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Green Party Rejects Obama’s “Catfood” Commission Cuts to Social Security & Medicare

h/t Owen Broadhurst

Green Party urges rejection of proposal by Obama’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission to scale back Social Security and Medicare

Green Party: Commission’s linking of Social Security and the budget deficit is deceptive; deficit crisis can solved by withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting the military budget, and canceling tax breaks for the wealthy

Green Party leaders called on Congress and the American people to reject a proposal by President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to scale back Social Security and require Medicare recipients to pay more out-of-pocket costs for services. Greens said that the bipartisan commission’s recommendations, if supported by Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats, would amount to a betrayal of voters, and called the attempt to link spending on Social Security with the deficit a deception.

Starlene Rankin

Starlene Rankin

Starlene Rankin, co-chair of the Green Party’s Lavender Green Caucus:

Taking an ax to Social Security does nothing to close the federal budget deficit, because Social Security is a separate account. If President Obama and Congress really want to reduce the deficit, they should begin by ending the war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq, ordering all troops and military contractors home, and reducing the military budget. The debt was caused by the two wars, bloated military budgets, tax breaks for rich people, and the huge Wall Street bailouts.

Powerful lobbies want to turn Social Security into a feeding trough. Congress and the White House are under heavy pressure from the financial industry to scale back Social Security, which would have the effect of privatizing it, by driving people to invest more of their retirement savings in the Wall Street casino. Indexing Social Security to life expectancy and raising the age for recipients would place more older Americans in competition with younger people for jobs and depress wages for everyone.

“Placing greater financial burden on Medicare recipients would reduce access to urgently needed medical treatment. Most Americans prefer greater stronger government involvement and protections for health care, not less (AP poll, Sept. 26,http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=11725663). Voters in 2010 overwhelmingly reelected Congress members who co-sponsored legislation for Medicare For All — single-payer national health care, which the Green Party supports (http://beavercountyblue.org/2010/11/04/medicare-for-all-co-sponsors-returned-to-congress-by-big-margins/).

Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years, as economist Dean Baker and others have noted and contrary to statements from Democratic and Republican politicians and the media. Any projected shortfall could be offset if the White House and Congress abolished the cap for top-income earners paying into the system. Most working Americans pay 6.2% FICA tax on their entire incomes. The top 6% pay FICA only on their first $106,800. If we cancel the cap and maintain present benefits levels, the surplus will continue, even after 2037. This idea has support from a majority of Americans, even Republicans. (Source: Gallup Poll, July 2010,http://www.gallup.com/poll/141611/Americans-Look-Wealthy-Help-Save-Social-Security.aspx)

Darryl L.C. Moch, member of the DC Statehood Green Party and the Green Party Black Caucus:

“The Commission’s recommendation that Social Security be made more progressive, by increasing benefits for middle- and low-income wage earners while reducing benefits for the very top brackets, is a good idea. But this should be done in the context of strengthening Social Security, not making cuts or tying it to the deficit. Democrats and Republicans are sacrificing financial security for working people and help for poor people to subsidize wars and Wall Street. Greens have repeatedly warned that the Democrats, in their deluded attempt to appeal to the ‘center’ and appease the GOP, would be the first to begin dismantling Social Security and Medicare — a long-range Republican goal — and the Catfood Commission proves that Greens are right.”


“Action on Social Security: The Urgent Need for Delay” By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, November 2010 http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/action-on-social-security-the-urgent-need-for-delay

Healthcare-NOW! http://www.healthcare-now.org

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