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The War On Social Security

Memo Pad

The War On Social Security


Now and then, George W. Bush told the unvarnished truth — most often in jest. Consider the GOP presidential nominee’s Oct. 20, 2000, speech at a high-society, $800-a-plate fundraiser at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Resplendent in a black tailcoat, waistcoat and white bowtie, Bush greeted the swells with evident satisfaction.

“This is an impressive crowd,” he said. “The haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base.”

Gene Lyons

Gene Lyons is a political columnist and author. Lyons writes a column for the Arkansas Times that is nationally syndicated by United Media. He was previously a general editor at Newsweek as wells an associate editor at Texas Monthly where he won a National Magazine Award in 1980. He contributes to Salon.com and has written for such magazines as Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Esquire, and Slate. A graduate of Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, Lyons taught at the Universities of Massachusetts, Arkansas and Texas before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. A native of New Jersey, Lyons has lived in Arkansas with his wife Diane since 1972. The Lyons live on a cattle farm near Houston, Ark., with a half-dozen dogs, several cats, three horses, and a growing herd of Fleckvieh Simmental cows. Lyons has written several books including The Higher Illiteracy (University of Arkansas, 1988), Widow's Web (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Fools for Scandal (Franklin Square, 1996) as well as The Hunting Of The President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, which he co-authored with National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason.

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  1. Tom S. Brown November 4, 2011

    To make the social security fund monetarily stronger simply remove the collection cap and collect on 100% of all income just like the system does on the first $106,800. That’s what the young people should be fighter for not the demise of SS. If the feds don’t raid the till it should be good to go forever with that financial source.

  2. jussmartenuf November 4, 2011

    Sure, the rich will say they don’t use social security so they should not have to pay for it. I don’t have children in the schools either, but i help pay for education. I don’t use the charity hospital, but i pay taxes to support it. I do not go to the public library, but i pay taxes so others can, on and on.
    All of which brings up the issue of means testing. Someone who has a billion dollars should not qualify for SS. The estate tax should be modified upward and put back in place as it perpetuates aristocracies, such as Paris Hilton and others who can get by just fine on $500 million rather than $5 billion. Enough of the BS. Every Republican should be embarrassed and change their vote to reflect what is right for all.They would be the big winners again in the long run.

  3. AnneG.Arsenault November 4, 2011

    Everyone should know that Social Security is doing well, even though Bush borrowed from it whenever he could. But somehow the Republican lies about how SS is dying have become the truth to many people. Can’t someone do something to tell the truth to American people? I’m tired of the Republican scare tactics.

  4. donbela2002 November 4, 2011

    So Social Security is a Ponzi scheme—what would you call the efforts to “privatize” Social Secuyrity especially in light of the recent Wall Street meltdown? Thank god, Georgie Bush didn’t get his wish on that one. And for those Tea Party folks who collect Social Security who don’t want any government interference in their lives, they should disenroll themsleves and let their children and grandchildren pay their bills, and oh yes, pull the plug on them when they have to go to the hospital.

  5. Wib November 4, 2011

    Oh, Gene, don’t you know? Wall Street needs propping up for the elite, therefore our Social Security must be turned into 401ks to make it easier for the elite to steal. They are trying to do the same thing to the military retirement system. We, the many, fight to preserve the wealth of the few, but now there are getting to be too many of us and to keep the elite from having to pay more for we who have fought for them, they want to steal our retirement, too. Pay attention, Gene. When the elite take it by what ever means, it’s not stealing, it’s the market system.

  6. AlesterP November 4, 2011

    Leave Social Security alone. If the government under Bush had not borrowed from Social Security like it was his personal account, Social Security would be in the black. Republicans want to privatize Social Security so their wealthy friends can make more money of the working poor and middle class. We better beware and wise up. Republicans will lie about anything to get what they want and tell us it’s for our good.

