Tag Archives: social security

Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.

By Nancy J. Altman. Published 9-6-2019 by Common Dreams

Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits. (Photo: Courtesy of AFGE, Flickr | CC 2.0)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that Congress needs to “sit down behind closed doors” to “address Social Security.” She vaguely asserted, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.” But, she complained, if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing “granny over a cliff.” It is not hard to figure out what “changes” she has in mind. Continue reading

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Bolstering Call to Expand Social Security, New Reporting Reveals How Corporations Are Offloading Pensions

Not only are pensions being offered less, existing pensions are being transferred to insurers, with employees suffering consequences

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2019

Economists “warn that rarely, if ever, can people replicate the security of a pension,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center. (Photo: 401kcalculator.org)

New reporting showing companies’ scrapping of pension plans has gone into overdrive means that Social Security must be expanded, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

“Expanding Social Security is important for today’s retirees,” Social Security Works said in a tweet, “but even more important for tomorrow’s.

The shift from traditional pensions to 401(k) or similar retirement plans—a change panned as an inequality-fueling disaster—isn’t new. “But lately,” reported Axios, “those changes are happening even faster.” Continue reading

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As Trump Vows “A Lot of Cutting” After Midterms, Americans Urged to Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid at the Voting Booth

With Trump’s support, the GOP “has spent the last two years doing everything they can to reach onto our pockets, steal our money, and give it to their pay masters on Wall Street.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2018

Photo: Social Security Works/Facebook

Following the news this week that under President Donald Trump, the federal deficit exploded to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, the president said Wednesday that he would demand a five percent budget cut from each of his cabinet secretaries.

Stressing that the administration would “continue with the tax cuts, because we have other tax cuts planned,” Trump suggested the deficit was the result of spending on various programs at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and other government agencies. Continue reading

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With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes to Give Rich Another $3 Trillion in Tax Cuts

“This is yet another shameful tax law that would swindle working families and siphon even more funding from the programs that help our communities thrive.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2018

“In less than a year, House Republicans have handed out trillions of tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations,” added Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. (Photo: Tax March)

With the nation’s attention rightly transfixed by the Senate GOP’s monstrous efforts to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual assault, House Republicans on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve another $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans just weeks before the November midterms.

“Today the GOP doubled down on last year’s giveaway to the donor class known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement following the 220-191 vote. “Tax Cuts 2.0 gives nearly $3 trillion to the wealthiest Americans, and will become yet another excuse for Republicans to slash Medicare and Social Security.”

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With Most Benefits Going to Rich, ‘Reckless and Stupid’ GOP Tax Scam 2.0 Could Cost $3 Trillion Over Ten Years

“Think how many kids we could put through college, roads we could pave, families that could get child care, seniors that could get help with prescription drugs with that much money. Shame!”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-11-2018

Tax reform press briefing October 31, 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

In their latest “reckless and stupid” bid to deliver massive rewards to ultra-wealthy Americans, House Republicans on Monday introduced three pieces of legislation that make up the GOP’s so-called “Tax Reform 2.0” package.

But with less than two months to go before crucial midterm elections, early estimates indicate the GOP’s proposals would blow a nearly $3 trillion hole in the federal budget over ten years while sending the vast majority of the benefits to the top. Continue reading

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Putting Common Good Over Billionaires and War Profiteers, House Progressives Introduce “People’s Budget”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ plan “invests in our neglected infrastructure, ends the systematic inequality in our tax system by making corporations pay their fair share, and stops the rising cost of drugs.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2018

“The People’s Budget embodies that new vision by investing in the interests of the people over the interests of the arms industry and the billionaire class,” Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, noted in a statement on Tuesday. (Photo: Congressional Progressive Caucus)

Offering an ambitious alternative to the House GOP’s “morally bankrupt” 2019 budget proposal—which demands over $5 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and other life-saving programs—the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled a budget that calls for massive investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education while proposing significant cuts to the completely “out-of-control” Pentagon budget.

Titled The People‘s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward (pdf), the CPC’s plan also calls for a ban on “any expansion of U.S. combat troops in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many other countries,” demanding an immediate end to “the policy of funding endless wars.” Continue reading

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‘Morally Bankrupt’: After Tax Cuts for Richest, House GOP Unveils $5.4 Trillion Attack on Nation’s Safety Net

The Republican budget’s “extreme cuts to healthcare, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-19-2018

Photo: YouTube

With the nation’s attention rightly fixated on President Donald Trump’s horrific treatment of immigrant children, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly unveiled their 2019 budget proposal that calls for $537 billion in cuts to Medicare, $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, and four billion in cuts to Social Security over the next decade in an effort to pay for their deficit-exploding tax cuts for the wealthy.

“It’s morally bankrupt, patently absurd, and grossly un-American,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires said of the GOP’s budget proposal, which calls for $5.4 trillion in spending cuts from major domestic programs. Continue reading

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Sounding Alarm Over Possible #GOPTaxScam 2.0, 130 Groups Warn Lawmakers Against ‘Another Massive Tax Cut’ for Wealthy

New letter warns of conservatives seeing “an excuse for still deeper cuts” to social safety net

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-13-2018

A woman holds a sign at a protest of the “Trump tax scam” on Dec.4, 2017. (Photo: CDEL Family/flickr/cc)

With President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans eyeing a second round of tax cuts—with a rollout possible this summer—130 organizations are urging members of Congress to reject them, because, like the first round, they will “primarily enrich the already wealthy” while threatening even deeper cuts to essential services.

