Time for Grandma to get a job?
April 28, 2010 7:35am CST
[i] Interest groups are sounding the alarm that President Obama's newly created debt commission could start hacking away at Social Security benefits in the name of closing the budget gap. As the 18-member panel held its first meeting, top executives from seniors groups and other organizations called for full transparency in its negotiations in the months ahead and urged the commission to consider the implications of putting entitlement programs on the chopping block. Some activists also criticized the commission's co-chairmen for planning to attend a fiscal summit Wednesday in Washington hosted by billionaire banker Peter Peterson, known for his criticism of Social Security. "Social Security is important not just to seniors, but to their children and grandchildren," Donna Butts, director of Generations United, said in a written statement. The National Council of La Raza noted the importance of the entitlement program to Latino communities. Paralyzed Veterans of America noted the importance of the program to veterans. Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, said in a statement that Peterson's summit on Wednesday is part of an "endless campaign to gut Social Security and Medicare." The outcry underscored the controversy and suspicion surrounding the work of the commission, which is expected to hash out ideas for reducing the deficit and the soaring national debt, and produce a set of recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1. The commission already has stirred controversy over the possibility that it might recommend a national sales tax to raise revenue. It also is taking heat over charges that it will turn instead to spending cuts. related links * Debt Commission Gets Started With 'Everything' on the Table, Including National Sales Tax The co-chairmen of the commission, as well as the president, have tried to tamp down on the speculation about what the group will discuss, saying the country's fiscal problems are reaching a breaking point and that "everything" has to be on the table. Co-Chairman Erskine Bowles said on "Fox News Sunday" that when it comes to the idea of entitlement program cuts, Democrats "have to" be willing to go along with them. "If we're going to be serious about balancing the federal budget and righting this fiscal ship, then we have got to have everything on the table, and that includes the entitlement programs," he said. "We'll never get to balance unless they're on the table." Prior attempts by the U.S. Congress to tackle Social Security -- known as the "third rail" of American politics -- have failed and stalled. Former President George W. Bush proposed a partial privatization of the system during his second term, but Congress did not move forward with the plan. But Social Security is rapidly deteriorating, and the recession is making things worse. The Congressional Budget Office reported last month that the seniors benefits program will pay out more than it receives in taxes this year -- something that wasn't expected to happen for another several years. Also, the federal government for years has borrowed against the account's surplus, meaning there's no rainy-day fund to make up the difference as baby boomers starting soaking up more and more benefits. Obama has said he does not want to raise the retirement age -- one possible way to move toward solvency -- but has spoken in favor of raising the cap on the payroll tax that funds the program. He is not commenting specifically on what the debt commission might consider. But many groups are urging it to think twice before messing with Social Security in order to save other programs. "Simply put, Social Security has not contributed one thin dime to the current deficit. It should not be used as a piggy bank to pay our way out of the fiscal hole we find ourselves in," said Barbara Kennelly, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Seventy-seven groups wrote a letter to Bowles and co-chairman Alan Simpson urging them to air their proceedings on C-SPAN and publicly disclose the impact of their proposals on different demographic groups. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., made a similar request, writing in a letter that the commission will make recommendations that "will impact every single American." He cited "our social safety net" among the programs up for consideration. Simpson, a former Republican senator, said there are no sacred cows when it comes to taxes or spending because the minor economic comeback so far this year can do nothing to sustain the rate of debt. "If that's the wind, that's got to be a sparrow belch in a typhoon. We can't grow our way out of this. Double rates the growth in 30 years wouldn't grow out of this," he said, adding that the United States is going to borrow to pay for war, homeland security, education and veteran benefits, not to mention the cost of obligations through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The deficit for fiscal 2009, which ended last September, was $1.4 trillion. The commission has been called on to reduce to deficit to within $550 billion by 2015, meaning the members need to find at least $250 billion in cuts and revenue.[/i] http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/27/groups-raise-alarm-social-security-tampering-debt-commission-meets/ I think it is way to soon to get your panties in a bunch but of course the special interest groups will be hanging around. I think it will be interesting to see which direction the commission goes. What do you think? Where would you start slicing?
