Letters to the Editor

Protect benefits

July 30, 2011


To the editor:

Right now, the president and Congress are considering a deal to pay the nation’s bills that could cut billions from Social Security and Medicare benefits for today’s seniors.

Some in Washington want the deal to include proposals that could raise Medicare premiums, co-pays and deductibles for seniors, shifting costs to seniors rather than lowering costs throughout the health care system.

Politicians are also considering including a proposal that could cut Social Security by $112 billion over 10 years by permanently reducing Social Security cost-of-living increases. This proposal is particularly upsetting to seniors who have seen shortcomings in the current Social Security cost-of-living formula leave them struggling with no cost-of-living increase despite two years of steadily rising costs for fuel, food, prescription drugs and medical care.

Washington needs to reduce our nation’s growing debt, but it should crack down on wasteful spending and close tax loopholes, not cut the Medicare and Social Security benefits seniors worked for their entire lives.


GardenMomma 6 years, 10 months ago

Here is a link to an article about the suspension of the mailing of those letters. In the article is a link to an estimator tool.

It looks like the SSA is trying to save some $70 million in mailing costs and hopes to have an online version of the letters by the Fall.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

Pres Obama I've come to the conclusion that so damn many voters are simply nuts. Pres Obama YOU run for president and win without knowing that GW Bush and Dick Cheney have this swindle going on. A swindle quite similar to the Reagan/Bush home loan swindle.

Both cost taxpayers trillions of tax dollars and millions of jobs. I would call this a pattern of the greatest magnitude that began in 1980.

The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

The next thing we know the same people that created the financial chaos are blaming the new administration for their corrupt management of OUR economy. And the voters hear it so damn many times they begin to believe it! WAKE UP!

Then comes Koch and Wal-Mart money plus a few other sources such as Karl Rove spending millions upon millions as we speak on a mammoth campaign blaming the other side of the aisle for the neocons practice of running economies into the ground. VOTERS allow themselves to be swindled into believing these lies. WAKE UP!

In spite of the facts:

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Lack of hard evidence = another juicy tidbit that has raised a lot of eyebrows. There were only 3 major financial institutions in big trouble while the public and congress was being told many many were = duped again: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

I'd swear that I just saw this same pack of twaddle on another thread of this award-winning website this morning. And probably 50 other times this month. How many times have you posted this same set of links, merrill? 500 time? 1000 times? Do you even keep track any more?

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 10 months ago

I swear to Krom... It would be a refreshing change if you posted something factual to dispute Merrill's post. Maybe discuss and debate the subject matter at hand...I have a feeling you have no legitimate rebuttal and instead resort to the whiny beach approach of opinion sharing and discussion.

Here's a great idea, how about you actually read and comprehend the post, digest that information, and decide if you agree or disagree then respond as appropriate. Try to defend your hero (Bush, Brownback, Tinky Winky) for once instead of boar us all with your same old BS--Richard Cranium.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 10 months ago

"Pres Obama I've come to the conclusion that so damn many voters are simply nuts."

I assume you're referring to those voters who voted for Obama.

ksriver2010 6 years, 10 months ago

True, Repubs ran the economy into the ground. But Obama has made it worse by accumulating > $1T in debt. Reality about the debt crisis - Social Security checks will still be mailed. It would take 6 months of reprogramming to stop the automatic payments. It is true, however, that Congress is working on cutting entitlements as part of the deal. But the "cut" is really mostly a curtialment on yearly growth and is a budget trick. Most of the cuts in these deals are budget tricks that are out many years. "not cut the Medicare and Social Security benefits seniors worked for their entire lives." Quit perpetuating the lie. Social Security is a tax, plain and simple. There is no money being saved that seniors have worked for. Why seniors let politicians raid the Social Security lockbox in the first place is beyond me.

jafs 6 years, 10 months ago

How could we have stopped them from doing that?

Politicians on both sides have been doing it.

Mark Pickerel 6 years, 10 months ago

You have to be kidding.

Trying to balance this budget without touching entitlements in some way would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to slow their growth somehow, otherwise they will take up over half of the Federal budget a few years down the road, taking funds away from infrastructure and Pell grants. And hiking taxes won't solve the problem either.

I'm not in favor of cutting existing benefits for seniors that need them, but some means testing is needed to see if higher-income seniors really need it.....and the COLA needs a hard look.

Social Security is not a retirement plan, and was never meant to be from the beginning. It is a social safety net for low-income seniors, and we should stop thinking otherwise, start saving, and take control of our own retirement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure there are savings to be found in the way entitlements are handled. But let's inject a little reality here.

There will never be a "balanced budget," and there never should be. The federal government needs to engage in at least some deficit spending just to keep the economy running smoothly.

To get the deficit and debt down to a manageable level can't be done on the backs of retirees and the poor. The only way to accomplish that is to 1) dramatically reduce military spending, 2) reform healthcare delivery-- which means transforming it from the current profit-delivery system (and Obamacare does nothing of the sort;) 3) raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy back to at least pre-1980 levels, including a transaction tax on Wall Street.

There are many things that could be added to this list, but those are the big three, and unless they are seriously on the table, any talk of reining in the budget deficits and national debt are completely disingenuous.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

You know nothing about Greece or "European Socialism." Throwing around a few catch phrases you heard on Fox isn't going to get us to any workable solutions.

Not that you want any. You clearly have a lot of anger and hate towards those you consider inferior to you, and you want to see them suffer.

