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Why Obama's Social Security Cuts Are Our Wake-Up Call

By       Message Richard Eskow       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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No jobs. No growth. Falling income. Unaffordable colleges. A dying middle class. Young people without hope. The greatest economic inequality in modern history.

And yet, in the midst of the Long Depression, we're told that the president intends to cut Social Security.

According to reports, the new presidential budget proposal will also include job-killing spending cuts and a Medicare cost hike that will increasingly affect the middle class with every passing year.

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The president says this isn't his "ideal plan," but he doesn't say what his ideal plan would look like -- and he certainly isn't fighting for a better one. He also claims his budget offers "tough reforms," which rings of self-satisfaction rather than sorrow.

He's decided on his next move. What's yours?

This budget represents a moral challenge for everyone, especially those of us who voted for him. I've already gone here to let my elected officials know that I unconditionally oppose these budget cuts.

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Death by a Thousand Cuts

Call it "the unkindest cut of all." What makes the chained CPI particularly unkind is the fact that millions of Americans have already had their Social Security benefits cut. Benefits are determined based on a person's lifetime earnings, so any significant loss in income now results in a benefit cut later. (More details here.)

Long-term unemployment is a benefit cut. A stagnating wage is a benefit cut. Wealth inequity is a benefit cut.

How many more cuts can the American people stand?

A Deep Cut

How big is the president's chained CPI cut? For someone who retires at 65, it would be:

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a 3.7 percent cut at age 75;
a 6.5 percent cut at age 85;
and a 9.2 percent cut at 95.

What about the dollar cost of the president's cut? For the average earner, cumulative benefits would be cut by:

$4,631 -- more than three months of benefits -- by age 75;
$13,910 -- nearly a year of benefits -- by age 85;
and $28,004 -- more than a year and a half of benefits -- by age 95.

Unless the president's budget excludes the chained CPI from IRS calculation, it would also lead to tax increases for all income except that in the highest tax bracket. So his Social Security cut would also be a middle-class tax hike.

All the President's Cuts

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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