The California Alliance for Retired Americans Fights to Protect Social Security

Leading up the recent failed vote on the Deficit Commission report, the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) held successful demonstrations in front of Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco office and Xavier Becerra’s Los Angeles Office.

The Deficit Commission (The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) was created by an Executive Order signed by President Obama in February. The Executive Order directs the commission to recommend how to reduce the annual deficits to 3% of the national economy by 2015. The Commission has been meeting for eight months of negotiations among the eighteen commissioners – all of whom are Washington insiders who reflect little sense of the everyday realities for the working families who are looking for leadership and job creation from their national leaders.

CARA fully supports the President on the critical need to reduce our nation’s budget deficit, but many are troubled by the false claim that Social Security is to blame for the deficit, even though the program has not contributed to the federal deficit and maintains a $2.5 trillion surplus. In fact, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), most of the projected budget deficit over the next 10 years will result from President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, skyrocketing health care costs and the continuing effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

CARA’s rally could not have come at a better time as the Deficit Commission zeroed in on cutting Medicare and Social Security. Calling for “No Cuts to Social Security,” seniors and union activists sang and rallied in the rain – to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

We don’t know how you make it, as you live from day to day.
With income fixed and prices up, there’s always more to pay.
So minding our arthritis, let us march and sing and say:
Let’s all go bravely on!

Chorus: Holy Moley, it’s our MON-EY. Holy Moley, it’s our MON-EY! Holy Molely, it’s our MON-EY! We paid when we were young!

The debate has just begun. And while it is unlikely the commission will approve a report that will actually reach the floor of the House and Senate, we can be certain that the job-killing plans under the guise of “deficit reduction” will continue. Social Security’s long-term solvency can be resolved by relatively modest adjustments and without cutting benefits. The following are solutions to consider:

· Raise the payroll tax on Social Security taxes for the wealthiest Americans
· Put people back to work in good-paying, decent American jobs.
· Tax the bonuses of the Wall Street millionaires and billionaires who are doing so well.

It's time to put a stop to the  unwarranted claims that Social Security and Medicare are to blame for the deficit — we must fight against the Commission’s detrimental ideas, includling raising the retirement age. Learn more at www.CaliforniaAlliance.org.