Healthcare, Opinion, Taxes and the budget

We Need Progressive Reform Of The Social Security Program


franklin roosevelt stampRecent developments have shown the great importance which the Democratic Party needs be giving to progressive reform of the Social Security program. Conservative Republicans have become skilled at manipulating life expectancy tables to make it appear that the Social Security system is ““broken” when this in fact is total nonsense. And the Tea Party, a Marxist organization, has seized control of the Republican Party. The final stage of Classical Marxism is “the withering away of the State”, and this is exactly what the Tea Party wants. Of course Marx and Lenin thought of the “withering away of the State” as the arrival of a workers’ paradise. The Tea Party seeks the same goal for another reason, unrestrained corporate greed.

Progressive reform is not of course possible without a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White House. So our temporary position should be to draw a line in the sand against any reductions in Social Security benefits. But when the right time arrives, there are a number of reforms which I believe should be considered.

  1. The wealthy and the super-wealthy need to be paying their fair share of Social Security taxes. The current maximum taxable income for Social Security taxes is $110,100, and this needs to be very substantially increased.
  2. The Social Security Act of 1937 was written by male chauvinists. The program needs to be amended to reflect the current values of the Democratic Party. This means that benefits need to be based only on the highest 20 years of an employee’s earnings rather than the highest 35 years.
  3. The original purposes of the program which are to provide retirement and disability income have been obscured in a sea of political correctness. We need to have retirement benefits only for retired people, and the multi-billions of dollars being paid to people who are still working needs to stop. And we need to have disability benefits for disabled people, and stop the current practice of requiring an endless round of appeals and the involvement of lawyers before a disability benefits application is approved, even when the application is from a person who obviously cannot work.
  4. The proper retirement age needs to be set based on the type of employment during the working years. People involved in heavy labor should be allowed to retire at an earlier age than those working only in an office.
  5. Age reduced benefits need to be removed from the program. This current practice hurts everybody. It encourages people to retire too early when many productive years are still ahead. The psychological effects are often unhealthy. And the age reductions are steep and permanent. When people get into their 70’s and really need the money, age reduced benefits mean substantially less being paid per month.

This hardly exhausts the list of progressive reforms that deserve future consideration. But for the moment what is needed is a “No Way, Never!” response by all Democratic members of Congress to Tea Party efforts to promote phony “entitlement reform”.
Robert DeVries

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Point Loma Democratic Club of which he is a member.

7 Comments

  1. Robert, That is an excellent article and I hope more of our citizens become aware of the efforts of corporations and political conservatives to reduce/eliminate our earned benefits. This ideology can be labeled in various ways. Many consider it to be fascism as the Free Dictionary (www.thefreedictionary.com) notes, fascism/corporatism is “an attempt to create a ‘modern’ version of feudalism by merging the ‘corporate’ interests with those of the state.”

    However you categorize it, the bottom line is that it undermines the economic security of seniors, the poor and the middle class who depend upon these benefits to lead a life with some semblance of dignity.

    I think it will take a large scale movement to turn around these reverse Robinhood efforts. Right now the Fix the Debt coalition of CEOs has provided millions in funding for a PR war to cut entitlements. It will not be easy for the average citizen to counter their efforts, but for survival’s sake it is critical that we do so.

    Thank you for getting your thoughts and opinions out there.

    Vera

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  2. Gail Mackler says

    Your five points are very well taken……I agree whole heartedly with what you say. However, by starting the article with the mention that the Tea Party are modern day Marxists may cause some readers to disregard the rest of your article. That point can be made at the finale after you’ve won over the readers with the main substance of your argument.
    Gail

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  3. Robert DeVries says

    Some Tea Party folks got on my case about this article. My reply was:

    You’re not seeing the difference between Classical Marxism and Communism in practice. Classical Marxism was a theoretical construct totally out of touch with human nature. Whether it was enunciated by Marx or Lenin or Trotsky, it ALWAYS ended with “The Withering Away Of The State”. But this was always a theoretical business for academic purposes because Communism has always ended with a deranged dictator such as Stalin or Mao or Castro who used Marxist theory to grab unlimited personal power.

    Only the Tea Party has actually attempted to arrange “The Withering Away Of The State”. The motivation is different than a workers paradise of course. The Tea Party thinks of government as inherently evil and something to be ever downsized because government might interfere with unlimited corporate greed. The Tea Party believes in the vision of Alexander Hamilton of an America which belongs to “the rich and the well-born”.

    The Tea Party is an evil entity because its real goals are to hound the poor and the middle class into total poverty, and to do everything possible to express total contempt for minority groups.

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  4. Delores Washburn says

    Honestly, you have the tea party all wrong. They are just ordinary people who want to limit the reach of government. That includes government favoritism to corporations. I believe we all might have more in common than we think. We shouldn’t blindly demonize each other. We should listen to each other and find common ground and work together.

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    • We can agree on the need to limit favoritism to corporations, but often that requires regulation by government, greater reach. Fully agree that demonization is not useful, and that dialog is necessary to reach common ground. Just today we were discussing how support for Mayor Bob Filner is far larger than just the Democratic Party. Many independents and decline to state voters supported his election and over the last few months working class, middle class, and female registered Republicans are beginning to see what Veterans (of any political persuasion) have known for years – that Bob Filner’s policies are better for them. Removing the party label and looking at the policy is what’s important.

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      • Robert DeVries says

        I am not seeing any possibility of communication between Democrats and those favoring the Tea Party until such time as the Tea Party considers the Democratic Party to be a legitimate organization. Any check of Tea Party online mailing lists will show that Tea Party activists consider the Democratic Party to be part of the criminal community.

        Just by being known in the community as a Democratic activist, I have personally been subject to an endless round of personal abuse. One person sent a death threat unless I removed an Obama bumper sticker from my car. A Tea Party neighbor sent me a personal message accusing me of Treason Against the United States for being active in the Democratic Party. And when I was President of the Point Loma Democratic Club, I received several pieces of anonymous hate mail.

        The item I consider most objectionable about the Tea Party is their phony theology. From their perspective, it doesn’t do me any good to be in church every Sunday since only conservative Republicans can be part of the Christian Community.

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  5. Wow this is what you liberals are spewing?
    Tea party socialists? Haha what a joke. As you support a government run economy, 60%+ tax rates, and government run healthcare?

    Your assertions are absolute apocryphal nonsense. You speak as someone who doesn’t even know what communism is. Have you read The Communist Manifesto? Das Kapital?

    Certainly you haven’t read The Weath Of Nations or Atlas Shrugged.

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