Don Davis

Social Security: Get on the Phone Tuesday And Wednesday and Help Fight Cuts

Filed By Don Davis | March 28, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts
Tags: Campaign for America's Future, Congress, continuing resolution, Democrats, economic policy, Law, politics, Republicans, S.AMDT.207, Sanders-Reid Social Security Protection Amendment, Senate, Social Security

So it's been about three weeks since we last had this conversation, but once again we have to take action to try to keep Social Security from being the victim of "deficit fever." social-security.jpgI know that doesn't make a lot of sense, considering the disconnect between Social Security and the deficit, but once again it's "Continuing Resolution" time on Capitol Hill, where some use the threat of an impending shutdown of the federal government to extract concessions from the other side and some on the other side try to make points with the voters by out-conceding their opponents. So Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, there's a national push on to get voters to call their Senators and remind them to vote for an amendment that is a big ol' "I'm not willing to cut Social Security just because other, ideologically-motivated people want to cut government any way they can" kind of reassurance to the voters, and I'm here to encourage you, once again, to make a couple phone calls and do some pushing of your own. I've also been storing up a couple somewhat facetious random thoughts which will be the "garnish" for today's dish; you'll see them pop up as we go along.
First, the I'm A Bit Confused Dept.: There's an ad currently running on TV for a drug called Intuniv. The drug is for children who are suffering from ADHD, and the visual image features a mother coming out the doors of the school with her "now-perfectly-behaved" 11- or 12-year-old child. What comes next is the warning that the drug might--well, I'll just quote the Intuniv website... "Patients should not drive or operate heavy equipment until understanding how INTUNIV affects them" ...and every time I see the ad I think that if my 11-year-old could drive and operate heavy machinery I might suggest giving the other kids ADHD so they, too, could grow up and have a valuable skill of their own one day.
As we discussed "above the fold," the strengthen Social Security folks are doing a nationwide Senate call-in Tuesday and Wednesday to drum up support for passage of S.AMDT.207, the Sanders-Reid Social Security Protection Amendment, and they've created a process to painlessly put you directly in touch with both of your Senators, even if you have no idea who they might be. I tried it out myself, just to see what would happen, and here's how it works: You call the phone number (1-866-251-4044) and the friendly automated phone voice automatically determines your location and then informs you that you "are represented by Senators [insert names here]" and all of this without your having to navigate a menu or push a button. The friendly phone voice then tells you to choose a Senator ("...push one or two..."), and you're then directly connected to that office. Before you go, you're encouraged to call back and leave a message with your other Senator as well...and you're also offered "the commercial": a fairly precise (roughly) 10-second script for a message that you might choose to leave, suggesting that your Senator vote for that Sanders-Reid Amendment.
I have a plan to make nuclear reactors in this country safer, and to do it fast: every Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, everyone who votes on granting or renewing plant licenses, every nuclear power plant inspector, and the top executives of any nuclear licensee...should all be required to move into on-site housing at the nuclear power plants they're in charge of within one year. (This idea might also be adapted to improve the lives of nursing home residents, and it's the same kind of "enforced safety" thinking that led to the old rule that Army paratroopers had to pack their own parachutes.)
We've made other calls like this recently, and just like before, the goal here is to keep the pressure on, and to remind all 100 Senators that they all have voters who absolutely do not want cuts in Social Security, and that this is not the time to be trying to sneak something in under cover of "Continuing Resolution" darkness. So there you go: on Tuesday and Wednesday call the handy number (1-866-251-4044), let the automated voice guide you to your Senators, tell them you want them to vote for the Sanders-Reid Amendment... and while you have them on the phone, don't be afraid to suggest that nuclear power plant on-site housing idea either. Fighting for want you want is a process, not something that happens all in one day, and you should expect more messages like this one as we go along, asking you to make your voice heard - but you should also keep in mind that we've been doing pretty well so far, and when we speak, we're being heard. So make those calls, apply that pressure. Let's win this thing. FULL DISCLOSURE: This post was written with the support of the CAF State Blogger's Network Project. img [flickr](

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I'm curious. Where would you make cuts?

social security is the easy one, as it requires no cutting at all. all you gotta do is remove the cap on income taxation (there's no social security tax today on income over $106,700), and you not only have enough money to guarantee financial stability through 2084, but you can even cut the payroll tax from 12.6% to 12.3%.

defense is "low-hanging fruit": look at the past 25 years or so, adjust for inflation, and it looks like we spend, on average, about $350 billion a year on defense...but today we acknowledge spending $700 billion +, and that doesn't include the "black" budget or the intelligence/nsa/nro budgets; all that suggests we could be above $900 billion a year.

the affordable care act gets us $10 billion a year the first decade, up to $100 billion a year in the next, and if we were willing to regulate the price of prescription drugs, that might get us another $100 billion a year in medicare part d savings.

kill the bush tax cuts, and you either gain about $70 billion a year if you only raise taxes on those above $250,000, or, if you want to really go for it, you return everyone's taxes to 1990s levels and we get back about $400 billion a year.

america's largest corporations basically pay no income taxes; if the "fortune 500" were to each pony up just $100 million a year in taxes (and to give perspective, last year ge alone got a $3 billion tax refund), that's another $50 billion, plus whatever refunds we wouldn't be giving. my guess, however, is that that estimate is low, low, low. (consider that wealthy "human people" have an "alternative minimum tax", but wealthy "corporate people" have none, and math that out.)

if we didn't have a 15% + "true" unemployment rate we'd be collecting a lot more in income taxes than we are today; that could be $100 billion a year or more in new income, along with lower expenses as we save a few billion on things like unemployment and food stamps.

add all that up, and you're getting close to a balanced budget.

laurieyoung | March 29, 2011 8:36 AM

Yesterday more than 300 people crowded a large conference room on Capitol Hill to hear from people whose lives are supported by social security. People shared compelling stories of reliance on benefits, whether old, survivors or disabled. The LGBT community was represented as well. Five Senators, Reid,Harkin, Sanders,Franken, adn Blumenthal spoke about their opposition to cutting social security benefits and shared personal stories as well. Make the call today and tomorrow. Tell your senator to support the Sanders-Reid amendment. 1-866-251-4044, it will only take a moment of your time, and will help to ensure that social security is there for you when you need it.

here's the "official" video from that event, if anyone's so inclined as to have a look.