For seniors, entitlement worries extend to the grandkids
"Most older people who get involved in protecting Social Security will tell you they want to make sure it's there for their children and grandchildren," said Donna Butts, executive director of advocacy and public policy group Generations United. "They may already be receiving it, so any changes won't impact them," she said. "But they feel strongly about the system."
New York Times (NAT)
The Tightwire Act of Living Only on Social Security
According to the Social Security Administration, 23 percent of married couples and 46 percent of single people receive 90 percent or more of their income from Social Security. Furthermore, 53 percent of married couples and 74 percent of unmarried people receive half of their income or more from the program.
Such statistics represent a group of people forever trying to make ends meet at a time when their health may be declining, their friends dying and their ability to do things not what it used to be. According to a report by AARP, the lobby for people older than 50, three out of five families headed by a retiree over 65 had no retirement savings.
“It gets hard for a lot of people to imagine getting along on just the Social Security check, but obviously millions of people are doing it,” said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. “They’re really living month to month and relying on that check. Some people have a paid-off home, but they’re still dealing with upkeep, insurance, taxes, plus utilities and health care.”
Bill Moyers (NAT)
Bernie Sanders on the Independent in Politics
“What you are looking at is a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street, and now added to all of that is big money interests, the billionaires and corporations now buying elections,” Sanders tells Bill. “I fear very much that if we don’t turn this around, we’re heading toward an oligarchic form of society.”
Union Leader (NH)
Former comptroller sees debt as deadly
GOFFSTOWN — Former U.S. Comptroller David Walker addressed a gathering at St. Anselm College Friday evening, rolling his $10 Million a Minute bus tour into the Granite State. But the 100-plus audience was packed with protestors, who outnumbered those who had come to take in Walker's critique of the U.S. tax code and government entitlement system. Mary Heslin, a volunteer with N.H. Citizens Alliance, was one of the many protestors present with placards expressing opposition to tampering with Social Security and Medicare. “The deficit was not caused by Social Security,” Heslin said, “and it can't be solved by cutting Social Security.”
VT Digger (VT)
Sanders “confronts” critics of Social Security at St. Anselm’s College
“The American people should not be fooled by the misinformation that will be spread at these ‘grassroots’ gatherings backed by some of the most powerful Wall Street, insurance, and corporate CEOs in the country,” Sanders said. “The goal of these ‘town meetings’ is to convince the people of New Hampshire and the rest of America that the only effective way to address the deficit crisis is to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Don’t believe it!”
Take Action News (NAT)
DNC Attendees Skeptical of Compromise on Social Security & Medicare
Several delegates to the DNC who spoke with Take Action News were skeptical of, if not downright hostile to, the possibility of a compromise with Republicans that would cut Social Security or Medicare.
When asked whether she thought President Obama should compromise on Social Security and Medicare, Bobbie Duncan, a retired teacher from Odessa, Texas, and chair of the Ecton County Democratic Party, answered “No.” (Audio of the complete interview with Bobbie Duncan is available here. Social Security and Medicare are just two issues among many that the interview addresses.) “What’s gonna happen to all of us seniors if he does [such a deal]?” she asked. Duncan added that she was just as concerned about cuts that would only affect people under age 55. “Somebody still has to take care of you or help take care of you when you’re my age,” she said. “And we don’t know if you do the investment yourself, what happens when we have another stock market crash. You’re gonna be out on the street when you’re 65.” “Medicare is to take care of the sickness [sic] of this nation, who have worked long and hard and earned it,” Duncan said. “And Social Security is the same.”
Washington Post (NAT)
Some debate questions for Obama and Romney
Would you have voted against Simpson-Bowles, as your running mate did? President Obama, you promised in Charlotte to take “responsible steps” to strengthen Social Security. Yet you said in your acceptance speech four years ago that “now is the time . . . to protect Social Security for future generations,” and then did nothing on Social Security during your first term. What do you plan to do if reelected? Would you support Gov. Romney’s proposal to raise the retirement age to reflect increases in longevity? To lower the rate at which benefits grow for higher-income seniors?
