Call right now and demand no cuts to Social Security


Let’s just call this so-called “Deficit Commission” what it really is — an attack on the middle class.

From the very start, right-wing Republicans have been using the commission as a platform to destroy Social Security. They want to cut benefits and raise the retirement age, knowing full well that it will throw millions of seniors into poverty.

It’s wrong. That’s why we supported candidates who stood strong for Social Security and that’s why we’re working today to hold them accountable to the promises they made.

Call your Senators right now and tell them Hands Off Social Security.

Call now at 1-866-529-7630 and tell Congress “No cuts, no raising the retirement age”

When we asked DFA members where they stood on Social Security, the answer was clear — you said to stand strong for Social Security — No cuts, no raising the retirement age — and that is exactly what we’re doing.

We’ll deliver our Hands Off Social Security petition, with almost 100,000 signatures from across the country, directly to members of the House of Representatives this week. But today’s target is the U.S. Senate. Whether your Senator is a supportive Democrat or a right-wing Republican bent on destroying Social Security, your call still has an impact. Strong supporters use these calls to back them up on the Senator floor and some Republicans will think twice about sticking their neck out against seniors if their offices are flooded with calls too.

So don’t throw your hands up and think this call isn’t worth it, especially because DFA members aren’t alone when it comes to protecting Social Security. On Election Day, we polled voters nationwide to ask them where they stood and 85 percent said they don’t want to see ANY cuts to Social Security.

That’s right, even people who voted for Republicans to take back Congress said they don’t want any cuts to Social Security.

Make sure Congress gets the message — Call your Senators right now at 1-866-529-7630 and tell them Hands Off Social Security.

Thank you for everything you do.

-Jim

Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

Tell Congress: Women Can’t Afford Social Security Benefit Cuts


National Women's Law Center
Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Our Social Security!
Your Senators need to hear from you that jeopardizing the well-being of women and families is no way to improve the nation’s bottom line.
Call 1-866-529-7630 today!

Can women and their families afford deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

We don’t think so. But as the President’s Fiscal Commission meets this week, deep cuts to these and other vital programs for women and their families are on the table.

We need your help to make sure these proposals don’t stay on the table — starting with joining the National Call-In Day on Social Security.

Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Our Social Security! Call your Senators NOW at 1-866-529-7630.

  • After providing your zip code, you’ll be given a choice of which of your state’s Senators to be connected with first. Call both if you possibly can!
  • Tell the person who answers the phone: I am a constituent living in [your state]. I am calling to tell the Senator to say “NO!” to cuts in Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits are especially important to women — and women’s average benefits are just $12,000 per year. Women can’t afford Social Security benefit cuts.

Why are we so concerned? Commission Co-Chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have proposed:

  • Cutting Social Security benefits for the vast majority of beneficiaries by raising the retirement age, lowering the cost of living adjustment, and changing the basic benefit formula.
  • Shifting more Medicare costs to beneficiaries and requiring low-income Medicaid beneficiaries to pay higher co-pays.
  • Cutting overall federal funding for domestic discretionary programs by about 20 percent, jeopardizing funding for child care, education, training, and other crucial investments.
  • Relying on spending cuts, far more than revenue increases, to reduce the deficit. While some tax expenditures would be curtailed, much of that revenue would be used to cut tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and corporations rather than to protect vital services or reduce the deficit.

Bottom line — these proposals would hurt women and their families. The reductions to Social Security would disproportionately hurt women, who depend more on income from Social Security than men do. And the changes to Medicare and Medicaid would place an extra burden on women, who are the majority of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and who already spend a higher percentage of their (already-lower) incomes on health care than men.

Your Senators need to hear from you that jeopardizing the well-being of women and families is no way to improve the nation’s bottom line. Call your Senators NOW at 1-866-529-7630.

This will be a long, hard fight and we are counting on you to stand up for women and their families.

Sincerely,

Joan Entmacher Joan Entmacher
Vice President, Family Economic Security
National Women’s Law Center

P.S. To find out more about the co-chairs’ Social Security benefit cuts, check out our blog.

