Biden for the win
This is where Vice President Joe Biden comes in. While chowing down at a Virginia diner, he offered not once, but twice, a “flat guarantee” that Social Security would remain "unchanged." This was what he might call a "big effin deal," but somehow flat guarantees in Washington have a way of rounding themselves out.
So let’s be clear: keeping Social Security as it is - working very well - includes not messing with cost of living increases, or raising the retirement age, hurting our most vulnerable citizens. It means that the largest social insurance program for children, one that provided additional funds for P90X dreamboat Paul Ryan to go to college, remains as reliable as ever. It means that if you want to work with the other party, or at least the few members left who have a firing neuron or two, you need to make your principles as clear as they make theirs.
CBS News (NAT)
How you can save Social Security
Unless you've been sleeping in a cave for the past few decades, you're probably aware that Social Security has some funding challenges due to the aging of the baby boomers and the slowing of the economy. Now you can learn how to shore up Social Security by using AARP's online tool, Strengthen Social Security. This easy-to-use program allows you to "play lawmaker" and make various adjustments to benefits and contributions. It then shows you how much of the Social Security deficit could be reduced by making your various changes.
TC Palm (FL)
Letter: Sen. Sanders tells the Social Security story, so increase payroll tax for higher earners
Helen R. Frigo
This is part of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' recent email: "In the 77 years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935, the retirement program has been one of the nation's most successful anti-poverty programs. Before Social Security existed, about half of America's senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty."He continues: "In these highly volatile economic times, when millions of Americans lost their life savings in the 2008 Wall Street crash, it is important to remember that since its inception, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid every penny owed to every eligible beneficiary."
Daily Kos (Blog)
Vouchercare included in GOP platform
Now, it's official. We're not just talking about something the VP candidate proposed a year or two ago. The GOP, as a whole, has gone full steam ahead in their quest to gut Medicare and Medicaid, and they're making no real attempts to conceal it.
Let me qualify this by saying that the contents of the platform, originally leaked Friday, are only a draft. According to TPM:
The platform, snagged by Politico on Friday night after the Republican National Committee accidentally posted it to its website before taking it down, is scheduled to be approved at the convention early this week.
San Gabriel Valley (LA)
Bernie Sanders: `Deficit hawk hypocrites' want to cut Social Security
Now, having run up huge deficits, our born-again "deficit hawks" want to cut every program in sight to save money. In order to cover the costs they incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan, they want to cut Social Security. In order to cover the costs of the tax breaks for the rich, they want to cut Medicare and Medicaid. In order to cover the insurance-company-written Medicare prescription drug program, they want to cut education and food stamps.
This approach - balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor - is not only immoral, it is bad economic policy. It is something that must be vigorously opposed.
The $16 trillion national debt and the current $1 trillion deficit are serious problems, but they must be addressed in a fair way that will not cripple our economy, lead to the loss of jobs and punish people who are already hurting
Associated Press (NAT)
AP-GfK Poll: Raise taxes to save Social Security
Jennifer Agiesta and Stephen Ohlemacher
Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems. When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll. Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.
Concord Monitor (NH)
Trust these guys?!
Today I want to have a little chat with my compatriots - my fellow "people of a certain age," other chronologically enhanced Americans, you good Golden Oldies. Whatever you want to call yourselves, you know who you are. I mean all the folks who, like me, are currently enjoying - or hope soon to enjoy - the benefits of Medicare. There are fairly reliable reports out there that some of you are seriously considering trusting Republicans with the protection and preservation of that life-saving program that you cherish. And I have one question for you. Are you crazy? Have you learned nothing from the history of Medicare? As David Leonhardt notes in a New York Times outline of Medicare's history, Republican leadership opposed Medicare from its beginnings and over the years has floated one proposal after another to weaken the much-cherished lifeline for older and (some) disabled people. In fact, the GOP pushback on Medicare started even before Medicare did, when the American Medical Association, aided by its Republican congressional enablers, fought furiously - and successfully - against proposals of the Truman administration to enact government-providedmedical coverage for Social Security recipients. …
It May Not Be 'The Economy, Stupid'-Americans Might Favor Social Issues Over Their Pocketbooks
Conventional wisdom would suggest that our presidential election, once again, is putting these conflicting belief systems to the test as, in the red corner— standing up for the notion that tax cuts for the wealthiest are the best way to drive the economy forward—is the GOP challenger, Governor Mitt Romney while, in the other corner, representing those who believe that more tax cuts for the wealthy will only result in the rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else, is the blue squad, led by our returning champion, President Barack Obama. But is this really what this election is all about? Are Americans actually preparing to vote for the candidate who represents the side that appears most likely to put more money in their respective pockets or are there other, more important, factors at work as we get ready to make our choices in November?It turns out, conventional wisdom might just have this all wrong.
San Francisco Gate (CA)
Low-income seniors struggle in S.F.
