Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why Seniors Should Boycott Amazon

Seniors that are drawing Social Security (and anyone else who plans on eventually retiring with Social Security) should boycott Amazon.

Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, and he recently purchased The Washington Post for $250 million.

The editorial board at the Washington Post says that taxing someone $58,700 a year who is earning $1 million a year to pay an elderly Social Security retire an addititional $60 per month is "a massive transfer of income from upper-income Americans to the retired."

Other notable quotes from their article:

  • "Even the rich have finite resources."
  • "Why spend this gob of revenue on the elderly."
  • "The poverty rate among the elderly is 9.1 percent."
  • "Unchecked entitlement spending for the elderly crowds out spending on programs [such as] defense, research, infrastructure and law enforcement.

The following was recently posted at the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

Washington Post thinks it's always a good time to beat up seniors. It continually complains that overly generous Social Security and Medicare benefits are the country's biggest problem. It never lets facts stand in the way.

Its latest attack tells readers that money going to seniors somehow comes at the expense of money for our kids. This is a loony tune invention of the Fox on 15th Street gang. In the real world, countries that spend a larger share of their GDP on seniors also spend a larger share on their kids.

Then the piece tells us: "the poverty rate among the elderly is 9.1 percent, lower than the national rate of 15 percent — and much lower than the 21.8 percent rate among children."

That's nice, but the Census Bureau's supplemental poverty measure, which is a more comprehensive assessment of poverty, shows a far smaller gap with a poverty rate for seniors of 14.8 percent compared with a poverty rate of 18.0 percent for children.

However, the greatest absurdity of the Post's crusade is that its obsession with austerity and budget deficits is denying income to both the young and old, depriving the country of close to $1 trillion a year (@$3,000 per person) in lost output, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Senator Elizabeth Warren read that article in the Washington Post and she took to the Senate floor to say:

"The Washington Post ran an editorial mocking the idea of a looming retirement crisis. To make sure no one missed the point, they even put the words “retirement crisis” in quotation marks. No retirement crisis? Tell that to the millions of Americans who are facing retirement without a pension. Tell that to the millions of Americans who have nothing to fall back on except Social Security."

Let’s be clear: Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and has never contributed to the deficit. And, if we simply asked the very wealthy to pay the same rate as everyone else, we could increase Social Security benefits to nearly everyone instead of cutting benefits.

Right now, a handful of billionaires (like the Washington Post's/Amazon's Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $27 billion) are working to pit the young against the old. Why? Because they are terrified that Americans will band together to break the stranglehold the rich have on the politicians and the media.

We need to continue to speak truth to power and call for expanding Social Security benefits and asking millionaires and billionaires to pay the same rate as the rest of us.

Any proposed cuts to Social Security beneficiaries will also affect those who receive veterans' disability benefits, Veterans pensions and military retirement pay by using "chained-CPI" for cost-of-living-adjustments.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins a growing push that includes Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who argue that rather than switch to a "chained" consumer price index that cuts retiree benefits, the nation should adopt CPI-E, which measures the actual cost of living for the elderly and would raise benefits to meet actual needs. Chained CPI assumes that when prices rise, people switch to cheaper products....like switching to dog food from people food.

Senator Warren had blasted that approach in her Senate floor speech (The Retirement Crisis (PDF) -- November 18, 2013) by saying that retirement security has become a "crisis" in America in which two-thirds of seniors depend on Social Security for the majority of their income.

We know the top 1% wants to end Social Security, but now they want to steal ALL our pension plans too. A group of Republican senators has introduced a bill to slash retirement pensions for new federal employees, saying "the current system unfairly compensates public-sector workers as compared to their private-sector counterparts."

But guess what's happening to their private-sector counterparts? Hundreds of thousands of retired union workers are also facing pension cuts that could slash their monthly payments in half , or even more. The proposed cuts are part of a desperate effort to head off insolvency at some of the nation's biggest pension plans (not to mention the teachers too.)

Cutting ANY Social Security benefits --- especially when pensions are disappearing --- is just plain evil.

Senator Bernie Sanders and others want to lift the "cap" on income that is taxed for Social Security. Any amount over $113,700 a year that someone earns is not taxed at all for Social Security --- including all members of Congress, who earn $174,000 or more every year. (Now imagine how well the billionaires like Jeff Bezos do with only paying a very low capital gains tax rate on their annual incomes.)

But yet, rather than raising the cap or taxing capital gains a regular income, even President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have signaled a willingness to cut Social Security if doing so would be part of some grand bargain to trim deficits --- but Democrats across the board have ruled out such cuts in the current budget debate.


  1. Read my post:

    The Push to Expand, Not Cut, Social Security


  2. UPDATE:

    Elizabeth Warren's speech to EXPAND Social Security benefit on YOUTUBE.


  3. Hundreds of Amazon workers in Germany walk off the job in opposition to stressful working conditions and low pay.


  4. The Washington Post has a conflict of interest involving the billionaire owner Jeff Bezos because he remains the CEO and main stakeholder Amazon who has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.