Thursday, January 22, 2015

David Cay Johnston: Social Security Works

Talking Points Memo posted that “The 80-Year Conservative War on Social Security Is Back for More,” noting that conservatives have virulently opposed Social Security since its inception. President Reagan had signed a bill that slowly increased the retirement age, while also boosting payroll tax rates, and opening the door for failed privatization efforts by President George W. Bush.

Now, with a Republican majority in Congress, Social Security is facing further attacks.

A week after the House voted on a rule that could force a manufactured crisis in the disability program in late 2016, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) told a conservative audience at the Heritage Foundation that he wanted his committee to tackle Social Security.

As the new House Budget Committee chair, Price mentioned means-testing and increasing the eligibility age as possibilities. He also suggested that privatizing Social Security is a possibility.

Price also pressed the case for a full replacement bill for Obamacare (His own bill went nowhere).


Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson have written a book called Social Security Works! — which explains why NOW is the time to expand Social Security.

Simply put, the book makes the case that Social Security is the program that can help stop the collapse of the middle class, lessen the pressure that's been squeezing families from all directions, and help end the upward redistribution of wealth that has resulted in perilous levels of inequality.

A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system — people who know that Social Security will not “go broke” and does not add a penny to the national debt.

Social Security Works! offers a powerful antidote to the three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn’t.

From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, we all have a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. 

All Americans deserve to have dignified retirement years, as well as an umbrella to protect them and their families in the event of a disability or premature death. 

Sure to be a game-changer, Social Security Works! cogently presents the issues and sets forth both an agenda and a political strategy that will benefit us all.

Below are excepts from the FORWARD of the book Social Security Works!, that was written by David Cay Johnston:

Forward by David Cay Johnston


  1. AARP FINALLY mentioned the GOP rule change to defund disability in their newsletter today .... BUT ...they didn’t use that as their headline story ...AND.... they used the words “Congress” and “House”, but never mentioned “Republicans” or “GOP”.

    Also notice: Their newsletter first mentions this today (Jan.29) but the ARRP story they link to (buried on their website and was never on their front page) was dated Jan. 7 --- so why did AARP wait so long to mention this in their newsletter?

    Also notice: In the “old AARP story” that the AARP newsletter links to, there’s also just the mention of “Congress” and the “House”, but no blame was laid on the “Republicans” or the “GOP” – so how would AARP members (and especially Republican voters) know who is undermining their disability?

    Other organizations, such as The Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works (and others) came out about this HEADLINE STORY the very next day in their newsletters (and mentioned “REPUBLICANS” or “GOP”). Did AARP only belatedly and “casually” mention this in today’s newsletter because I emailed them last week to complain?

    This makes me very suspicious of AARP – and it’s possibly because of AARP’s association with insurance companies that they REFUSE to squarely lay the blame on the GOP (or the Republicans.)

    Somebody that’s famous should write a story about this and call AARP out --- BECAUSE --- disabled Republican voters should know the truth as to really watching their back.

  2. Senator Paul’s latest attack on Social Security disability was only the latest salvo in a decades-long attempt by the Republicans to defund, destroy or privatize our Social Security system. But Paul’s attack on Social Security and disabled Americans wasn’t only heartless and offensive, it was also untrue.

    According to a report released in November by the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General, fraudulent Social Security Disability Insurance claims are exceedingly rare. Dean Baker wrote a great piece, and says fraud accounts for just 0.02% of all payments. He also notes:

    "It is also important to note that there are undoubtedly people who should be getting disability who have been wrongfully denied benefit. We could have workers dying of cancer or unable to work due a heart attack or stroke or other disability who an a judge somehow decided was not eligible. If we put more pressure on judges to turn down claims then there will be more people improperly denied benefits."

    And as Social Security Works Executive Director Alex Lawson noted recently, “America has one of the strictest disability standards in the developed world.”

    This wasn’t the first time Senator Paul has attacked Americans living with disabilities. In a 2010 interview, Senator Rand Paul said he supports abolishing the Americans with Disabilities Act – the landmark 1990 legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability – because it isn’t fair to business owners.