Monday, June 02, 2014

Tomorrow: A Battle Between The Two Wings Of The Democratic Party-- the Republican Wing And The Democratic Wing


Millions of Democrats are eligible to go to the polls tomorrow and put their collective foot down and stop the rise of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. There are primaries in New Jersey, Iowa, Montana, and California where the two wings are in deadly conflict. In most cases, most Democrats aren't even bothering to learn the issues or understand that the primary tomorrow is as important-- or in many cases-- more important than the November election. Far more Democrats will not vote tomorrow than will vote. Even though the most basic, core issues of values are at stake.

Yesterday Dave Cole released a last minute TV ad (above) attacking corporate shill Bill Hughes, a machine candidate backed by Steve Israel. Like most of the questionable Democrats from the Republican wing of the party, Hughes favors cutting Social Security. Among the most important races tomorrow, so do Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Ro Khanna (CA-17) and Matt Miller (CA-33) in California. Each has spoken publicly about either raising the retirement age for Social Security or using Chained CPI as a means to cut back on earned benefits for retirees. Each represents the interests of the wealthy donor class against ordinary working families. Most Democratic donors in the districts are just yawning complacently.

Dave Cole's ad comes just days after the Philadelphia Inquirer made public Hughes’s plan for Social Security. Cole points out that the plan "aligns with the interests of billionaire big business CEOs and the failed economic policies of conservatives like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and George W. Bush, instead of middle class families in South Jersey." The Inquirer: "Hughes would seek a study to consider the impact of raising the retirement age by six months."

Responding to the Inquirer’s report, Cole said, "It’s astonishing to me that someone could call himself a Democrat while being open to cutting Social Security. For me, benefit cuts and raising the retirement age are completely off the table. Hughes is out of touch with the realities and needs of working families and retirees who depend on the benefits they’ve earned. Our seniors deserve better than Bill."

From the beginning of his campaign, Cole has made protecting and expanding Social Security benefits for seniors a cornerstone of his campaign. Cole opposes any efforts to cut or privatize Social Security benefits, including raising the retirement age or cutting cost of living adjustments. Recently, in a TV interview with NBC40, Cole again advocated for protecting and expanding social security benefits:
We talk a lot about protecting social security. It's very important that we stand up against attempts to privatize and sell off benefits that seniors have worked for and have earned, but we also need to be proactive and expand Social Security. One of the problems is that Social Security does not meet the needs of seniors today. It hasn't kept up with the cost of living. So I'm also taking the stance that we can expand it. And there's a fiscally responsible way to do that: it's called scrapping the [income] cap… If we get rid of that cap, which is a very popular idea, it makes the system fair for everybody, and we can support social security and expanding benefits into the future indefinitely.
Leading economists like Paul Krugman and Dean Baker also advocate for the kind of Social Security benefits expansion Cole supports, and they have debunked arguments for raising the retirement age, as Hughes would be open to doing.

“[Raising the retirement age] sounds plausible until you look at exactly who is living longer,” explains Krugman. “The rise in life expectancy, it turns out, is overwhelmingly a story about affluent, well-educated Americans. Those with lower incomes and less education have, at best, seen hardly any rise in life expectancy at age 65; in fact, those with less education have seen their life expectancy decline. So this common argument amounts, in effect, to the notion that we can’t let janitors retire because lawyers are living longer.”

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have also called for expanding social security benefits, shifting the formula that measures senior citizens’ cost of living so that would increase benefits for retirees, not cut them.

In tomorrow's primaries, the Democrats in House races most committed and best equipped to never surrender to the corporatists on Social Security are:
IA-01- Pat Murphy
NJ-12- Bonnie Watson Coleman
NJ-02- Dave Cole
CA-17- Mike Honda
CA-25- Lee Rogers
CA-31- Eloise Reyes
CA-33- Ted Lieu and Marianne Williamson
Pat Murphy was the Speaker of the Iowa House and today he's running for the open Iowa House seat Bruce Braley. He has a phenomenal record backing up his claims that he's the bets and most effective progressive running. When it comes to protecting Social Security, I can't think of better hands to put it in. “My parents," he told us, "raised me to keep my word and stand up for what’s right. We’ve made a promise to seniors who have worked hard and paid into Social Security for decades that their benefits will be there when they need them, and I intend to keep that promise. It’s the right thing to do. We need to find long-term solutions to the solvency issues that are facing Social Security, but these can't be unfair measures, like chained CPI, that cut benefits and threaten the quality of the program. By raising the cap on the Social Security tax we can extend solvency and create a tax system that fairly taxes income, whether you make $50,000 or $500,000 a year.”

Pete Aguilar has been endorsed by the Wall Street owned New Dems and his campaign is being financed by the Credit Union PAC which seeks to destroy Social Security. Before Steve Israel shut him up he brayed in the press about cutting back on benefits for seniors. Eloise Reyes is the polar opposite. She's been endorsed by the Congressioanl Progressive Caucus and this is what she told us about protecting Social Security against predators and their handmaidens like Pete Aguilar:
The need to protect-- and, in fact, expand--Social Security could not be clearer, especially with fewer and fewer companies offering pensions or other retirement plans to their employees. Our seniors and veterans depend on these benefits to get by and, in many cases, Social Security is their only source of income. What we saw during the economic downturn in recent years was that while many people watched the value of their homes, savings and 401k plans take a sharp downturn, they were still able to count on their Social Security benefits.

Social Security is an effective, essential and popular program that is far too important to treat as a legislative bargaining chip. What we should be talking about is how to strengthen and expand our Social Security program by eliminating taxable wage caps, strengthening the formula used to calculate benefits and fighting back against the Chained CPI. Social Security benefits form a critical safety net for all Americans and, at a time when working families need them more than ever, we must take proactive steps to bolster this critical lifeline.
If you want to end Social Secuity and Medicare, there's already a Republican Party for that. That's not what the Democratic Party is all about-- at least it isn't what it should be about. Corporate shills like Aguilar, Hughes, Miller, Khanna and the rest should be defeated tomorrow.

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At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of these "battles" are really between the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party and the Third Way Wing of the Democratic Party. What the nation needs are Progressives, but we won't see them emerge until the power of the other two wings is eliminated with the crash of the global economy. then it's too late.


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