Tag Archive: Social Security

“It’s Their Money. It’s Their Money.” Cow Cookies

At his town hall in NJ today, John McCain says that he doesn’t want to privatize Social Security, but he wants to allow younger people to put a percentage of the money in an account for themselves. (video is after the jump)

And I, just to let you know, want to preserve the death penalty but not allow anyone to be put to death.

I also want to preserve dual-office holding, but want to deny elected officials from holding more than one elected position.

Seriously, didn’t McCain watch Bush get slapped around trying exactly this same thing in 2005?  It was the turning point when his party started going south!

But the real point I want to make is how stupid it is of McCain to defend the privatization use of private Social Security accounts by repeating the mantra, “It’s their money, It’s their money.”

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of our government in general and of Social Security in specific.  Because — wait for it — IT’S NOT THEIR FUCKING MONEY.

Social Security is built upon a contract between the recipients and the payees, and enforced by the federal government.  It’s a very simple contract, as well, which anyone with an ounce of sense can understand.

1) Payees pay for payments made to current recipients, including retirees, the aged, widows and widowers, children and the disabled;

2) When said payees reach a certain age, become widowed, or die leaving a widow(er) or children, then these same payments accrue to them.

When we send money to Verizon for our cell phone, we don’t think of it as “my money” after we send the check.  Hell, we don’t even think of insurance payments as “my money” after we write the check — but just like Social Security we expect to receive the service after we paid the premium.

It’s not like putting your money into a savings account, a pension fund, a mattress or anywhere else.  It’s just insurance: if you pay for other people today, you are guaranteed to receive payments when you are in that situation later.

It’s the same problem as when Republicans talk about taxes as if it is an individual’s money.  It’s not Bob Barker’s money, or Mr. Huntsu’s money, or George Bush’s money, or Sally the Dry Cleaner’s money.  

We all pay into a fund, and after we pay into the fund it is not any individual’s money.  It belongs to all of us, and we elect people like John McCain to figure out the best way to spend it to make the country even better.  It’s the price of living in the best, freest, most economically mobile country in the world.

But the Republicans don’t understand this.  They think that the money they pay in taxes is somehow a punishment as opposed to a payment for services to be rendered.  

Could the payment be lower?  Certainly.  Could the product be better?  Certainly.  That’s not my argument.

The argument is that taxes — Social Security or income or whatever — are part of a contract we have with our country to pay for the services we are to receive.  Just like our phones, cable, water, electric, insurance and other bills the money is no longer ours once we pay for the product.

You’d think people who are so into the free market would get this.

They’re not.

Will the NJ GOP Attack Chairman Martinez for Amnesty and Social Security for Illegal Aliens?

Today, U.S. Senator Mel Martinez was named the new general chairman of the Republican National Committee. Like Senator Menendez, Senator Martinez is a Cuban-American.

And also like Senator Menendez, Senator Martinez voted to table this amendment:

S.Amdt. 3985  to S. 2611 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006)
To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.

If you’ve already forgotten, this vote spawned numerous attacks on Senator Menendez. My home received two mailers, funded by the NJ Republican State Committee, entirely devoted to that vote. And who can forget the ads?

So the question is, ‘Will the NJ GOP attack Chairman Martinez for giving Amnesty and Social Security benefits to illegal aliens?’

A list of the other GOP Senators who voted to table the amendment after the jump.

Social Security Privatization & Seeds of Doubt

The Republicans are going all over New Jersey telling people that the Democrats want to give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens. The Republican State Committee is sending out mailers, the RNC is putting up commercials, and Kean Jr is using this talking point to avoid giving his own plan — on immigration or Social Security.

This is a hollow campaign tactic the Republicans are using around the country. Who else voted for the Senate ammendment? Republicans McCain, Hagel, Stevens, Lugar, Martinez, Graham, Specter, Chafee, and Voinovich. So what’s this all about?

It’s a part of a larger Republican strategy to privatize Social Security.

