Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rich CEO's And "Broke" America

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Untruths About Social Security

Some people think that if you utter an untruth enough times, it magically becomes true.  Not so.  Here are five myths about Social Security continually floated by the Right that are still untrue.  Please note the sources lower on the page.  They will tell you where our information came from.  Something the critics cannot do.

Top 5 Social Security Myths

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis.  By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T').  It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago.2  Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut. 

Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. 

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share.  If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.5 Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income.6  But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.7 The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible!  By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.8

Defeating these myths is the first step to stopping Social Security cuts.  Can you share this list now?


1."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010

2. "The Straight Facts on Social Security," Economic Opportunity Institute, September 2009

3. "Social Security and the Age of Retirement," Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 2010

4. "More on raising the retirement age," Washington Post, July 8, 2010

5. "Social Security is sustainable," Economic and Policy Institute, May 27, 2010

6. "Maximum wage contribution and the amount for a credit in 2010," Social Security Administration, April 23, 2010

7. "Trust Fund FAQs," Social Security Administration, February 18, 2010

8."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010

Distributed by Delaware/Montgomery Progressive Democrats of America –

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cheer For Labor September 5!

Recent developments in Wisconsin and Ohio and the Verizon strike here make this year's Labor Day parade more meaningful than ever.  The Executive Council of the AFL/CIO has called for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.  All the more reason peace groups should join Labor in a show of solidarity Monday, September 5.  Meet between 9:30 and 9:45 at the Sheetmetal Workers headquarters on Columbus Boulevard below Washington to cheer the marchers.  Maybe we can help you find a carpool.  For details, call 484-380-2222.   Ever been to a Labor Day Parade?  This is the year to do it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Defense" Dollars For Religion

It's one thing to favor seriously cutting military spending on things like aircraft carriers, jet fighters, and nuclear submarines.  But what about the large sums spent on pushing fundamentalist/evangelical religion to servicemen and women?  The authors of this article have done some research on that that will amaze you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wanna Buy A Jet Fighter?

The F-22, the world's most expensive jet fighter, is grounded.  This is the sort of "investment" in security that makes little or no sense.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bill McKibben On The Tar Sands

Bill McKibben has galvanized thousands of opponents of Keystone XL, the proposed pipeline that will deliver black goo from the tarsands of Alberta to the Gulf coast.  He expects at least a thousand citizens to practice non-violent resistence.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Friday Movie 9/2/11 At Peace Center of DelCo

Friday, September 2, 7pm, presented by Brandywine Peace at Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Road, Springfield.  Large screen.  Free.

Defense's Golden Decade Ending?

This is an AP story about what looks to be the end of the MIC's golden decade.  The wars are winding down, the budget is getting cut, several weapons systems have been discontinued, and the stock prices are down.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

USS Richard M. Nixon?

This is an excellent article on the incredible costs of military hardware and, in many cases, its uselessness.,9171,2065246,00.html

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Letter To The Washington Post

Increasingly we find more insightful, experienced, succinct comment in the  Letters column than on the editorial or op-ed pages.  Here is a knowledgeable response to an op-ed about "gutting defense spending."

In his Aug. 5 op-ed, “Cut defense — but don’t gut it,” written in response to Fareed Zakaria’s Aug. 4 op-ed column supporting defense cuts, Michael O’Hanlon contended that reducing military spending by close to a trillion dollars over the next decade is not doable.
However, the military-industrial complex is, in fact, out of control — and such cuts are possible. In real terms, total defense spending is higher than at any time since World War II, including the peak years of the Korean and Vietnam wars and the Reagan defense buildup. Even if the defense budget were reduced by the entire $1 trillion, or about $100 billion a year over the next decade, it would amount to a reduction of about 15 percent. This would, in real terms, allow the Pentagon to spend at its 2007 level for the next decade. Our equipment is aging not because of a lack of funds but because of poor management of this gusher of defense spending. Over the past decade, the Pentagon has spent about $50 billion on weapons it had to cancel, and cost overruns on major weapons programs have neared $300 billion.

While Mr. O’Hanlon is not concerned that the United States spends a lot more on defense than other nations, I am. Over the past decade, as the U.S. share of the world’s military expenditures has increased from one-third to almost 50 percent, the U.S. share of the global economy has dropped to about 23 percent, and a projected budget surplus has morphed into a massive deficit.
Lawrence J. Korb, Washington
The writer, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, served as assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1985.

