Friday, October 16, 2015

No cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients... as the richest 400 Americans keeping add tens of billions of dollars to their wealth

Above: President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. Many years later, the president argued for the right of Americans to be free "from the economic fears of old age." Today, many Republicans want to privatize Social Security, handing our retirement security over to big financial institutions - institutions that have engaged in rigging the world's currency, rigging interest rates, illegally foreclosing on active duty soldiers, insider trading, illegal tax evasion, mortgage & securities fraud, accounting fraud, money laundering, and more. Do you feel confident that the big banks will handle your retirement security in an ethical way? (See, e.g., "$128 Billion in Bank Fines, in 1 Chart," Huffington Post, August 8, 2014). Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Above: Eleanor Roosevelt congratulates Ellen Woodward on her appointment to the Social Security Board, 1938. Woodward was also an administrator in the WPA, in charge of the Division of Women's and Professional Projects. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Retirees suffer, but crime pays: 

The Social Security Administration recently announced that there will be no cost-of-living increase, despite the rising cost of many goods and services. Meanwhile, the 400 richest Americans keep adding tens of billions of dollars to their already bloated wealth. And the big financial institutions that engaged in wide-scale fraud and white collar crime--and were bailed out by our corporate-bought government--continue to rake in profits and, no doubt, continue to abuse people around the world. (Why wouldn't they? They've already seen how profitable it is, and they know they'll get another public money bailout if things go sour.)

The Republican role, and Hillary Clinton's campaign cash:

As if all this were not bad enough, Republican "leaders" openly promote illegal tax evasion by the super-wealthy, and are working hard to eliminate the estate tax for the richest Americans. Why are they trying to reduce government revenue when senior citizens (and many others) need help? Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is hauling in huge amounts of Wall Street cash and "Hesitates on Expanding Social Security."

How should we fund Social Security?

When Social Security was created, the idea was that if it was financed by the workers themselves, it would not be viewed as "wealth redistribution," and thus not as vulnerable to political attack. This philosophy was developed at a time when the economy was improving (e.g., higher GDP and lower unemployment) and economic inequality was dropping. But today, as the super-wealthy suck the lifeblood out of the working class, impoverish millions of children, and pay politicians to disproportionately tax the rest of us, it might be time to re-think the funding sources & formulas for Social Security.

An American billionaire says American-style capitalism is a-ok:

Ken Langone, the Home Depot billionaire who has criticized the Pope's warnings about economic inequality, thinks the Pope is skeptical about capitalism because the Pope comes from Argentina where, Langone says, they have "crony capitalism" - which is different from "how we are in America." But the fact that there will be no cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients while a few super-wealthy families keep gobbling up more and more of our nation's wealth--and keep paying politicians to maintain the status quo--proves that America is very much a crony capitalist nation. And as we cast our votes for Republicans, and for Hillary Clinton, it shows that we're absolutely unwilling to change it - or, perhaps, that we're completely oblivious to our victimization.

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