Wednesday, December 19, 2012


A recalcitrant House GOP is looking for
big concessions from the White House.
photo: Ove Overmyer
Rochester, N.Y.-- From what I understand from press reports coming out of D.C., President Obama has proposed a clearly unacceptable deal with the House Speaker that would make some of the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year permanent and change the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to reduce Social Security benefits over time. 
Let's get something straight here-- voters asked Obama to give a tax cut for 100 percent of income earners, but only those making over the threshold amount negotiated will be asked to pay more of their fair share beyond 2012.
With Obama's latest fiscal cliff offer, the White House is basically proposing to  extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning less than $400,000 a year, and paying for it by increasing the overall tax on the middle class by cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Here's what I don't get. Why is Social Security on the negotiating table in the first place? Social Security does not add one dime to the national debt or deficit. Recipients of Social Security pay into this plan for their entire working career and deserve a return on their own personal investment. 

Is this just a "trophy" for the GOP to say they got a concession out of the White House? By decreasing the benefit over time, who does this really benefit anyway? It's just one more attempt to squeeze the middle class at the expense of the wealthy and the large multi-national corporations who can afford to lobby and line the pockets of House and Senate members of Congress.

Let's be clear: A decrease in the Social Security COLA adjustment over time is simply a benefit cut that will harm the elderly and middle class American. These COLAs make sure seniors' income keeps pace with the rising costs of housing and food. The "chained" CPI would cut future Social Security benefits by as much as $2,432 for someone who is 17 years old today. This is totally unacceptable.
Changes to Social Security benefits are not why CSEA and our working families in Monroe County backed our President's re-election bid. This is not why we supported Louise Slaughter for another term in Congress, and this is why we fought like hell this past election cycle-- to make sure the GOP did not steam roll working families while getting our fiscal house in order. 
I had a long talk with Congresswoman Slaughter’s office earlier today. I told them I vehemently oppose any deal that cuts taxes for the wealthy or cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits for America's working families. And I’m also convinced the 8,000 or so fellow CSEA members in Monroe County would agree with their local officers. Obama and Congress better deliver on their promise-- or they can forget about all that good will capital they earned in early November.

Congress Hotline: 888.979.7608
-Ove Overmyer
President, CSEA City of Rochester Library Workers Unit 7420
Vice President, CSEA Monroe County Local 828

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