“The richest Americans do not need another massive tax cut,” the letter from national groups including the AFL-CIO, Americans for Tax Fairness, Friends of the Earth, the National Education Association, and Patriotic Millionaires states. Continue reading

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With Tax Scam Complete, GOP Caucus Unveils Insane Budget Blueprint to Attack Safety Net

Programs like Social Security and Medicare are gutted while tax cuts are made permanent in plan

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2018

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) is the chair of the Republican Study Committee, a far-right caucus for House Republicans.

An ultraconservative Republican House caucus on Wednesday put forth its spending plan that represents a draconian wishlist of attacks on the social safety net and consumer and environmental protections while including a plan to further enrich the wealthy by making making permanent parts of the GOP tax plan.

The budget blueprint from the Republican Study Committee (RSC)—and titled A Framework of Unified Conservatism—says it “would take unprecedented steps to begin the deconstruction of the administrative state” and would cut $12.4 trillion over the next decade from federal spending. Continue reading

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We started a revolution over this once

Do you remember voting for lobbyists to decide who pays what in taxes? We don’t.

Photo: Daniel Huizinga/flickr

On Friday night, the Senate passed their version of the #GOPTaxScam. The bill, all 479 pages of it, was presented to the full Senate just hours before the vote. The vote was along party lines, with the one dissenting vote among the Republicans coming from Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

So, what was in this bill, and why did they vote on it before all the Senators could actually read through the bill? We’re glad you asked. First, what’s in it.

A lot of the bill is what you’d expect. For example:

  • The top individual rate is reduced from 39.6% to 38.5%, and the threshold at which the top rate kicks in is increased from $418,000 for a single/$480,000 for married filing jointly to $500,000/$1,000,000
  • The estate tax exemption is doubled, to $11 million for a single taxpayer and $22 million for married taxpayers.
  • The corporate rate is reduced from 35% to 20%.
  • The top rate on the income earned by owners of “flow through” businesses — S corporations and partnerships — is reduced from 39.6% to a shade below 30%.

Questions about these measure that we were forced to ask include; how is it that corporations are able to keep the tax deductions that have now been excluded from individual tax bases? Why is the corporate tax is now LOWER than the top individual rate? If corporations are people too, why is there ANY difference in these tax rates?

Then, there’s the “Why are these items in a tax bill, anyways?” parts. These include:

  • A provision that explicitly allows parents to use tax-free college savings plans, known as 529s, for a “child in utero.” This is essentially a personhood bill, setting a precedent for the legal definition of life beginning at conception.
  • The bill repeals the Johnson Amendment, which bans non-profit groups from engaging in political activism. This would mean that churches and the like could actively engage in elections without disclosing individual donors; think of it as Citizens United on steroids. This serves the purpose of blurring the lines between the separation of church and state, allowing the churches to donate and promote individual candidates in local and national elections, all while cloaked under the donation secrecy this provision allows.
  • Eliminating the individual mandate of the ACA. While this actually does deal with taxes (the fine for not being insured is paid as part of your taxes), removing the mandate means that younger and healthier people won’t buy insurance until they need it. These are the people who currently offset the cost of providing healthcare to the older and sicker people. Without this in place, premiums will rise dramatically more than the anticipated 10% over the next 10 years.
  • A provision that would open part of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil and gas exploration. While this would raise revenue, it only amounts to $2 billion over the next ten years, at the cost of almost assuredly ruining the local environment and ecosystem. Additionally, it is worded in such a way that it is actually ILLEGAL to not drill, forcing Alaska to accept ANY drilling permits and fields desired.

Of course, the individual tax cuts are set to expire, meaning that the middle class will see a tax increase. And, what’s going to pay for these? The GOP mantra’s always been that tax cuts pay for themselves, but others, such as Marco Rubio, have already admitted that the tax reform is part one of a two-step process designed to defund and eventually dismantle Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security; the very programs designed to help the elderly, disabled and poorest members of American society.

Now obviously, a lot of these proposals don’t sit well with the electorate. So, why the rush to pass it? The GOP needs a victory. Even with controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, this administration’s been notably inept in getting meaningful things accomplished. Furthermore, the GOP donor class has stated that the campaign money will dry up if they don’t get the tax cuts they want.

Photo: Represent.US

So, who came up with most of the amendments? Lobbyists. Out of the 11,000 registered lobbyists in Washington, more than 6,000 said that they worked on taxes this year. That works out to 11 lobbyists for each member of Congress. Do you remember electing lobbyists to write our laws? We sure don’t.

We still have a chance to stop this. The House and Senate bills now go to a conference committee. The bill that comes out of that will need to be passed by both houses. The healthcare fiasco this summer proves that if we’re loud and persistent enough, our message gets through. And, with the bill only having 37% approval before the vote, there’s enough of us to make the message get through.

And what if it doesn’t? The last time that the GOP had won control of both houses and the presidency before 2016 was 1928. The new tax bill looks even more extreme than the policies put into place by the Republicans after the 1928 election. Does anybody remember what happened in 1929?

Another annoying historical factoid that you may wish to remember at a time like this: 244 years ago, a group of people decided that they weren’t going to pay taxes without proper representation, and what became known as the Boston Tea Party took place. This in turn led to a revolution, and the founding of this country.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

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