• United States
28 Apr 10
I'd start with spending cuts, leaving taxation on the table (we'll need it too). All entitlement programs and Administration, Congressional and Supreme Court agencies' budgets should be on the table. I'd begin by rolling back the entitlement programs...Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid AND the new health-care law. I'd cut agency budgets, to include DoD, DoE, DoI, EPA, NASA, NEA, etc. and I might even consider eliminating numerous agencies. Yes, that would mean not having the Federal Government perform these functions any longer (they shouldn't have been performing them in the first place). I'd look at every program with an eye to eliminating it or downsizing it; I'd look at research projects, grants...everything. And then, I'd look at options for taxation, revamping the income tax, instituting a national sales tax or VAT, etc. But taxation only after spending has been addressed. I'd also cut Congressional/Administration/Supreme Court personnel salaries.
• United States
29 Apr 10
Who knows what is going to happen. I know there is a lot of unnecessary pork barrel spending. Giving amenisty to illegal aliens and then giving them social security is one of the problems. Have Congress take some cuts in Salary and even the president. Anyone having an income of over $200,000 should not get Social Security unless they did not have a retirement 401K or other retirement. If they have that and it is suffiencent then they should not get SS. Take people off Social Security who can actually work full time and are milking the system. Make them get education and training and get a real job. I know several who are doing this because of some alleged behavioral or borderline mental or emotional disability but they mostly are lazy and just want a free hand out. Take people off who unless truly cannot work due to severe disability and there are people like that. Stop giving so much aide to other countries when our own is falling apart. You cannot help everyone. Charity should start at home. Stop giving free housing and help and food stamps and medical to any illegal alien period. They are here illegally do not help them. Do not make it where they want to come here and get freebies at tax payer expense. Put a cap on credit cards and spending. Take a good look at education and fund ONLY true education not sports and extra curricular things. Allow grandma to work if she is able and wants to and if she is not making enough help her with a smaller SS check and medical. Stop giving grants to stupid studies like the pimple on a bugs butt. Or the study of why a leaf turns color or some stupid thing like that. Stop printing new money to pay off debts. Start a barter and trade system of goods and services.
• United States
29 Apr 10
Lets start with the people who caused the problem. Cut congress to one staffer per member and a travel budget of $0.00. They have to follow all the IRS procedures and rules. Travel home is not reimbursable nor deductible. To pay for the debt 15% of their salary will be deducted to cover the debt. Once they are personally affected then they may take things more seriously and think about what they are voting for. Next start by eliminating any department that is not expressly authorized in the Constitution.
• United States
29 Apr 10
Excellent ideas Bobmnu. I think we should take this discussion and write all the good ideas down and send them to every congress and senator of congress and the house reps and tell them this is what WE the PEOPLE demand. After all it is supposed to be a government of, by and for the people not the wealthy, the moneyed the privilaged. Tell this to all the politicians in office currently and all canidates running against them. Take back our nation into the hands of WE THE PEOPLE. Not for the special interest groups. Oh and bring home our troops to take care of America leave those religious wars in other nations. As to 9/11 that was not done by terrorists it was done by our own government to make us think it was terrorists. Look at the facts and you will see that.
29 Apr 10
hiii there laglen I think they should start cutting spending from criminals.USA should stop aiding other countries.Do you know USA give aid to Israel,India,Pakistan Bangladesh and many other countries.I dont understand why on the earth they are giving aid to these countries.One should look at their own home before giving such a huge amount to other countries for "Humanatirian purpose".
• United States
28 Apr 10
What would you call 9/11, why wait till they are on our land before fighting back. The UK fought the Nazi's during WWII and they had not invaded you. The fighting was still in the main land of Europe but you sent troops and fought to stop the Nazi's. Perhaps it was because they were bombing our country, same as 9/11. Other countries don't invade us because they know we are so strong, and they don't invade England because they know that we will save you, just as we have in the past.
28 Apr 10
hi justathought. i suspected somebody would bring that up. you have experienced terrorist attacks. so have we. this is not the same as being invaded by another country, or indeed having your neighbours invaded by another country and knowing you will be next. in fact some of your terrorist attacks were internal. i am not downplaying how serious this is but it is not the same as war and it needs to be dealt with in a different way. erm - what has the states joining the allies in the second world war got to do with the way the world is now incidentally?