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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters May 26, 2016

4/6/2013 1:01:00 PM
Letter: Disappointing posture from President Obama


Recently, the White House announced that President Obama would propose legislation that cuts benefits for Social Security beneficiaries.

This will be accomplished by changing the Consumer Price Index [CPI] currently used to determine annual Cost Of Living Adjustments [COLAS] for SS recipients to a “chained CPI.”

The chained CPI is something that neoconservatives have been working towards as a further advancement in their effort to privatize Social Security with the ultimate goal of the complete eradication of the program.

The chained CPI will significantly reduce the amount of the COLA and the manner in which it is determined.

For an excellent discussion/explanation of “chained CPI,” go to www.aarp.org. The effect of the reductions in COLA are cumulative.

This represents the first time in American history that a Democratic POTUS has used Social Security as a bargaining chip in negotiations with GOP neoconservatives. It represents a betrayal of democratic support for Social Security that has endured for over 75 years.

The current CPI is woefully inadequate and does not represent, in real economic terms, a full COLA reflective of the actual cost of living adjustment. These COLAS are needed to keep pace with rising costs of living even though they are insufficient to meet the real increased cost of living for seniors.

I know seniors on Social Security whose entire COLA for 2013 was completely wiped out by rental increases imposed upon them by landlords. Many actually had less income after their rental increase than they had prior to receipt of their COLA.

This is particularly disturbing since US Senator Bernie Sanders [I] Vermont introduced a bill into the US Senate in 2011 that calls for the removal of the cap on FICA taxation [currently capped at $108.600.00 of annual earned income] under Social Security.

By removing the cap on FICA taxation and taxing capital gains and dividend income under FICA just like labor income, social security would be solvent for infinity.

Moreover, rather than anticipated cuts to SS, the monthly minimum payment that 18 million Senior Americans currently rely upon for their entire retirement income [12 million of them women], could be raised above the federal poverty limit providing economic security to everyone of those 18 million senior citizens. Such increases would provide discretionary income to seniors that would stimulate the economy, too.

It is disturbing to discover that in his second term in office, when he no longer must face election, President Obama promotes enactment of a policy that will undermine Social Security rather than stabilize it.

There is no reason to support such a change in the CPI. Call your US Senators and demand that they bring Senator Sander’s bill to the floor of the US Senate for a vote.

I am confident that if the Sanders bill gets a vote in the US Senate, it will pass with overwhelming bi-partisan support. If not, the failure to do so will rest squarely upon those GOP US Senators who refuse to support such a beneficial change as removing the cap on FICA taxation.

John A. Bond


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Article comment by: WOW Mr. Bond

WOW! For a liberal democrat to bag on his master something must be very wrong! Or is it he finally woke up to the fact he'd been lied to and for the first time see's Obummer for what he really is, a LIAR! Don't feel bad Mr. Bond, I've felt abused by this potus for over 5 years now and I'm happy you finally see thru his BS.

Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013
Article comment by: Politics One O One

This proposal was put into the White House budget proposal to encourage the GOP lawmakers to view the president as a compromiser. Obama can say, "I propose to reduce spending on something dear to liberal Democrats so you conservative Republicans can propose reducing spending on something dear to you."

But the the president's budget proposal is typically not the final budget. The actual, final budget must come from Congress, and be signed (or vetoed) by the president.

Now, the president knows that 66% of all Republican, Democrat and Independent seniors are strongly against this proposal. If the Republican Congress keeps this item in the actual budget, they will be held half responsible for it and pay half the political price.

If they reject the proposal because of its lack of popularity at home, they will need to propose cuts somewhere else (or God forbid, tax increases).

Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013
Article comment by: Nux Man

Wait a second,......... Barry does another "lets fudge the math" tactic in order to force even more taxation for a system thats adding hundreds a day to it's rolls, and if we don't help him do it then we blame the republicans for it's failure?
Looks like someone might be suffering from some messianic withdrawl Inglorious Barry isn't the saviour he was advertised so lets find something, or someone, else to blame,.......... it just couldn't be that he's being deceptive (again), oh no, it's those evil (insert current hate target here - repubs, tea-party, etc).

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Henry

John! you say: "social security would be solvent
for infinity."

Where is your numbers for this notion And how
long will infinity be?

And we seem to fault the GOP for the problems
we see before us...And some GOP fault us Dems for the same problems....the faults has
been identified...And the problems have been
also identified...The next step should be easy,
lets fix the problems.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Dear John

WHAT? WHAT? You oppose YOUR Supreme Leader? I think, and I know you will correct me if I'm wrong, this is only the second time you disagree with your Messiah. Waking up finally?

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Not the only one disappointed

John Bond isn't the only one disappointed, but his reasoning reflects his usual liberal disconnect from reality.

Many of us once had great hopes for Barack Obama, but his divisiveness, lack of leadership, class warfare, cynicism that puts politics ahead of country, Chicago-style cronyism, and repeated poor choices have convinced me the country would've been far better off if the Dems had nominated Hillary instead.

Unfortunately for us all, the President's ideas for the economy are so out of whack that every budget he has proposed has been unanimously rejected by congress. His budget ideas are so toxic not even one Democrat would vote for them.

But Mr. Bond has no issue with that however. In John Bond's case, he is motivated only by the irresponsible socialistic expansion of the entitlement state from cradle to grave. Matters not if the economy gets hammered in so doing.

Matters not to Democratic Socialists like Mr. Bond that the real rate of labor participation is up around 40+%, which hasn't been seen since the depths of the abysmal Carter era.

Matters not to Mr. Bond that under the Democrat's economic policies the national poverty rate is now over 40%, shameful in the world's richest country.

Bond has no problem with tens of millions being dependent on government payouts instead of being gainfully employed.

That the country simply cannot afford these vast entitlements is completely over Mr. Bond's head. It is a non-factor to him.

But if John Bond really wants to help seniors, he should act locally. That's because the City of Cottonwood is one of the few Arizona municipalities that taxes rental housing.

This regressive tax hurts most the people who often have the the hardest time making ends meet each month.

Bond should work to get the city to reduce the crushing tax burden Cottonwood imposes on its citizens, which is now at over 10% combined sales tax rate.

The City already takes in far more money than it can reasonably spend, as evidenced by the $35 million it has banked, which is more than twice it's average annual budget.

By repealing the regressive 3% rental tax, many seniors and the working poor in Cottonwood could see a significant increase in disposable income.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: M J

HEY! you voted for him! so don't blame me!
p.s. you ain't seen nothing yet from this group of clowns!

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Lee Cali

Thank you Mr. Bond for bringing this important issue to our attention.

The numbers to call are Sen. McCain 202 224 2235 or 602-952-2410 and Sen. Jeff Flake at 202 -224- 4521 or 602- 840- 1891.

Tell them in simple terms, that the chained CPI will hurt seniors in particular and they should bring to the floor Bernie Sanders' bill to remove the cap on FICA taxes.

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: F. Rustratingly Redux

The Social Security portion of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (AKA payroll tax) is the premium for government-managed old age income insurance. The monthly amount you receive when you take benefits depends on what you paid in while you were working, with some progressivity to benefit low income workers.

The income cap is the maximum amount of income that is insured. If the income cap were removed with no other changes, working folks with income above the cap would receive higher monthly benefits because all of their income would be insured. Total benefits would be higher because higher income folks tend to live longer. Taxing dividends and capital gains would give even more benefits to high earners.

Given that the existing SS trust fund consists of nothing but IOUs from the general fund, what do you think would happen to the additional revenue in the short term? And, in the long term, do you really want to insure more of the rich folks' income at the expense of the poor?

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