Congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the federal government next Tuesday unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded. The truth is that they’re just warming up and some of their other ideas are even further “off the deep end,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told radio host Bill Press on Tuesday. Then in a Senate floor speech, Sanders detailed a Republican to-do list that ranges from abolishing Social Security, privatizing VA health care, getting rid of the EPA, junking the minimum wage and more. Those and other proposals, the senator said, are detailed in the Texas Republican Party platform.
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- Affordable Care Act
- Affordable Healthcare Act
- All In
- Barack Obama
- Bill Moyers
- Bush Tax Cuts
- Candidate for Senate
- Chris Hayes
- Corporate Profits
- David Stockman
- Ed Schultz
- House GOP
- John Boehner
- Koch Brothers
- Means Testing
- Medicare cuts
- Minimum Wage
- Reagan OMB Director
- Rep. Rush Holt
- Republican Party
- Republican extremism
- Robert Reich
- Ronald Reagan
- Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Silicon Valley
- Tea Partiers
- Texas Republican Party Platform
- United States
- VA healthcare
- Veteran's benefits
- Wall Street backers
- benefit cuts
- budget crisis
- chained CPI
- debt ceiling
- disabled veterans
- environmental protection agency
- extortionist demands escalate
- fiscal cliff
- former congressman
- furloughed federal worker
- government shutdown
- grand bargain
- ideological gangs
- ignorant politics
- income disparity
- new jersey
- public opinion
- record highs
- senator bernie sanders
- senior citizens
- super committee
- tax codes
- tax havens
- tent cities
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Thursday that House Speaker John Boehner is trying to “hoodwink” Americans, using a recent proposal on debt ceiling negotiations to force the Obama administration to make steep concessions to conservatives later.
“He’s attempting to hoodwink the American people with this short term solution, which is totally unsatisfactory,” Sanders said to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz.
Sanders was commenting on the proposal put forward by House Republicans on Thursday to lift the debt ceiling, seeing it as the gambit that will lead to more aggressive conservative demands.
“Obamacare is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these guys really want. It’s not just repealing Obamacare. They have an agenda put together by the Koch brothers,” Sanders said, referring to the recent New York Times expose that detailed how the Koch brothers and others plotted the shutdown “from the day after Obama was re-elected.”
On Day 10 of the government shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner again refused to do the one thing that could reopen government and put hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers back on the job. Boehner refused to let the House vote on the resolution that Democrats negotiated with him and that the Senate passed before the funds to run the government ran out at the end of the last budget year. Instead, the leader of the House Republicans on Thursday offered a six-week extension of the nation's borrowing limit in exchange for holding negotiations on Social Security and Medicare cuts. Much of the government would remain shuttered.
“The position of the Democrats has got to be to tell Boehner to end the government shutdown, have a vote and if you have a vote the government will reopen,” said Sanders.
Sanders also discussed the lingering shutdown on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.
H/T Egberto Willies
David Stockman, President Reagan’s director of Office of Management and Budget, gives a brutal assessment of today's GOP on "All In" with Chris Hayes. He say the Republicans are no longer a political party, and have become a coalition of ideological gangs.
Here, he breaks down those ideological gangs:
Chris Hayes: Now former Congressman David Stockman, Republican from Michigan. He was the director of the Office Of Management and Budget during the Reagan administration. He is the author of “The Great Deformation, The Corruption of Capitalism in America”. … You are someone who has kind of been in and out of the Conservative movement. You were a kind of a ‘purgee’ in certain ways. … How do you kind of understand this.
David Stockman: This isn’t surprising. The Republicans are no longer a political party. They are a gang, a coalition of ideological gangs. You have the neo cons, the tax cons, the social cons, and the just cons. … On the fundamental fiscal issues they don’t agree at all. It’s totally fractured. The neo cons want a bigger defense budget. We have a 650 billion dollar war machine. They did not get the memo that the cold war ended over 25 years ago. There are a few thousand terrorists left. You don’t need a war machine that big. By the way, when Clinton left the White House it was 400 billion dollars in today’s dollars. So they argue we can’t do sequester. We ought to be cutting much more. So that divides the party. Then you have the tax cons who still believe in the magic napkin. Just grow your way out of it. We’ve had 30 years to prove you can’t. … We have the social cons, the social issue people who don’t care. An then all the Republicans who have been talking about big spending who won’t stand up and take on social security means testing. Not cutting the people who need it. …
Chris Hayes: I would love nothing more -- as someone who does not want to see means testing of social security -- but I would love nothing than the Republican Party to take your advice and come out for means testing for Social Security.
It wouldn't be surprising at all to see the party of "cons" come out for means testing Social Security, but I don't share Hayes' hopes for having it become part of anyone's party platform.