Beverly Brumfield worked hard all her life, but she didn't really know hard until the golden years hit. She had no savings. She was alone. Her Social Security check didn't cover rent. It's a very American story, with federal statistics showing that a quarter of the country's senior citizens are poor, a third say it's hard to meet monthly expenses, and nearly half say they have housing problems. In some places, this translates into cramming in with family, or at worst, homelessness. San Francisco's Vivian and Marian Brown, the diminutive 85-year-old twins who gained fame as advertising and social icons years ago, were veering toward such dire straits - until this month when they received national attention and assistance after their economic plight went public. But every day there are thousands of economically strapped San Francisco seniors like them who face similar hard times.
For some, help from friends and family does the trick. For others, it comes down to digging hard for solutions - and for those who dig hard enough, there are ways to live safely with dignity. Brumfield took the resourceful route.
Naples News (FL)
Guest column: A former congressman on Social Security
As is pointed out in the article, every year we delay makes the solution much more difficult.
Taxes are supposedly based upon ability to pay. But for some crazy reason, we do just the opposite with Social Security. Today people only pay Social Security on the first $100,100 of wages, which means that people earning over $200,200 per year pay at less than half the rate of school teachers. President Barack Obama proposes raising that cap, but not eliminating it. It is, in my opinion, a feeble step in the right direction. The article points out that "eliminating the cap now would eliminate 72 percent of the shortfall." It also points out that "having done it two years ago would have wiped out 99 percent of the shortfall. "The longer we wait, the more difficult the solution.
Washington Post (NAT)
Retirement poses emotional as well as financial concerns for entrepreneurs
Those working for someone else in the world of Corporate America can’t wait to think about retirement, talk about retirement and plan for retirement. Now I think I understand why. Because as much as someone may enjoy his or her job, it is still on someone else’s terms. And who wants to do that forever? The countdown to retirement is, in reality, a countdown to escape. When you are an entrepreneur, what are you trying to escape? Your dream? Your passion? Your true calling? It seems strange when you look at it that way.
So what’s left when we stop living our dream? Many entrepreneurs are afraid to find out. In fact, I know entrepreneurs in their 70s who aren’t even thinking of slowing down.
Tampa-Bay Times (FL)
Former Gov. Charlie Crist: Here's why I'm backing Barack Obama
As America prepares to pick our president for the next four years — and as Florida prepares once again to play a decisive role — I'm confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation. I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility. It is a vision of the future proven right by our history.
We often remind ourselves to learn the lessons of the past, lest we risk repeating its mistakes. Yet nearly as often, our short-term memory fails us. Many have already forgotten how deep and daunting our shared crisis was in the winter of 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated. It was no ordinary challenge, and the president served as the nation's calm through a historically turbulent storm.
Huffington Post (NAT)
John Boehner Backs Mitt Romney's False Welfare Claim
TAMPA, Fla. -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday backed Mitt Romney's false charge that President Barack Obama has ended welfare work requirements. He said that the proximity of the policy to the election raised questions as to whether Obama was trying to shore up his base in advance of the election, a charge recently made by Romney and shot through with racial overtones.
The Romney campaign, in interviews and television ads, has been repeatedly and falsely accusing President Obama of ending welfare's work requirement. In an interview with USA Today published Monday, Romney ramped up the charge.
"There's no question in my mind that the president's action was calculated to ... shore up his base," Romney said, in what appears an obvious reference to an old racial stereotype, that welfare is a program for African Americans.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that Romney was referring to his liberal base. "President Obama’s liberal base are the people who believe the same way he does: that government is the solution to everything," Saul told HuffPost earlier.
At a luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, HuffPost asked Boehner if Romney's false charge had gone too far.
Boehner replied, "The president came out and announced that he was going to waive the work requirements that are outlined in the 1996 welfare reform bill. He's the one who said it. And those work requirements have in fact facilitated moving people from welfare to work. ... For the president to try to waive those work requirements, I think, is wrong for the country, and it's really wrong for those people on welfare who need training, who need skills, who need to get into the mainstream of American society. The premise of your question I think is wrong.
The Hill (DC)
Republicans gavel in convention
Republicans gaveled in their convention in Tampa on Monday and took their first swipe at President Obama by starting a debt clock meant to illustrate the administration's “fiscal recklessness." Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the GOP convention to order at 2 p.m. and recessed the event after unveiling the debt clock. “This clock reminds every delegate and every American why we are here in Tampa — because America can and must do better,” Priebus said. “Every American’s share of the national debt has increased by approximately $16,0
National Journal (NAT)
A Man Who Needs Some Introduction
The Gettysburg Address streamed across the arena’s teleprompter as Republican convention organizers tried out the microphones, lifted balloons to the rafters, and primped the stage for the presidential nominee’s acceptance speech.
Now exhale: This was only a test. No one expects Mitt Romney to give one of the greatest speeches of all time when he accepts his party’s nomination in Tampa on Thursday. He doesn’t have to. He’s battling a sitting president presiding over the worst preelection economy in decades.
But this week’s convention presents a once-in-an-election opportunity for the campaign to remedy one of Romney’s biggest shortcomings: Voters don’t like him as much as they do President Obama. A bit of a misfit on the campaign trail, cast as a villain in Democratic attack ads, Romney needs the convention to bring him down to earth. The three-day event will showcase sides of Romney that have only been glimpsed over the last few months: the family man, man of faith, leader in times of crisis, crackerjack businessman.