Come To Washington October 6

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Great Victory For Peace

"There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home” – AFL-CIO Executive Council, Aug. 3, 2011
In a major victory for the progressive movement, the AFL-CIO has condemned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as a “militarization of our foreign policy” and a “costly mistake.” The statement, adopted August 3, is the most forthright in the history of a labor movement marked by pro-war allegiances for many decades. It reflects a deep sentiment among working families, estimated at 80 percent opposition by one longtime labor official in Washington DC. Much credit goes to the patient bottom-up organizing by US Labor Against the War and others, who solicited endorsements from hundreds of locals and mobilized labor contingents at countless rallies across the country.
The AFL-CIO officially opposed the Iraq war at its 2005 convention. But the organization was supportive of Afghanistan, or at least reluctant to oppose the administration’s policy until recently. For example, at a closed meeting last year, the labor federation refused to participate in a large Washington march if the demands included withdrawal from Afghanistan. Peace advocates were disappointed, but speakers like Harry Belafonte proceeded to attack the war policy in any event, to cheers from thousands of marchers.
The San Francisco labor federation, led by Tim Paulson, has long advocated that the national federation oppose the interventionist wars on the basis of their economic cost. That position prevailed in a discussion of 30-some local labor leaders in the week before the Aug. 3 executive council meeting. According to Paulson, who was there, the inclusion of the anti-war statement was “first and foremost a product of the disastrous budget debate that led to the debt ceiling deal.” The Afghanistan war cost is over one trillion taxpayer dollars, not including long-term costs for veterans’ health care.
In the advisory committee meeting, Paulson said, “we really struggled over ways to take back the jobs debate and needless to say, the subject of how the largest part of our massive debt comes from our foreign policy made its way prominently back on the table. Our advice to the executive officers included exiting the wars.
It is known that Rep. Barbara Lee, a leader of the Democratic peace forces in Congress, also called AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in February with a plea to support the majority of House Democrats demanding a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan. In the same month, the Democratic National Committee, which includes a heavy labor representation, unanimously passed a resolution calling for a more rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan with a transfer of dollars to job creation.
The AFL-CIO is expected to decide this week on messaging and resources to implement its statement.
If the Obama administration withdraws all 47,000 troops from Iraq this year, and just half (or 50,000) its troops from Afghanistan by 2012, the taxpayer savings would be $200 billion to invest in America during the next two years. The Senate Democratic deficit proposal included $1.2 trillion in tax savings from “winding down” the two wars in the next several years.
According to Judith LeBlanc of Peace Action, “this development opens the door to more intense activity at all levels of the labor movement to partner with community, social service, religious, student and other organizations for racial and economic justice in an effort to turn back the deficit mania sweeping the country and establish new priorities in public policy that create jobs and provide the social services people need.” #

------ End of Forwarded Message

Rick Perry Is Praying For You

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, apparently a candidate for the GOP nomination as of tomorrow, has tried a lot of things, including prayer.  He has talked about secession.  He has sent more prisoners to death than any other governor.  Last weekend he led 30,000 believers in prayers for our nation's economy but two days later Wall Street took its worst drubbing in years.  What next?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just What We Said

We've been talking about seriously cutting defense spending for some time now (see our video linked in the right-hand column).  Now the composition of the 12-member "Super Congress" almost guarantees an automatic cut in such spending.  Fareed Zakaria of CNN writes about it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Workers Poet Laureate

How wonderful that Librarian of Congress Billington has named Philip Levine as new Poet Laureate.  Born and raised in Detroit, he worked on auto plant assembly lines and writes poetry about work.  Click here to learn more and to hear him talk about his career.

Show Your Outrage September 7 & 8

The suits from the natural gas industry will be meeting in conference in Philadelphia September 7 and 8. We will be there too to express our outrage at their drilling methods and what they are doing to the water supply even in areas not being drilled.  Click and learn.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Biggest Strike In Four Years

This would not seem to be a good economy in which to go on strike, but the Verizon workers who do landlines have had enough.  The company, enjoying huge profits, wants to charge workers another $100 a month for health care, trim bargaining rights, cut paid holidays. Things are good at the top: in 2010 the CEO, Ivan G. Seidenberg, took home $17.9 million.  Negotiators have been talking for months, and the union has now had enough. Progressives alarmed by what is being attempted in Wisconsin and Ohio state governments, can now see the same thinking applied in a private enterprise.  Don't cross that picket line!

If you see some tired bedraggled CWA picketers, tell them how enthusiastically you support them and buy them a cup of coffee.

We will keep you updated throughout the fight.

Additional information can be found at:
Read about it:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Letter To The Inquirer

To the Editor:
In this morning's op-ed piece by Senator Toomey, he says this: "Excessive debt leads to higher interest rates, serious inflation, and tax increases - sometimes all at once." One must ask "What planet is the Senator living on?" Higher interest rates? Not on my savings account. Serious inflation? Tell that to the people trying to sell their homes. Tax increases? On whom, Senator? Public servants who peddle such untruths cannot be taken seriously. Walter Ebmeyer, Bryn Mawr.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cato Institute Says Cut Defense

We don't often quote the Cato Institute, a right-wing think tank that often sounds libertarian.  But on the subject of military spending they make a lot of sense.  This excellent article suggests cutting $1.2 trillion over ten years and tells how to do it.  Click  on the link to read a synopsis (among other things, cut four carrier battle groups!).  You can then, if you want, click further to see the entire 16-page study.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Who'll Protect Domestic Spending?

Amy Goodman worries about who'll protect domestic spending, Social Security, and Medicare in the new 12-member "super Congress."  The big defense contractors already have their protectors.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Private Contractor Waste In Wars

This Reuters article tells about a study now about to be presented to congress that details the waste of $43 billion by private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Come To Washington October 6

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

That's not the sound of a truck backing up.  That's your President.  This tough article by William Rivers Pitt is from TruthOut.

Are There Really Military Cuts?

This is from the blog of our friends at Peace Action Montgomery in Maryland.  It talks about what the new ceiling/deficit bill would really do to military spending.  Not much good news.

How The House Voted

This NY Times article will tell you just about everything you want to know about yesterday's vote in the House on the deficit and the debt ceiling. From the second page you can go to an interactive map of the voting and a roll call list that shows one of the strangest collection of bedfellows you can imagine: Michelle Bachman, Rosa DeLauro, Dan Burton, Barney Frank, and Ron Paul all voted No. Today the Senate votes.