Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Their Masks Fall-- The House Dems Who Do Not Support Social Security Expansion Expose Themselves


This morning, on FDR's 137th birthday, Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson (D-CT) introduced the Social Security 2100 Act. The bill, which would be the most significant update to Social Security since 1983, is meant to increase benefits and strengthen the Trust Fund. There are 203 co-sponsors. Not a single Republican and several of the worst Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party have signed on. There are 235 Democrats in Congress. So who hasn't signed on? The first place I looked was at the Blue Dog membership list and then the New Dem membership list, since those groups are where you find Democrats who oppose working families in the same way that Republicans do. These are the names of the refuseniks I found-- first the Blue Dogs:
Jim Cooper (Nashville, TN)
Jim Costa (Fresno, CA)
Charlie Crist (St. Petersburg, FL)
Joe Cunningham (Charleston, SC)
Josh Gottheimer (Bergen Co., NJ)
Dan Lipinski (Chicago, IL)
Stephanie Murphy (Orlando, FL)
Tom O'Halleran (Sedona, Flagstaff, AZ)
Anthony Brindisi (Utica, Binghampton, NY)
Brad Schneider (North Shore Chicagoland, IL)
Kurt Schrader (Willamette Valley, Salem, OR)
Max Rose (Staten Island, Brooklyn, NY)
Mikie Sherrill (Morris Co., NJ)
Xochitl Torres Small (Las Cruces, NM)
Jeff Van Drew (Atlantic City, NJ)
And these are the New Dems, although most of the Blue Dogs are also New Dems:
Scott Peters (San Diego, CA)
Colin Allred (Dallas, TX)
Lizzie Fletcher (Houston, TX)
Josh Harder (Modesto, CA)
Ron Kind (Eau Claire, La Crosse, WI)
Raja Krishamoorthi (Northwest Cook County, DuPage, IL)
Susie Lee (southern Clark Co., NV)
Elaine Luria (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, VA)
Ben McAdams (Salt Lake suburbs, Provo, UT)
Dean Phillips (west Minneapolis suburbs, MN)
Elissa Slotkin (Lansing, MI)
We've been warning you about these garbage members of Congress. And now you see why. Alex Lawson, who runs SocialSecurityWorks, told us that "There are over two hundred original co-sponsors on this bill from every corner of the party, every caucus, every geographic area, every everything. We will welcome everybody on after introduction and we expect their votes when this comes to the floor in the spring. Anybody who votes against this bill is ignoring the overwhelming majority of Democrats and even the majority of Republicans who support increasing Social Security benefits. Anybody who votes against this bill is making it crystal clear they work for the billionaires and not the people."

I asked Eva Putzova, the progressive candidate for Congress in AZ-01 challenging Tom O’Halleran, an "ex"-Republican and she had strong feelings that differed greatly from his: "Strengthening our social security program is a no brainer. Nobody should live in poverty and certainly nobody who worked all their life should worry about where the money for food and other basics will come from." This is what they refuse to support:

• Benefit bump for current and new beneficiaries – Provides an increase for all beneficiaries that is the equivalent of 2% of the average benefit. The United States faces a retirement crisis and a modest boost in Social Security benefits strengthens the one leg of the retirement system that that is universal and the most reliable.

• Protection against inflation – Improves the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula to better reflect the costs incurred by seniors through adopting a CPI-E formula.  This provision will help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.  Improved inflation protection will especially help older retirees and widows who are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as they age.]

• Protect low income workers – No one who paid into the system over a lifetime should retire into poverty.  The new minimum benefit will be set at 25% above the poverty line and would be tied to wage levels to ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind.

• Cut taxes for beneficiaries – Over 12 million Social Security recipients would see a tax cut.  Presently, your Social Security benefits are taxed if you have non-Social Security income exceeding $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for couples.  This would raise that threshold to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.

• Holding SSI, Medicaid, and CHIP Beneficiaries Harmless – Ensures that any increase in benefits from the bill do not result in a reduction in SSI benefits or loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.

• Have millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else – Presently, payroll taxes are not collected on wages over $132,900. This legislation would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000.  This provision would only affect the top 0.4% of wage earners.

• 50 cents per week to keep the system solvent – Gradually phase in an increase in the contribution rate beginning in 2020 so that by 2043, workers and employers would pay 7.4% instead of 6.2% today. For the average worker this would mean paying an additional 50 cents per week every year to keep the system solvent.

