By Chuck Idelson
National Nurses United
They came, they danced, they marched, 2,000 people spirited and strong, Robin Hood's merry band of men and women, through the streets of Washington April 20.
Ending up astride a prominent government building, christened with a new name and a naming ceremony. No more U.S. Treasury, now, the banner declared, "The U.S. Treasury. A Citigroup Subsidiary. Jack Lew, Inc., CEO."
"We could end AIDS, reverse climate change, fund jobs and health care. Who do you work for Secretary Lew?" asked Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP (Global Action Project). "You work for the people, not Wall Street."
Three-Quarters of Progressive Caucus Not Taking a Stand Against Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
By Norman Solomon
For the social compact of the United States, most of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has gone missing.
While still on the caucus roster, three-quarters of the 70-member caucus seem lost in political smog. Those 54 members of the Progressive Caucus haven’t signed the current letter that makes a vital commitment: “we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits - including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”
By Robert Reich
We're one week away from a massive cut in federal spending - cuts that will hurt millions of lower-income Americans who'll lose nutrition assistance, housing, and money for their schools, among other things; that will furlough or lay off millions of government employees, reduce inspections of the nation's meat and poultry and pharmaceuticals and workplaces, eliminate the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people working for government contractors, and, according to Leon Panetta and other military leaders, seriously compromise the nation's defenses.
By Jackie Tortora
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid aren't just numbers on a budget line, they're vital family protection lifelines for working people.
As many as 55.4 million Americans across the United States receive monthly Social Security checks, including 8.6 million workers with disabilities and 4.4 million children. A total of 48.7 million Americans get their health care coverage from Medicare and 64.4 million Americans get their health care coverage from Medicaid, including 29.8 million children and 4.2 million seniors.
By Barbara Easterling
Alliance for Retired Americans
Behind the shock and awe of Alan Simpson's hate-filled letter to the California chapter of my organization—he recently wrote that members of the Alliance for Retired Americans were "a wretched group of seniors" and "greedy geezers"—lies a cautionary tale for workers and retirees: Beware of politicians looking for political cover to cut Social Security.
By Paul Kleyman
New America Media
To read this week’s mainstream headlines on the new Social Security Trustees Report, you’d think the barriers to our retirement future were higher than Fenway Park’s vaunted Green Monster. What the report actually shows, however, is that the nation’s retirement system is, more precisely, as durable as Boston’s vaunted emerald wall, which was celebrated for its 100th anniversary last week.
Factual reporting on the staying power of government programs, though, doesn’t drive much website traffic. On Monday, the PBS News Hour headed an online page for the debate they aired about the report, “Social Security Slated to Run Dry in 2033, Trustees Warn.”
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
Here are some headlines you won't see after the government releases new figures on Social Security and Medicare later today:
"Social Security Trust Fund Even Larger Than It Was Last Year"
"Growing Wealth Inequity Will Lead to Social Security Imbalance Later This Century"
"For-Profit Healthcare Poses Threat to Medicare, Federal Deficit, and Overall Economy in Coming Decades"
"Public Consensus Grows For Taxing Wealthy to Restore Long-Term Entitlement Imbalance"
Instead here's what we've already seen:
"Aging workforce strains Social Security, Medicare"
That headline's completely wrong, and yet it's been repeated in dozens of different news outlets (sometimes with minor variations) as they run an improved, but still misleading, news story on Social Security and Medicare from Stephen Ohlemacher at the Associated Press.
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
There's a new "Medicare" proposal - sorta. It's really the same old bait-and-switch we've seen a dozen times. Still, you gotta hand it to 'em: Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Burr have taken the usual right-wing think-tank-designed buzzwords, deceptive packaging, and sleights of hand, and have taken them to new heights.
These foundation-forged assaults on the middle class may be old, battered ideas that have been debunked a dozen times, but still they just won't die. Like the old Terminators, they keep coming back with the same mission: Must. Kill. Medicare.
Coburn and Burr don't even pretend to show how their anti-Medicare plan - excuse me, "choice" plan - will save money. They just say this:
We do not yet have a concrete, specific amount of "savings" outlined, but we believe our proposal could save between $200 billion and $500 billion over a decade.
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
Identity theft, a growing problem, is regularly in the news. We are warned to keep our Social Security numbers safe, to not carry our SSN cards with us. But recently, I joined the ranks of Medicare recipients and, to my surprise, found that my Medicare number is my SSN number--and we are instructed to carry it with us at all times.
I’ve done everything possible to minimize my exposure. I purchased a cross-cutter, better than a shredder, and use it for all papers with personal information. I purchased a sturdy lock mailbox. I keep no passwords or personal details on my computer, keep my firewall and virus programs up-to-date, and obtained a second credit card with a low maximum for online purchases. I never give out information on the phone and I placed a security freeze on all three credit reporting agencies.
By Paul Kleyman
New America Media
Democratic leaders and the White House are congratulating themselves for their tax-holiday victory—but only until the Feb. 29 leap-of-faith day--over GOP hardliners. But the payroll tax holiday, like most vacations, will have its bill to pay.
The national media have been playing the bipartisan shuffle in terms of Democratic stimulus versus GOP stinginess. But such major media as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have largely abrogated their responsibility to report another viewpoint that multiple progressive experts and commentators have argued for since the essentially Republic tax-cut idea was put forward and accepted last year by the Obama White House.