President Bush has announced his intentions, but he has some very hardened opinions to overcome. Americans don’t trust him to fix Social Security. They think his party is ill-intentioned. So what do they do?

They plant the seeds of doubt early. They will ask, “You trust the Democrats on Social Security?! You know their plan is to give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants? Don’t you remember it from the campaign?”

And that’s how they get their foot in the door.

Ferguson is a Social Security Bamboozler

In the October 26 issue of the Cranford Chronicle, it is reported that Ferguson claims he would not vote to privatize Social Security:

The race for Congress ran through Cranford last week, as Republican Mike Ferguson, the incumbent in New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District, and Democratic challenger Linda Stender, a state assemblywoman from Union County, met with residents of the Cranford Senior Housing complex.

Appearing separately before the seniors, Stender and Ferguson fielded pre-selected questions on topics such as Social Security, stem cell research and the war in Iraq…

On Social Security, both candidates are against privatization and agreed that benefits to current recipients should not and will not be changed.

Well, do you remember March 4, 2005?  On that day, Ferguson stood beside George W. Bush at the Westfield Armory during Bush’s Social Security Bamboozlepalooza Tour.  Mike might say that he is against privatization, but if you pressed him, he would probably start talking about personal accounts or individual accounts – which are just other ways of saying privatization.  According to TPM blogger Josh Marshall, Ferguson favors Social Security privatization and phase-out, and he has supported the Bush scheme for years.  Ferguson is trying to fool voters with semantics, and he is being dishonest. 

Op-Ed: Bush/Ferguson Hurting Seniors On Social Security, Medicare, Prescription Drugs

President George Bush and Rep. Mike Ferguson are hurting seniors on the issues that matter most to them – Social Security, Medicare, and prescription drugs

Instead of working to strengthen Social Security, improve Medicare, and lower the cost of prescription drugs, Bush and Ferguson are doing the opposite and are catering to special interest groups that look to take advantage of seniors.

President Bush and Mike Ferguson should be ashamed of themselves for their positions on Social Security, Medicare, and prescription drugs. Last year, Mike Ferguson even brought President Bush to Westfield to discuss his proposal to privatize Social Security. 

Mike Ferguson has voted nine times to raid the Social Security Trust Fund. In 2005, he also voted for a GOP budget resolution that will raid the Social Security Trust Fund of more than $1.1 trillion over the next five years.

     

Taking the Social Security fight (back) to the GOP

With the seventy-first anniversary of Social Security coming up this monday, Senate Democrats are serving notice that they plan to make the President’s privatization  scheme a centerpiece in their stragety to retake the House and Senate in November.

After the resonding political defeat Bush took on socSec privatization last year, you’d think the idea would be long dead.  Think again.  In fact, the President’s Chief of Staff and Treasury secretary have both expressed their will to renew the push to gamble your retirement security in the stockmarket.  You know the calculus by now: if Bush gets his way, the debt will go up up up and benefits will go down down down.  I should note that the stock market is actually lower today than it was the day Bush was elected…I’ll let you do the math.  In the meantime, it’s worth underscoring that without a compliant GOP Congress, the President’s plans will fail.  Resoundingly.

Yesterday, the outreach and advocacy group Center for America’s Future hosted a conference call with Senator Menendez and others to discuss the stragety to beat back the privatization scheme once and for all.  The fact is, this issue is huge.  Not only is socSec the single biggest issue among the over-65 set, but it’s a priority for swing voters as well.  In other words, this is a major campaign issue for the Democrats heading into November.

Sen. Menendez:

(Social Security) ensures dignity and independence in the twilight years. Americans — when armed with the facts will refuse to go along (with Bush’s plan to privatize.)

Junior gets his wings clipped on WHYY’s ‘Radio Times’

Tom Kean Jr was on WHYY‘s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane yesterday, as part of the “meet the candidate” series.  (For those of you not in the Philly area, that’s the local NPR affiliate.)  Anyway the show was an hour long and Junior did his best to avoid anything really substanative.

