have meant $388 BILLION more in payments to American seniors over the past 39 years.

"Simply put, most of our parents and grandparents desperately need a raise. And they clearly deserve one," Grayson said. "My bill calls for a 2.9% COLA for 2016, and ensures we give them a more accurate cost-of-living increase in the years ahead. Our seniors are seeing their costs rise-- their Social Security payments need to rise as well."

What Grayson is getting at is that the social contract has included a promise to maintain the purchasing power of Social Security's earned benefits" but has failed to do so, "cheating seniors out of $388 billion since COLAs began, and $25 billion during last year alone. That means that on average, each and every senior should be getting approximately $400 more each year in Social Security checks." Grayson told his Orlando area constituents about his bill:
Fixing Social Security COLAs will ensure that millions of seniors (and the disabled, who receive the same COLAs) are getting the benefits that they deserve. $400 a year may not seem like a lot to Donald Trump and his GOP friends/butlers, but I know the difference that it can make. It can mean being able to make the mortgage or rent payments on time, being able to pay the credit card bills, or even just being able to buy groceries.

Here’s some good news: I lined up fifty other Members of Congress to be “original cosponsors” of my Seniors Deserve a Raise Act, even before I introduced it. They care.

...Our seniors have done so much for us. The least we can do is keep our promise to give them the secure retirement they paid for, and earned.
Saving and expanding Social Security is popular on the Democratic side of the aisle, even if most Blue Dogs and New Dems are siding with the Republicans. These are the first batch of co-sponsors for Grayson's bill. If there is no COLA for 2016, these are the men and women who should not be kicked out of office (other progressives will be signing on as co-sponsors next week):
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Richard Nolan (D-MN)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Bob Brady (D-PA)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
John Conyers (D-MI)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Juan Vargas (D-CA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Marc Veasey (D-TX)
Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)
Mike Capuano (D-MA)
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Norma Torres (D-CA)
Andre Carson (D-IN)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Karen Bass (D-CA)
Bernie Thompson (D-MS)
Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Brendan Boyle (D-PA)
Matt Cartwright (D-PA)
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Robin Kelly (D-IL)
Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)

If you'd like to make sure Grayson-- and not a Republican or so-called "ex"-Republican (Murphy)-- is elected to the Senate seat Marco Rubio is abandoning in a futile run for the presidency, you can chip in to Grayson's grassroots campaign here.

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At 9:00 PM, Blogger tamtam said...

Go Grayson! If other countries can give their seniors decent social benefits (even ones that are economically worse off than we are), so can we!


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