Means-testing Social Security and Medicare is a cynical way to weaken and destroy benefits for middle-income working people. Lynn Stuart Parramore at Alternet wrote an excellent piece on means testing earlier this year, and described it as "...a counterproductive, harmful idea, but one that well-intentioned liberals often get snookered into embracing."
Now is the time to lance the boil of Republican extremism once and for all. Since Barack Obama became president, the extremists who have taken over the Republican Party have escalated their demands every time he’s caved, using the entire government…
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt has launched the third in his series of whiteboard videos making the case for bold progressive ideas. In the new video, “Social Security,” Holt argues that millionaires and billionaires should pay the same percent of their income to Social Security as middle-class workers.
“Ordinary people contribute about 6 percent of their paycheck to Social Security,” Holt explains in the video, “but someone earning a million dollars pays less than 1 percent. That's because Congress has given millionaires and billionaires a free pass: an absolute cap on their social security taxes."
Holt proposes asking the wealthy to pay the same tax rate into Social Security as the middle class. “That would save Social Security, ” Holt says, “no need to raise the retirement age or cut benefits. This isn't rocket science; it isn't even fifth grade math."
BTW, Rep. Holt is also running for the U.S. Senate in NJ, competing with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the favorite.
I'm certainly no fan of Ronald Reagan and the “Trickle-Down” economics he popularized, but even he was straightforward when it came to this.
At the first Reagan-Mondale debate in 1984, Republican Ronald Reagan set the record straight about Social Security:
"Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once in for all…Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security trust fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing the budget or erasing or lowering the deficit."
Are you listening, President Obama?
Let the President know that you don't want Social Security on the cutting block:
The unprecedented level of economic inequality in America is undeniable. In an extended essay, Bill Moyers shares examples of the striking extremes of wealth and poverty across the country, including a video report on California’s Silicon Valley. There, Facebook, Google, and Apple are minting millionaires, while the area’s homeless -- who’ve grown 20 percent in the last two years -- are living in tent cities at their virtual doorsteps.
“A petty, narcissistic, pridefully ignorant politics has come to dominate and paralyze our government,” says Bill, “while millions of people keep falling through the gaping hole that has turned us into the United States of Inequality.”
Full transcript below the fold.
Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joined a large coalition of groups representing organized labor, seniors, veterans, women and progressives in delivering over 2 million petition signatures to the White House demanding no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and disabled veterans' benefits.
In his speech, Bernie said:
“Our job in the coming weeks and months… is to rally tens of millions of people who understand that in this country the middle class (and) working families are hurting, and we’re not going to balance the budget on their backs.”
“Anybody in the Congress who believes in cutting these … benefits … may well not be returning to Washington.”
President Obama's budget, released Wednesday, would cut benefits for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans through a so-called "chained consumer price index"(Chained CPI). This proposed change in how cost of living adjustments are calculated would mean that if you're 65 years old today, you would lose more than $650 a year when you reach 75 and more than $1,000 a year when you reach 85.
The proposed change would also affect more than 3.2 million veterans receiving disability benefits. Veterans who started receiving disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children would also be cut.
If you haven't yet done so, contact your members of Congress and tell them not to touch Social Security.
The Chained CPI, deceptively portrayed as a reasonable cost of living adjustment, is a cut to Social Security that would hurt seniors.
Watch Robert Reich explain why Chained CPI is so stingy in this video, and then sign his SignOn.org petition to President Obama at http://www.signon.org/sign/mr-president-please-do-1/.
Those of us who aren't wealthy have already sacrificed enough!
We should thank our lucky stars that we have Bernie Sanders in the Senate. The Senate on Friday evening voted to block cuts in benefits for Social Security and disabled veterans.
The amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put the Senate on record against changing how cost-of-living increases are calculated in a way that would result in significant cuts.
“The time has come for the Senate to send a very loud and clear message to the American people: We will not balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans who have lost their arms, their legs and their eyesight defending our country. We will not balance the budget on the backs of the men and women who have already sacrificed for us in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor on the widows who have lost their husbands in Iraq and Afghanistan defending our country,” Sanders said.
The amendment opposed switching from the current method of measuring inflation to a so-called chained consumer price index. President Barack Obama favors a chained CPI as part of what the White House calls a “grand bargain” that Obama hopes to reach with congressional Republicans.
The proposed change would affect more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children who have lost a loved one in battle also would be cut. Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits already average less than $17,000 a year.
More than 55 million retirees, widows, orphans and disabled Americans receiving Social Security also would be affected by the switch to a chained CPI. That figure includes 9 million veterans with an average yearly benefit of about $15,500. A veteran with average earnings retiring at age 65 would get nearly a $600 benefit cut at age 75 and a $1,000 cut at age 85. By age 95, when Social Security benefits are probably needed the most, that veteran would face a cut of $1,400 – a reduction of 9.2 percent.
A chained CPI would cut Social Security benefits for average senior citizens who are 65 by more than $650 a year by the time they are 75 years old, and by more than $1,000 once they reach 85.