And that's truly despicable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

These programs aren't perfect, but they do, in fact, work.

And that's your real problem with them, isn't it? You hate it when people who need help get it, don't you? Because that doesn't tickle you in a way that satisfies your need for Schadenfreude.

Like I said, that's truly despicable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

We can easily fund these programs. But not without going after some of your sacred cows. And Republicans have shown over the last several years that they won't give up any of them, because the rich say we're broke, so the poor and middle class must pay.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

It's always so weird when nuts invoke "Greece" seeing that Greece's budgeting and GOP budgeting are almost indistinguishable -- spend like drunken sailors and refuse to collect taxes.

Maybe if the Repubs hadn't thrown away trillions in tax revenues, doubled the Pentagon's budget in a decade, ran the economy off a cliff, and started multiple wars abroad, the Democratic plan to pay off all U.S. debt would have been accomplished years ago. Imagine if our dilemma was: what shall we do with the $10 trillion surplus? Thanks for nothing Greek Old Party.

Mark Pickerel 6 years, 10 months ago

Bush has caused the most pain by starting both wars while cutting taxes. He would have been laughed out of the room if he'd tried that 50 years ago, but Reagan made it OK.

And the tax increases, along with any severe immediate cuts in spending, are non-starters in a sour economy.

Add to that the massive demographic shifts that the Baby Boomers have created in our country, and the current entitlement structure cannot sustain itself.

But the Baby Boomers vote in good numbers now, so the rest of us are screwed until most of them are too old to vote.

That, my friends, is reality.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Both sides.

Here's a chart comparing both sides.


Except to note: almost all of the "Democratic" debt comes from cleaning up Republican messes.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

I also note -- no facts, no argument from SinfulHypocriteAmerican. Typical of religious terrorists.

Pay no mind to that heat / just the flames of hell licking at your feet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

You and yours are the ones who expect to make "utopia" by kicking the poor and the elderly, kids and the disabled, out on the streets to fend for themselves.

Perhaps you think that's the only solution to the current economic mess. But at least be honest about what the results will be to those on the losing side of the very real class war that started in earnest with the election of Reagan.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

correction-- Senator Bernie Sanders

And do check this video out. He makes clear the cost of the clinical-sounding euphemism "spending cuts" and suffering that the Republicans intend to inflict on the most vulnerable members of this society-- and they are your friends, neighbors and family.

All so millionaires and billionaires can be spared doing their fair share.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

SS is, in fact, not in any immediate danger of running out of funds. And any problems with Medicare could easily be fixed with a real overhaul of the healthcare system.

But neither can be done in ways that satisfy Republicans, whose only interest is satisfying millionaires and billionaires.

Mark Pickerel 6 years, 10 months ago

Not immediate, no. The Boomers will drain it all dry, though.

nouseforaname 6 years, 10 months ago

No, we need to end the Bush-era tax cuts and cut military spending. Only after that has been done should we focus on other policies. Plug the leak that is sinking the ship before you start patching cracks.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

The opponents of Social Security will stop at nothing in their long crusade to destroy the most efficient retirement system in the world. Opponents have taken two tracks to attack Social Security.

The first is to claim the system as it is will fail, and the second is to claim that privatization is a better way to provide for retirement security. The first claim was the favorite from 1935 to about 2001.Then the privatization claim became the vogue. Now the first is back on the table.

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.” In fact, to make the most of the modifications currently being proposed by Obama's commission would be the height of folly.

The president understands that Social Security hasn't contributed a dime to the deficit. It has a $2.6 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

More info not rhetoric: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

What's missing from this national deficit debate? JOBS JOBS JOBS AND MORE JOBS

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Removing the large tax dollar subsidies to very wealthy USA corporations should be the priority.

Then apply these tax dollars to a new type of medical insurance for all that which creates a strong economic driver to promote new employment, new industry and new wealth for the nation.

This is a thrilling conversion.

If all city and state governments plus the federal government would cut corporate welfare and invest this money in IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL.

The economic impact of IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance:

  1. many of us would be saving thousands of dollars annually

  2. big business and small business could operate for less

  3. all governments and school districts could cut operating expenses substantially

  4. employed blue and white collar workers would be healthier thus more productive

  5. all humans would have necessary healthcare 24/7

  6. in general OUR cost of living would decrease across the board

  7. New industry,small business and jobs would develop

Now a new type of medical insurance for all becomes a strong economic driver for all communities in the USA.

Thus our tax dollars would be invested in our local communities providing a jump start to economic growth that has been squandered as one result of corp welfare.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

How many times have we seen you post that same text, merrill?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

We're a nation full of hard-headed numbskulls who need basic information drummed into their heads over and over.

Some of them, clearly, are immune even to a kick in the head. And some of them, with initials spnc, even seem to like getting kicked in the head, even though it has no discernible effect.

usnsnp 6 years, 10 months ago

Not only are people proposing adjusting the COLA for Social Security, the same adjustment are being planned for Military Retirement, Vetrans Pensions and Federl Workers retirement. Stop and think over a period of 20 or 30 years how much this will cost the people receving theis retirement plans. By the end of a 20 year period it will amount to approzimately 1500 to 2500 a year less. But you keep hearing people making millions of dollars a year cant afford to pay a little more taxes.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 10 months ago


You claimed that "people making millions of dollars a year can't afford to pay a little more taxes."

Of course not, because the prices of Rolls Royces and Caribbean Cruises has gone up every year for a long time. Perhaps you have not noticed that.

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