By Dave Lindorff
It's time for us progressives to stop playing defense on Social Security.
We've watched the retirement system suffer years of attacks by conservatives and by class traitors in the Democratic Party. We have seen the retirement age raised since 1983 from 65 to 67, and the cost-of-living calculation altered so that our benefits have declined in value over time, while the tax rate on working people has risen.
It's time to stop fighting rear-guard actions and to go on the offense.
Beginning next year, the Baby Boom generation born after 1945 is going to start retiring en masse. That means the size of the retiree portion of the population is about to double. Far from being a threat to the Social Security system though, as conservative critics falsely claim, this new wave or retirees will actually strengthen the system, because soon there will be a far larger voting population of retirees and pending retirees who will all have a vested interest in preserving and improving Social Security.
That is precisely why the Obama Administration, ever solicitous of the wishes of the corporate elite and Wall Street, together with bought-and-paid Republicans and treacherous Democrats in Congress, are attempting through the latest so-called Deficit Commission, to push through more cuts to weaken the Social Security system now, while they still can.
If we Baby Boomers, who are just about to start collecting Social Security, would recognize our own (and our children's) interests, we could put a stop to this betrayal of the New Deal's greatest legacy immediately.
There is no Social Security "crisis."
In fact, it is time to demand a return to 65 as the age for retiring with full benefits, and to demand a restoration of the original methodology for calculating cost-of-living adjustments.
It is all the more important that we lower, and not raise the retirement age, because with the unemployment rate now stuck at close to 10% officially, and with one- in-five Americans either unemployed, working part-time involuntarily, or "out of the labor force" (meaning they gave up trying to find work in an economy where there are six workers chasing each job opening), the last thing we should be doing as a nation is forcing older workers stay on the job against their will, keeping those positions filled and unavailable for younger workers...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online newspaper, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!