• Social Security Trust Fund Established – Social Security provides all-in-one retirement, survivor, and disability benefits funded through the dedicated FICA contribution paid by workers. There are technically two trust funds, Old-Age and Survivors (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI), and that are usually referred to as the Social Security Trust Fund. This provision combines the OASI & DI trust funds into one Social Security Trust Fund, to ensure that all benefits will be paid.
Natalie DeVito is a progressive activist and a friend of mine who lives on Staten Island. She took the news about Max Rose refusing to get behind Social Security badly. She e-mailed me this morning:
I'm shocked-- shocked! (in my best Captain Renault voice) to find Max Rose in lockstep with the Blue Dogs! Just a few weeks into his term, he has already managed to incite vocal opposition and disdain from core supporters and persistent surrogates for pandering to Republicans and making shady alliances. First it was the Blue Dogs, then the New Dems-- and to add extra insult to every progressive Democrat who knocked doors and chipped in cash, the Problem Solvers' Caucus, Third Way and No Labels. It's like the Five Point plan of every Progressive's nightmare. But this is Social Security, and it ain't even that "left."

Because Rose is unresponsive on social media and only communicates in soundbites after he's done something or been somewhere he wants to promote, one can only wonder how he'll vote until after it's recorded. It's a fair question as to whether he's trying to sneak in silently past the wealthy by casting a vote Democrats would appreciate, or suck on the Blue Dog teat and hope to sneak past the progressives instead.

A full six days before he cast his MTR vote with unanimous Republicans on January 23rd, one Sharon Pinsker posted on his official timeline, 
"Those of us who worked  to help get Max Rose elected seem to have a new task before us.  Sadly, we now need to turn our energy into calling him and knocking on his door to let him know what we think of his being part of what Sarah Sanders called the 'problem solvers caucus.' Lets ask Max Rose where he stands on the wall and what exactly he means by the statement that he will 'work with anyone.' A well-educated man (despite his efforts to offer that down-home vibe), Max Rose clearly knows the history of appeasement.  Here is the info. on his offices (by the way, no Brooklyn office...) "        
These aren't yesterday's Democrats, content to show up on Election Day, check a box and move on with their lives. They are organized and they are plugged in and they have no hesitation about weaponizing their voices. The hundreds of moms who canvassed, volunteered and remain plugged in are well-versed in the language of "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it."

They are watching the votes diligently.
They are unafraid to criticize.
They are as passionate as ever.
And they expect a Democrat to show up to work as a Democrat.

I'd suggest he work on sneaking past the bankers funding the Blue Dogs, because he'll never sneak his votes past these moms in action.

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At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

may I point out that:

1) 203 ain't enough to pass it
2) even if the house did pass it, the Nazi senate never would.

so you see, the Blues and News are safe to pretend to support it. It ain't goin nowhere no how. But the democraps get to pretend to be progressive on this -- Pelosi's charade, act I.

or did nobody understand the cynical nature of our two money party only politics?

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And 12:16 magical 3rd partiers? They would also be safe to pretend support too. The idea that some magical third party Congress is going to be pure and incorruptible is silly. Not only do you have to replace half of both Houses of Congress with your all these candidates you never seem to have any names attached to, but you have to then hope they all are true to their word and not just magical third party people in disguise.

The left flank of the Democratic Party will aggressively primary the worst of these. There are still too many blue districts that are represented by right-wing Dems. Winning in a turnout-driven primary vs. fighting the entrenched parties as a third candidate during a federal election is a no brainer for anyone who isn't a complete idiot.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


There is value in pushing bills through the House even if the Senate doesn't pass them. It would require real Democrats running in the 2020 election to use the blocked Senate bills as ammunition to attack the Republicans. Unfortunately, we have too many democraps, so they probably won't think to do so.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the democraps know this. but even though they'll run against the republicans blocking these things, they have no intention of passing them.

always ask what the money wants, because the money has dictated the democraps policy ACTIONS for over 35 years now.

The money wants NONE of the progressive policies. none.

and, 1:05, there is truth in what you say. But surrendering by delusionally electing democraps will NEVER make anything better.
For the true western liberal democracy, kinda like Canada, EVERY voter must be engaged and they need to see results. Think of '32 - '52.
IF every lefty moron takes the same no-brainer easy way out (just vote blue), the money wins and wins and wins (think '82 - now).
IF everyone gets engaged and makes a new left movement happen, MAYBE we can stay engaged enough to punish the posers and eventually have a relatively permanent left coalition actually representing you and me (or our children or our grandchildren).

If what you've been doing for 4 decades has never worked, maybe you should try something different.

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

trying something different is hard and requires time.

it's easier to accept the current pretense, keep electing the same fascist party, and bitch when anyone comes up with an idea to make things change.

then go back to the teevee machine or the facebook or the porn channel.

but americans all like to think of themselves as hard-working and industrious.

it's the same as worshipping jesus and then kidnapping poor brown kids just to scare them into going back home to be raped and killed.

as a society, we are truly shit.


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