Seeing the Forest (Blog)
Austerity Suicide -- Literally
Simpson-Bowles is a budget plan put together by a Republican Senator and a Director of the Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley. After the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Deficit Commission") failed to make recommendations, the two came up with a plan that cuts Social Security, cuts a number of other things government does for our people, cuts a bit from military and cuts tax rates on the rich and corporations, calling it "reform." (The plan also eliminates the home mortgage interest deduction, for example.) Important point: At least Simpson-Bowles is not a "cuts cause growth" plan. It is sold as a deficit plan, even though it cuts taxes at the top and for big corporations. It clearly asks that any cuts not take place until the economy has improved because cuts slow growth.
Government Executive (NAT)
Outgoing senator on why he told Obama not to back Simpson-Bowles budget plan
"I said to him that if he just endorsed Simpson-Bowles, that House Republicans would then in all likelihood oppose it, and that it would be better, in my judgment, for him to make the case for why a comprehensive plan along the lines of Simpson-Bowles was needed," Conrad told reporters Tuesday. The counsel that Conrad provided came to light in the book "The Price of Politics" by veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Woodward's book is critical of Obama's leadership on deficit issues and in particular his strategy for dealing with Congress. Many pundits have criticized Obama's decision to stop short of endorsing the December 2010 blueprint produced by the White House-appointed fiscal panel. Some view that decision as suggesting a lack of resolve by the president in tackling the long-term budget challenges.
Wall Street Journal (NAT)
Entitlements Are Part of the Civic Compact
William A. Galston
To describe the role of these developments in the growth of entitlements, the usual dyad of dependence/independence is too crude. We must take account of a third term—interdependence—and the principle of reciprocity that undergirds it. When I do something for you that you would be hard-pressed to do for yourself and you respond by helping me with something I find difficult, we depend on one another and are the stronger for it. Well-functioning societies are replete with relations of this sort and often use them as models for public policy. But the move from small groups to large-scale collective action makes a difference. Reciprocity becomes extended not only demographically and geographically but also chronologically. Political communities exist not just for the here and now but for future generations as well. Many of our entitlement policies rest on the idea of interdependence extended through time—in other words, on an intergenerational compact.
Washington Post (NAT)
Paul Ryan to run new TV ads for House campaign
Paul Ryan (Wis.) is the Republican nominee for vice president. But beginning this week, voters in Wisconsin’s 1st district will also see new TV advertisements from his House campaign. Ryan’s congressional campaign manager has confirmed that Ryan will spend $2 million on ads in the Milwaukee and Madison media markets.
Ryan’s new ads, ostensibly an effort to help his front-running House bid, could also boost the GOP presidential ticket’s efforts in Wisconsin. A Republican presidential nominee has not carried the state since 1984, but polling shows a competitive race there this cycle.
LA Times (NAT)
Bill Clinton focuses on Medicare in speech for Obama in Florida
"A lot of Republicans got elected to Congress peddling that old dog. It's a mangy old dog. It's not true," Clinton told an arena crowd of 2,000 at Florida International University, in his first post-convention appearance designed to boost Obama's chances. He said that "countless thousands" of seniors had voted against Democrats in 2010 because "they were given misinformation" about their Medicare votes. "The first time they did that it was their fault. If we let it happen again it is our fault, and we should not let them do it," Clinton said.
Think Progress (NAT)
Nearly Two-Thirds Of White Southerners Favor Expanding Medicaid
In a survey of low- and middle-class white Southerners, Reuters found that although this demographic group opposes the health care reform law as a whole, almost two-thirds of respondents favor the Medicaid expansion:
Overall, 54 percent of Americans — and a decisive 69 percent of white low- and median-income Southerners — opposed Obamacare, according to the Reuters/Ipsos data. But when asked about specific parts of the law, the results largely favored the president. [...]
Almost two-thirds of both groups supported a central element of Obamacare: extending Medicaid — the federal-state program that covers healthcare for the poor — to families earning less than $30,000 a year. Romney and Ryan seek to cut the growth of Medicaid by capping federal contributions and shifting responsibility to the states.
Mother Jones (NAT)
Obamacare Is Working
On a day dominated by all bad news on the foreign affairs front, the US Census Bureau delivered a spot of sunlight: New figures from 2011 show that the new health care reform law is actually working. The percentage of uninsured Americans actually went down, after steep jumps in the previous two years. Over 4 million more people had health care coverage in 2011 than in 2010.