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Before Simpson and Bowles Say: 'Cut Social Security,' Tell Congress to 'Strengthen It'! | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

Breaking news and analysis of politics, the economy and activism.

Before Simpson and Bowles Say: 'Cut Social Security,' Tell Congress to 'Strengthen It'!

On December 1, President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is expected to make a pitch for addressing the nation's deficit and debt challenges by attacking the retirement security of working Americans.

The commission co-chairs—former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowes—have made no secret about their determination to serve Wall Street speculators rather than the victims of the speculators.

Simpson and Bowles want to:

• Raise the retirement age to 69.

• Slash retirement benefits by up to 35 percent for middle-income earners.

• Reduce Social Security's annual cost-of-living adjustments.

• Cut healthcare benefits, including Medicare, and raise fees for veterans.

Make no mistake: the Simpson-Bowles plan is a scheme to begin the process of privatizing Social Security and Medicare—a goal already outlined by key Congressional Republicans such as Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the incoming chair of the House Budget Committee.

This approach plan is wrongheaded. It asks nothing of the Wall Street interests that created the crisis. It asks everything of working Americans who have already bailed out the banksters once.

That's unacceptable. And today, before commission co-chairs grab the headlines with itheir wrongheaded proposals, Americans need to flood the switchboards of Congress and the White House to say: Don't gut Social Security and Medicare to pay for another Wall Street bailout.

The 215 labor, religious, civil rights and community organizations that have formed the national coalition to strengthen Social Security have designated today, November 30, as "National Call Congress Day." They're urging Americans to call senators toll-free at 1-866-529-7630. Get more information here.

What's the ask?

The coalition says:

1.) Social Security did not cause the federal deficit; its benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit.

2.) Social Security should not be privatized in whole or in part.

3.) Social Security should not be means-tested.

4.) Congress should act in the coming few years to close Social Security’s funding gap by requiring those who are most able to afford it to pay somewhat more.

5.) Social Security’s retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further.

6.) Social Security’s benefits should not be reduced, including by changes to the COLA or the benefit formula.

7.) Social Security’s benefits should be increased for those who are most disadvantaged.

That's not the commission's plan. That's not Wall Street's plan. That's America's plan. And Congress needs to know that—no matter what Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles say—working Americans will not pay for Wall Street's mess.

 
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