A few weeks ago Hotflash wrote abut the President’s Deficit Commission (formal title: National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform; informal title: Cat Food Commission) which is stacked with Republicans out to gut Social Security and Blue Dog Democrats who’ll be only too happy to lie down and roll over when the GOP whistles. If you read her posting, which paints a dire picture of what to expect from this Commission, you’ll be happy to learn that at least some House Democrats are already drawing the battle lines against the Commission’s recommendations – among them Missouri’s Lacy Clay (D-1st).
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) sent a letter to President Obama making it clear that he and the 136 co-signers from the House of Representatives consider Social Security out-of-bounds:
You have charged the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with proposing recommendations that improve the long-term fiscal outlook and address the growth of entitlement spending. It is our view that Social Security – which is prohibited by law from adding to the national budget deficit – does not belong as part of those recommendations.
By 2023, Social Security will have built up a $4.3 trillion surplus, and, without any action, can pay full benefits until 2037 and at least 75 percent of all benefits thereafter. Because Social Security is funded separately from the general treasury and has no borrowing authority, it has not contributed to the federal deficit. Despite these facts, some Commission members have repeatedly alleged the need to cut Social Security for budgetary reasons.
Cutting Social Security benefits beyond the already scheduled increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67 would create even more needless hardship for millions of vulnerable Americans. This is especially true in the face of an economic downturn that has wiped out trillions of dollars that Americans were relying on for their retirement security and the increased dismantlement of the private and public pension systems.
If any of the commission’s recommendations cut or diminish Social Security in any way, we will stand firmly against them. We urge you to join us in protecting and strengthening Social Security rather than letting it fall victim to a misguided to reduce budget deficits on the backs of working families.
I hope that the people in Rep. Clay’s district thank him for his courageous defense of our Social Security. I also hope some of our other Missouri House Democrats hear from their constituents – I’d certainly like to know why they haven’t signed on as well.