Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Joint Committee Updates - Pessimism for Medicare, Social Security Under Attack

Committee Sleight of Hand

From NCPSSM:  "The Congressional Super Committee has just over a week to present its deficit reduction plan.  Incredibly, it appears any illusion of finding a proposal with 'shared sacrifices' or a 'balanced approach' is just that … an illusion.  So far, the only agreement that has support from members of both parties is that middle-class Americans will face benefit cuts immediately.  When it comes to tax loopholes for corporations and tax breaks for the wealthy it appears some on the super committee would rather pass that buck on to yet another committee(s) to worry about sometime next year.  Simply put … the middle-class sacrifices again.  The wealthy are let off the hook again."

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has become a premier advocate for the aged and disabled.  Kudos to them: congratulations and thank you.  They are mentioned more frequently, and their arguments in support of Medicare and Social Security are genuine and germane.

Democrats Hold Social Security, Drop Medicare

"Seniors groups said Thursday they are pleased the latest Democratic supercommittee offer does not contain cuts to Social Security.  The groups have been working with the AFL-CIO to target supercommittee Democrats in their home states for putting entitlement cuts on the table.  Earlier in the supercommittee talks, Democrats had proposed changing the way inflation is calculated.  This would increase tax revenue but also cut Social Security benefits.  On Monday night, the Democrats scaled back their $3 trillion package to a $2.3 trillion deficit package that does not contain the 'chained consumer price index' cuts to Social Security.  The seniors representatives are not pleased that cuts to Medicare benefits do remain on the table."

Democrats Misguided

BY THE NUMBERS:  "The centerpiece of the Democratic proposal was a series of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.  What's the number one item people did not want to see cut?  Medicare and Medicaid.  The second most unpopular target was Social Security.  Between Medicare and Social Security, 56% of people polled felt that these entitlements were (in the poll's words) 'the worst possible thing to cut.'  By contrast, only 20% of people polled felt that way about defense spending."

"When asked whether they supported 'hundreds of millions of dollars in spending cuts to Medicare and Medicaid through increasing beneficiary costs' (the Democratic offer includes $100 billion of such costs for Medicare and an additional amount for Medicaid), 76% were opposed -- and 52% were 'opposed strongly.'"

Affluent Seniors Could Take A Hit On Medicare

From Kaiser Health News:  "In the scramble to come up with a deficit-reduction deal by Thanksgiving, members of Capitol Hill's super committee appear to have one group squarely in their cross hairs: high-income Medicare beneficiaries."  "But some seniors' advocates see attempts to pry more from upper-income seniors as risky today, and a threat to the middle class tomorrow.  'When you’re talking about seniors, the definition of wealthy seems to be a whole lot lower than when you’re talking about younger people,' said Maria Freese, director of government relations and policy at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.  'Just because they’re retired, it doesn’t mean their expenses are much lower.'"

Washington Post Gets It Wrong

"The Washington Post doesn't seem to want to take any prisoners in its on-going assault on Social Security.  On October 31st, the paper ran a front page, above the fold, 'news' article ("The debt fallout: How Social Security went 'cash negative' earlier than expected") falsely claiming that Social Security, which holds $2.6 trillion in U.S. Treasury notes, 'is sucking money out of the Treasury.'  Mystified, Richard Eskow asked, 'How can a 2,363-word piece be so densely packed with inaccuracies, falsehoods, and downright lies?'"

A Washington Post "editorial calls AARP 'thuggish' for running political ads which forcefully state that if politicians vote to cut Social Security, their members will vote against them.  But there is nothing thuggish about AARP standing against the elites in Washington on behalf of their members who, like the overwhelming majority of all Americans, oppose cutting Social Security because they understand that its benefits are modest, yet vitally important."

This is a MUST READ for anyone who is concerned about the aged and disabled who rely on Medicare and Social Security -- America's best pre-paid public benefits.


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