  7. Peterhuang23@yahoo.com November 4, 2011

    1. If Bush’s hoping Social Security System to be privatized is popularly supported why it got into toilet like Quran at that time such as played in Gitimo?
    2. If the collection of SS tax has problem why let some payroll checks slipt away from SS tax system into other plan as Mass State Government does?
    3. If paying out SSC has problem why not stopping its yearly rate raise?
    4. The reward of paying SS tax by payroll check ratio is paid in its base of collecting SSC, why not make every SSC get equal amount of cash raised, just like Obama does, instead of cotinuing its rate raised by its check amount?
    5. So much difficulty to issue out that SSC? Why not reduce equal amount from paid check or stop some period of payment?
    6. The bemoan without illness to SSC’s paying out may not no motive hoping to get it into privatized so that some power class may get windfall from its investment but pushing its loss to the SSC receiver.
    7. If it is privatized it could be bankruptcy into zero just like GM stock.


  8. Set Precedence November 5, 2011

    I’ve grown older watching the Social Security System come under attack not only by the Republicans and the wealthy, but also by those who are supposed to be stewarding the system. I can say without a doubt that there is quite an elite system in place that absolutely punishes and neglects the disabled, surviving, and in particular S.S.I. recipients. I not only was born with a deformed hip and spine, but over the years became more and more disabled. I developed several serious diseases as a very young adult, and very young child. I am now tasked with trying to “proove” I had these disabilities and that they were substantial enough to declare me disabled under Social Security Rules, even though I cannot get medical records now from many of the doctors and medical professionals. They aren’t obligated to keep records after about seven years. So, although I worked on and off over the years, and now I look back and wonder how I did it, I certainly know they symptoms I experienced overall contributed to my working under duress. Therefore, I feel entitled to not only my S.S.D.I. that I qualified for when beginning my application process August 2002. Three applications, four lawyers(all of them crooks and fools for sure), and almost eight years later, I began receiving the sad amount of $674.00 per month. Although I recieve other assistance, and am grateful, I know noone can live on that amount without living in a commune environment, which is cause for anyone to wonder if we are turning into communists, or socialist republics. I will try to write a book about the marble floors and elite very well furnished and polished places and people administering our benefits. I worked for my benefits even though disabled (and severly I might add), yet I did not receive what I was and still am entitled to. I hope others begin to look into this travesty of a system. Even my father died fighting the V.A., who owed him $150,000.00 for his back benefits payments. He never saw that income, and neither did my stepmother, God Bless her. Our country is hoaring itself out to “Greed” if you ask me. I can’t explain it any other way.

  9. Set Precedence November 5, 2011

    Well, I just tried to send an addendum but it disappeared. I wanted to add that I was entitled to S.S.D.I. and had earned my quarters when my case began to drag on and I ended up with only S.S.I. which is for those who either didn’t earn any quarters, and have little or no income, and those who earned but lost their quarters due to the fact that Social Security only goes back ten years in your work credits. I got screwed royally. They are now trying to deny me as a widow, which I also qualified as when I applied in August of 2002. They dragged it out enough that I was lucky to get S.S.I. I will fight them as long as it takes, but I literally had to tell them that I wasn’t threatening but promising them that if they turned me down again, that I was going to publish all the medical records I had on U-tube, or U-zoom. It was after that they finally began to take me seriously. It’s a huge farce the way they tamper with the rules and people’s lives. Everyone faces God eventually as I always say. They will have to explain it to him I’m SURE.

  10. Mike T November 5, 2011

    The attempts to dumb down or cut Social Security reminds me of the lesson of greed told King David while being confronted by Nathan over David’s sin of murdering Uriah so that David may steal his wife Bathsheba (quoted below). The point is the wealthy and their corporations and banks are using their puppet legislators to attempt a taking from the poor, the aged, the retired and needy what little they have in order to pay for the consequences of their own greed and mismanagement.

    Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him:

    “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. “The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

    So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

    Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.’ ” “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” “Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'” So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

  11. rustacus21 November 6, 2011

    …would dictate, 1st & foremost, a line be drawn establishing the connection between Conservative “politicians” and their wealthy patrons. 2nd, the acceptance that tax-cuts maintain the incestuous cycle of money-laundering that keeps these same politicians in office, parroting that infernal lie of the comprehensive “benefits” provided by tax-cuts to “all” Americans is, in fact, a lie! As dictation, via their wealthy masters, what is lost w/in the mantra of “smaller” govt., as a result of lowered taxes, does actually have its benefits – to the wealthiest among us, exclusively! W/lowered taxes, the IRS must cut staff, meaning they lack the workforce to investigate wealthy tax delinquents & cheats, who regularly fudge their income numbers, so their income can be chronically understated, year after year, earning them a progressively higher “cut”, via their ubiquitous “investment” income, over each successive years tax-cuts remain in effect. Working class Americans, on the other hand, have no such “luxury” & are stuck in strict institutional obeyance, as their employer, via the workers Social Security number, accurately reports worker incomes. No accounting gimmicks to fix that complication. No politicians to petition for favorable tax law changes. No friends in media to advocate, via published articles or paid advertisements, declaring the fabulous “benefits” of stagnant working class wages, or being taxed at higher rate percentages than 99% of all American millionaires & billionaires! To top it off, due to layoffs, the tax base has shrank horrifically, to the point that Social Security is seriously threatened, due to shortfalls in Federal (& every other kind of) tax receipts. Consequently, we are “forced” to feel sorry for poor millionaires & billionaires, bcuz JUSTICE dictates they pay a fair share of their obligation for living in a civil society where their sacrifice is equally required in its upkeep! Citizens who have paid life-long, into Social Security, being unable to get the full benefit of their “investment” is an insult to their sacrifice, who have made it possible, this society of which we exist. The Social Contract enables this small measure of living in “…dignity, security & freedom…” in old age or surviving a crisis event. The rich? There’s no potential for such worries. They can afford to live insulated from any such concerns, to the point of being blind to the realities of the suffering caused by their selfishness and greed. It is the shame of America ultimately, that Conservative, Middle Class voters are the cause for their own suffering…

  12. jtxl November 6, 2011

    Finally, at least a mention of reagan who scammed the boomers into allowing him to gut ssi. I have clear memories of reagan on tv asking the boomers to let the government use this enormous surplus in ssi to build “star wars” he said we were about to be bombed by russia and needed this to be able to shoot down the missiles from space. Yes star wars, never was built, where did the money go? Sadly this generation believed him when he said all of the money would be returned long before the boomers would retire. I wonder if the boomer generation will not fight for their retirement savings then why should we? It wasn’t long before we began to learn about his illegal treasonous business of drugs for guns to the contra rebels. Sickening that the republicans hold up this traitor who is responsible for crack cocaine, as a hero, even a god…. It is US – ie: we the people… who allow ourselves to be misdirected so easily and to believe the lies told through media that we do not pay attention to who our real enemies are. Having been educated in the 70’s, I truely believed that by now we would have been able to see truth for what it is and that we would have a great responsibility to make the world a better place for all mankind, not just the ultra greedy. very sad times we are living in.

  13. JB November 7, 2011

    We, the people, who sacrifice their lives in the name of country and freedom, MUST fight with every last breath of life, to defeat the rich, elites, GOP, and Tea Party members who would take away Medicare and Social Security from us. The only way we can do that is to get out the Democratic and Liberal vote this upcoming election year.

  14. LeRoyHaynes November 7, 2011

    1-Raise the age for full benefits
    2-Raise the amount of income from which SS payments are withheld. What is it now, approximately $109,000. Should be at least 500,000
    3-Means testing, if you have annual retirement income of $300,000, you don’t need that little bit of SS income.
    4-Stop talking about SS not being there for coming generations!
    5-Demand SS support of our elected officials, regardless of party affiliations.


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