You should listen to the interview if you get a chance.  Granted, it’s not terribly compelling.  But to listen to Kean talking hammers home the need to keep him out of the Senate.

I managed to get on the show and ask about Social Security.  His answer wasn’t very satisfying.  Our exchange went  like this:

Marty:  We’ve got Jay from Cherry Hill.  Jay, go ahead.

Jay:  G’morning Marty, thanks for taking my call.  I’m just wondering if Mr. Kean could possibly clarify his position on the Social Security debate, privatization, etc.

Junior:  (Long, long awkward pause.)  I……I…..oppose privatization.  (another long pregnant pause)

Marty:  And by that you also part ways with the President?

Junior:  Ummmm, yes…….Certainly.

Marty:  Although when you were running for Congress in 2000 — I’m looking at a Star Ledger report here —  you supported investing 2% of the Social Security trustfund in the stockmarket.  Maybe you changed your position on that?

Junior:  What I was focusing on in 2000, ummm,  I have the exact same position that Jon Corzine and Bob Menendez had at the time.  Clearly those options are off the table and I disagree with the President fundamentally on this issue.  Blah blah blah blah blah Bob Menendez, blah blah.  Yammer yammer Bob Menendez boo hoo hoo.  Piss piss, moan moan.  Bob Menendez blah blah blah.  Yadda yadda yadda Bob Menendez, blah blah blah.

(Continue beneath the fold for the really good stuff.)

NJ Dem Congressional Delegation calls out Junior on Social Security

Menendez Social Security Press ConferenceFor those of you who thought George W. Bush’s plan to privative Social Security was a thing of the past, THINK AGAIN.

In today’s press conference at the Trenton Statehouse, Senator Robert Menendez issued a clear warning:  inspite of the beatdown the President took on Social Security last year, Bush plans to reintroduce his privatization scheme right after the November election.

Menendez:

Last month (Whitehouse chief of staff Bolton) said the President intends to again put privatization front and center on the agenda when a new Congress convenes next year.  The sad reality is that Social Security is still under siege.  George Bush is trying to privatize it and Tom Kean Jr. wants to go to Washington to help him finish the job.  And I’m not gonna let him.”

Sen. Lautenberg was also on hand, as were Congressmen Andrews, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne and Rothman. 

Lautenberg:

We shouldn’t be risking people’s money when, for many, Social Security is their primary source of independence.  Since 2000, the stock market is down 4%.  It’s too much of a gamble.

Then he quipped that the press conference should have been in Atlantic City since the Bush/Kean plan is like “rolling the dice.”

So the idea of tying up Social Security into the stock market seems like a curious plan. Who would stand to gain the most?  Wallstreet perhaps?
 
read on beneath the fold…..

The Gingerbread Kean

Here’s my suggestion for the theme song of Tom Kean Jr.’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. I offer it to Kid Kean free of charge — not because he’s hard up for cash, what with Dick Cheney and other GOP sleaze weasels helping out with fundraising, but because I’m picky about where my money comes from. Unlike Tom.

My suggestion is . . .

Where’s Junior on Social Security? We May Have Found Him.

Where's JuniorJoshua Marshall at Talking Points Memo challenged readers to find out where Tom Kean, Jr stands on Social Security, since his website is incredibly vague.

Tom Kean Jr has been on the “destroy Social Security” bandwagon for quite a while. It turns out that when Junior ran for a House seat in 2000, his position was crystal clear. He wanted to take the “social” out of Social Security:

Mr. Kean supports investing 2 percent of the Social Security Trust Fund in the Stock Market, in the form of personal retirement accounts that would be controlled by individuals rather than the government.

Since then, he’s been asked about Social Security countless times and has never disavowed his previous position. The statement on his website is still worded to be intentionally vague, but he can’t hide from the fact that he’ll just be another rubber stamp for gutting Social Security. Is he too ashamed to admit his true intentions to New Jersey voters?