And We’re Off…

10 Jan
On the very first day of the new Congress, the new Republican majority took steps that could very well damage the foundations of Social Security. In addition to providing benefits to retired senior citizens, Social Security  also includes a disability-insurance program for those who want to work but can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes when the disability-insurance program runs short on funds, Congress transfers money from elsewhere in the Social Security system to prevent benefit cuts. The transfers are needed every now and then to keep the money flowing to the proper recipients depending upon those who come and go within the system. These transfers have never been considered out of the ordinary and in fact it has been done by Congress 11 times over the last seven decades. That’s an average of once every 6 years or so…
Apparently the system’s trustees are expecting the Social Security disability-insurance program to face a shortfall next year, and are expecting Congress to do what previous Congresses have always done… but…What the new (and improved?) Republican policy says is that transfers must from now on “improve the overall financial health of the combined Social Security Trust Funds.”  Experts say that because of the new and rather vague language used, it would likely mean any reallocation would have to be balanced by new revenues or benefit cuts.” Because a “transfer” of funds doesn’t necessarily mean an “improvement” of funds…does it?
Republicans are saying that this new language is meant to “improve the overall financial health” of the Social Security system but it may just also provide a loop hole (and who in Congress doesn’t love a loop hole?) to clear the way for proposed Social Security cuts, which would be consistent with congressional Republicans’ goals based on their recent past attempts to make cuts, changes and reductions within the Social Security System.
So, If the disability-insurance program is starved of funds then people will inevitably have to face Social Security reductions of one kind or another. Already multi-employer pensions funds, which cover about 10 million U.S. workers, have seen reductions in pension benefits proposed and approved by Congress in last December’s budget spending bill. And if you are a member of a public pension program than you know that a recent and popular government tactic has been to starve your pension of funds by simply withholding promised and negotiated contributions to your fund.
This government policy of trying to break our retirement programs and then declaring them broken and in need of fixing is not only very disturbing, but most definitely immoral, and most probably illegal. But the bigger and more disturbing question that I have is…why? Why this attack on the working poor and middle classes and their promised retirement incomes? First job displacement in the recent past, then wage stagnation in the present, and now proposed reductions in our future pensions?
We already know that our Congressmen and women are bought and sold by big monied interests and as a result are doing their bidding but what are they up to now? Have they been heavily investing in Nursing Home Futures? Or are the banks pushing for a future of more “Reverse Mortgages” because selling the underwater kind just didn’t bring in enough ill gotten gains?
So what’s the deal? Does anyone out there know? I’d like to hear your thoughts because this new Congress is off and running and I sincerely hope we are not all trampled in the process…and then cast off because we are not “financially healthy”…or rather broken…as in broke.

5 Responses to “And We’re Off…”

  1. theunspokentruth12 January 10, 2015 at 4:24 am #

    Reblogged this on theunspokentruth12.

  2. avwalters January 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    The why is the big question. Your essay points out some startling things, but the picture is even worse. Last fall, based on the fact that the TBTF banks have resulted in inadequate reserves for the FDIC, rules were changed permitting banks to look first to their depositors in the event of bank failure. That’s right, banks can issue “certificates” to their depositors to cover losses, thus minimizing claims on the FDIC reserves. So now they’re after our savings, too.

    The year end CROMNIBUS Act, slipped in new regulations permitting banks to invest in derivatives. Remember derivatives? They were the financial puzzles that only Ph.D.s could understand that led to the financial collapse of 2008. Derivatives is a fancy way of saying “gambling.” The anti-derivatives rules were created especially to address bank solvency. So, now the banks are allowed to gamble with depositors money–and if they come up short on the gamble, they can raid depositors’ funds again. This derivative policy alone almost guarantees another round of bank failures and puts the taxpayers in the position of yet another round of bailouts. Now, though, they’ll get to seize your savings first.

    Across the board, they’ve stagnated incomes for decades, now they’re after our social security, our pensions, our savings and the any government program that provides a safety net. When it all comes tumbling down, what next?

  3. RantingCrossin January 10, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    It is mind boggling what has happened to this country. I moved here during my teens from Canada and was always told what a great country this is, what freedoms we have. However, I have seen those precious freedoms and rights and protections chipped away at. We are turning into an oligarchy – which would make the Founding Fathers weep.

  4. Outlier Babe January 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    I believe the why answer is simple: They can. It is so easy to steal candy from babies or small checks from little people than do real reform you have no real interest in–not when your own goals don’t extend beyond your own grasping fingers.

    This is the same reason that a disabled tax attorney, at the end of this past year, told me that the IRS has put the word out” that they now intend to focus their audits on those on the disabled rolls.

    Yes. There are a lot of fraudsters. But how many compared to the genuinely work-unabled, and why go after these small-potatoes account-holders, causing extreme hardship to innocent folk already bearing extra burdens?

    Because they can.

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