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Stories of the Elderly Remind Us of the Pain of Cutting Social Security Payments

Altering the formula for Social Security payouts is not innocuous, it will have grave human costs.

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But here’s the deal: I didn't get into politics to help the Democratic party. I came to the Democratic party because they more often wanted to help the people I cared about helping- the poor, the disabled, the middle class folks fighting for a decent life for them and their families. When forced to choose, as it looks like I will in this case, I will choose the people I got into this work to fight for.

My first loyalties are to my middle class family, who will depend heavily on Social Security because they mostly won’t have lots of savings or generous pensions; to the kids I grew up with in a working class part of Lincoln, NE, who are getting ready to retire and mostly don’t have those savings or pensions either; to the people like my late brother Kevin who have lived with serious disabilities, who may or may not be taken care of depending on what is negotiated away next; and to the poor people and seniors who I got to know as a young organizer, like the elderly woman I made a promise to that I would keep fighting for her.

If the President decides to give into Republican demands to cut this kind of deal, thinking that launching a civil war with people like me who were part of his winning coalition in the election is better for the country and worth the trade-off, he will do what feels like he should. The DC pundits will be ecstatic (“the President is so brave to take on those seniors and cut Social Security”). Wall Street will be thrilled, they have been wanting to cut middle class benefits and the Social Security system for years. But on behalf of those people to whom I owe my first loyalties, I will do whatever I can to fight the kind of plan being described in news accounts today. I hope the rest of the progressive movement that has pledged to fight this kind of deal will fight the good fight along with me. The President will do what he thinks is best. The rest of us need to as well. If the deal goes down, it will be quite a way to start the President’s second term, an ugly fight with the people who fought by his side to elect him. We’ll see what’s ahead. 

 

 
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