CONGRESS: Unemployed and Unnoticed


Today, Congress sets a new record; in the last 40 years, it has  never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent. But today, in an economy that faces a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, Congress will let the benefits expire and force 2.5 million Americans to lose their benefits in the midst of the holiday season. As the New York Times notes, such a “lack of regard for working Americans is shocking,” especially when juxtaposed with decades of bipartisan support for similar measures. But, in their pitch to obstruct any legislative progress, the Republicans of the 111th Congress have waged a two-year, all-out war against extending benefits, regardless of who it may hurt. The GOP‘s chief defense of its position is the  $12.5 billion cost of a three-month extension, or $60 billion for a full year. Such feigned concern for the deficit is made all the more deceptive when considering the same Republicans are simultaneously demanding that Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And, while these tax cuts for the rich provide very little economic stimulus, the unemployment benefits they obstruct have provided a vital economic boost to struggling families and businesses. By prioritizing the pocketbooks of the privileged over the needs of the American worker, Republicans are turning their back on their two alleged priorities: the  American people and the economy.

PLAYING POLITICS:   The dissonance between the GOPjobs” mantra and its antipathy towards the unemployed can only be explained by politics. Republicans do not have a long-standing policy position against unemployment benefits extensions, having been “more than eager” to pass several similar measures under President Bush. But as President Obama pointed out, the “tradition” to “offer relief to the unemployed” fell victim to the GOP’s desire to  obstruct any aspect of his agenda.  A brief look the past two years reveals how a party eventually traded decades of good bipartisan policy in the name of “good politics.” In the summer of 2009, Congress “decided to re-up” the unemployment extensions outlined in the Recovery Act. While Republicans delayed the passage by clamoring to defund ACORN, the Senate managed to unanimously pass the first extension last November, 27 days and four votes after the bill’s introduction. But when benefits began to expire again in February 2010, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) — who  gladly supported an extension for “our most needy families in Kentucky” in 2003 — decided to single-handedly block an extension, twice. While other GOP senators threatened to hold the extension, Bunning “made [GOP] colleagues squirm” by stopping the Senate from moving forward 11 times in a five-day standoff, telling senators pleading for him to relent “tough sh*t.” But instead of reigning Bunning in, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) noted that the GOP “caught up with the people Bunning was already with” — joining him on what many once deemed “insensitive” tactics to “[throw] a beanball at the unemployed” four times in the next eight months. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) described the GOP obstruction in June as “one of the worst moments I’ve seen in 25 years in the United States Senate.” Not to be left out, the House GOP quashed the fifth attempt to pass unemployment benefits earlier this month, ensuring thousands of families lost their benefits just after Thanksgiving weekend. Emblematic of GOP’s hypocrisy, future House Speaker John Boehner‘s (R-OH) spokesman accused Democrats of “just playing politics with people’s unemployed benefits” right after his boss voted against the extension.

PRIVILEGED GET PRIORITY:   Republicans offered a myriad of myths as to why the unemployed do not deserve relief in this economy —  lazinessdrug addiction, the potential creation of “hobos.” Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (SC) compared the unemployed to stray animals, saying “you’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or person ample food supply.” But the most common GOP talking point is that “the nation cannot afford to keep paying unemployment benefits.” Bemoaning the  $12.5 billion price tag for a three-month extension, numerous Republicans like Rep. Charles Boustany (LA), Rep. Mike Pence (IN), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) refuse to extend benefits unless the costs are offset. “We can’t fund everything,” said incoming chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee John Kline (R-MN), “we just don’t have the money.” This Republican rebuke of the 2.5 million Americans who will lose their benefits is particularly remarkable when juxtaposed with the GOP’s   clarion call to extend all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans without an offset. An extension of tax cuts for the wealthy would set the deficit back  $830 billion over the next ten years. However, in the same breath, Republicans like Sen. Mark Kirk (IL) call for a tax cut extension “no matter what” while deeming an unpaid-for unemployment extension “misguided.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) even  refused to support a compromise that would extend both the cuts and unemployment, characterizing the tax cuts expiration as “a massive tax increase” while dismissing unemployment benefits as “massive spending.” As the New York Times  points out, benefits, unlike the tax cuts, do not “bust the budget” — they do not add to the long-term deficit because spending is temporary and, because of the notable bang for each buck, “they contribute powerfully to the economic growth that is vital for a healthy budget.” But Republicans play by their own brand of logic in which a $830 billion chunk in the deficit to finance tax cuts for the wealthy is permissible, but $12.5 billion to help millions of struggling Americans is sacrilege.

