Common Dream offers a summary of several progressive writers who are not happy with the “Fiscal Cliff” solution. A common point among the writers is that the compromise solution still did much more to help wealthy people than it did to help working people.
There is one point that I disagree with. Some critics condemn the roll back of President Obama’s temporary 2.6% cut in Social Security payroll taxes. While this is a bad time to raise taxes on working people, this ugly move had to be made. If we value Social Security, we need to pay for it.
On the positive side, the deal did extend long term unemployment. Not every state takes advantage of this program, but for those that do, it will give a little more security to those who have had the hardest time finding a job.
The next phase in this debate will be even more important: What will be cut in the name of “saving” that will hurt working people and the poor? That question has been left open for now.
On today’s Ed Schultz radio program, Senator Bernie Sanders did a very odd thing. The most “liberal” senator quoted conservative icon Ronald Reagan: “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.” Senator Sanders is rallying his allies to oppose any change in benefits. He argues that Social Security is paid for by a fund that is outside the normal budget. Therefore, it should not be part of the current budget debate.
Working people need to pay attention to this debate. As fewer people have pensions and as those with 401K have less to contribute and get smaller employer matching funds, we need to think about how we will fund the years when we can no longer work. Bernie Sanders is a hero to working people. We need to stand with him and fight against big money interest that want to privatize social security so they can profit from fees. We need to have a guaranteed pension that keeps seniors out of poverty.