CRUEL AND FOOLISH:   The GOP’s determination to obstruct any unemployment extension will drastically impact the state of the economy. Of the 2.5 million Americans whose benefits expire today, 1.2 million will  exhaust their 26 weeks of regular benefits without finding work, and 800,000 will lose their benefits immediately. These 2.5 million are among the  nearly 15 million Americans still looking for a job, four in ten of whom have been looking for at least six months. With the “record-high labor market slack,” the economy has such limited job openings that even if every open position in the country were filled, four out of five unemployed workers still wouldn’t be able to find a job. The number of people in need of this critical relief expands when the  economic impact of the benefits is taken into account. Economists estimate that the economy grows by nearly two dollars for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits “because recipients typically spend all of their benefit payments quickly,” particularly at small- and medium-sized businesses. The money “ripples through the economy into supermarkets, gasoline stations, utilities, convenience stores.” One Philadelphia grocer worried that, with a “good portion” of his customers losing benefits, he will be forced to “cut back on [his] labor force discontinuation of benefits “will likely be felt most quickly among retailers during the upcoming holiday shopping season.” What’s more, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, extended benefits kept the poverty rate more than   a full point below where it would have been otherwise in 2009 — preventing  3.3 million people from falling into poverty. And by keeping an average of 1.6 million American workers in jobs every quarter during this recession and having increased the GDP by $315 billion overall, benefits are more than much-needed relief, they’re “our economy’s first lines of defense to address recessions.”  Without it, annual economic growth could fall by half to one full percentage point, up to 1 million more people could lose their jobs, and hundreds of thousands would fall into poverty. But, as the New York Times  points out, the GOP tends to ignore these “facts and logic.” By clamoring about “too costly” jobless benefits while championing “vastly more expensive tax cuts for the rich,” Republicans endanger a vital tool in “ensuring that families can buy the basics” – a position that is “not only cruel, but foolish.”

Netflix under attack


Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Don't let Comcast block Netflix!
 

Tell the FCC: Protect the open Internet!

BREAKING: The New York Times just reported that Comcast is blocking Netflix unless a new fee is paid to Comcast — so Netflix’s price goes up and people use Comcast’s video service instead.

This outrageous abuse of power by Comcast comes on the very week that President Obama’s FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce whether he’ll fulfill Obama’s promise to protect the open Internet and Net Neutrality — which would prevent this type of corporate abuse.

The FCC needs to hear from us now, before the chairman’s big announcement this week.

Sign our message to the FCC: “Don’t let Comcast block Netflix or other online innovators for their own profit! Support the strongest Net Neutrality protections possible — and keep Obama’s promise.” Click here.

Then, please tell your friends. We’ll deliver thousands of messages to the FCC this week. Sign here.

What else could Comcast do if the FCC doesn’t protect Net Neutrality?

Internet providers like Comcast can drive their financial competitors (or political opponents) out of business by charging them more, for no good reason — exactly what’s happening right now.

For instance, Comcast could block or degrade iTunes, which competes with Comcast’s own online music store.

Worse, the FCC will soon decide whether to allow Comcast to buy NBC! Can you imagine what Comcast will do to block customers from getting video from ABC, CBS, and other media outlets? This is way more serious than just movies — the FCC’s decision impacts pretty much everything.

Tell the FCC to stop Comcast’s abuse of power and protect the open Internet. Click here — then pass it on.

Thanks for being a bold progressive,

Jason Rosenbaum, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Forrest Brown, and the PCCC team

P.S. You can read excerpts from the New York Times story on the petition page.

Bankrate.com




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