The Strengthen Social Security Campaign

Social Security is once again under attack.
Time after time Social Security has come under attack. Do you remember the Bush “privatization” campaign a few years ago? Each time the attack uses a different myth, repeated over and over. Then, in between attacks, the myths continue circulating. This time they’re trying to make people think that Social Security contributes to the budget deficit. It doesn’t. They say this because so many people are worried about budget deficits. If polling showed that people were worried that their arms are going to turn into green cheese, they would be repeating and repeating that Social Security is the reason your arms are turning into green cheese. Sheesh!
In response to the latest attack a coalition of groups has formed to fight back and protect Social Security, demanding that Congress not make any benefit cuts. The coalition represents 30 million members, who are asked to remind elected officials that Social Security remains the “third rail” of American politics and that any sort of benefit cuts are opposed by wide majorities, from liberals to Tea Partiers.
The coalition is saying Strengthen Social Security, Don’t Cut It. Their website is strengthensocialsecurity.org and its blog is at strengthensocialsecurity.org/blog.
Most important, its petition is available to sign here.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility is trying to cut Social Security benefits. We can’t let that happen.
Can you sign our urgent petition to the Commission?
Social Security belongs to the people who have worked hard all their lives and contributed to it. Social Security is a promise that must not be broken. If you pay in, then you earn the right to benefits for yourself, your spouse and your dependent children when you retire, experience a severe disability, or die.
We need to strengthen Social Security, not cut it. That is why I oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits, including increasing the retirement age. I also oppose any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part.

Meet Billy Bankster! Please watch this video from the coalition:

Here are videos from the launch event. First is Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW):

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Alan Greenspan And Things Forgotten

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Ah, the things we forget.
This was then: Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan greenlighted the Bush tax cuts, saying that Clinton was paying down the country’s debt too fast as a result of modest taxes on the wealthy. So the Bush tax cuts for the rich passed, which immediately brought us the huge, huge deficits. Bush called the deficits “Incredibly positive news” because they would force a debt crisis.
In the 80’s Alan Greenspan’s Social Security Commission raised taxes and cut benefits on working people, providing a huge amount of revenue which was then handed out as tax cuts for the rich. And now, rather than pay back that money borrowed from Social Security from where it went, our elites are insisting that Social Security must be cut back, we must all work until 70, etc.
Decades earlier Alan Greenspan was smack in the center of the Ayn Rand* cult that called the non-wealthy “parasites,”

Mr. Greenspan had married a member of Rand’s inner circle, known as the Collective, that met every Saturday night in her New York apartment. . . . Mr. Greenspan wrote: “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”

This is now: Greenspan Calls for Congress to Let All Bush Tax Cuts Expire

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose backing of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the reductions to expire at the end of this year. “They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” citing a need for the tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit.

And there was his “I was wrong” testimony,

… a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.
“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Alan Greenspan is in his 80s. He forgets — or at least wants us to forget. Don’t let anyone forget.
The debt crisis was the plan, right there for everyone to see:

  • Step 1: Cut taxes to “cut the allowance” of government so that it can’t function on the side of We, the People. Intentionally force the government into greater and greater debt.
  • Step 2: Use the debt as a reason to cut the things government does for We, the People. When the resulting deficits pile up scare people that the government is “going bankrupt” so they’ll let you sell off the people’s assets and “privatize” the functions of government. Of course, insist that putting taxes back where they were will “harm the economy.”

So don’t forget.

* One more thing not to forget. I mentioned Ayn Rand. Rand’s work is very popular among conservatives now. It forms a core justification for their “on your own” philosophy praising the wealthy and discarding the rest. So it is useful to explore the formation and core of this philosophy. Early in her writings Rand became fascinated with a serial killer named William Hickman. Rand wrote that the serial killer was an “ideal man,” a superior form of human because he didn’t let society impose their morals on him. He didn’t worry about what others thought and just did as he pleased.
Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” Rand wrote. Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.'” She considered these to be good qualities! And so does her cult.
This is the foundation of the modern “tea party” conservative thinking. So when you look at the modern capitalism that has grown up around Rand’s philosophy and the big corporations that are chewing up the planet to enrich a very few at the expense of the rest of us, and think it seems sort of psychopathic, maybe that’s because it literally is.
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Deficits: Get The Money From Where The Money Went

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
McClatchy news story, No full Social Security benefits until age 70?

Young Americans might not get full Social Security retirement benefits until they reach age 70 if some trial balloons that prominent lawmakers of both parties are floating become law.

Don’t fall for it. Social Security did not contribute to the deficits or debt, it ran a huge surplus. That surplus was supposed to be set aside. Instead it was handed out to the very wealthy as tax cuts. Now the country needs to start paying it back to the elderly, and to prevent us from getting it back from where it went — the wealthy few — they’re instead talking about making people wait until age 70 to retire, cutting benefits, etc.
Every one of us knows that the budget deficits come from the tax cuts and military spending increases of recent decades. But every one of us also knows that the beneficiaries of those tax cuts and military spending use their wealth and power to corrupt the political system, preventing us from restoring sanity to our governance.
Before the tax cuts on the top rates and military spending increases we didn’t have these deficit/debt problems, we maintained our infrastructure, provided educations, we even spent enough on our military to oppose the Soviet Union globally. The country worked better then. When top tax rates were cut from 90% the result was immediately deficits, then under Reagan came the really big cuts that led to the “structural” deficits and the huge debt increases and resulting interest load.
Since those tax cuts we have seen so many transformations for the worse. The wealthy now dominate every single part of our politics. Instead of having to build a fortune over time people can now reap a windfall from quick buck schemes — so that is what people focus on. When upper income was taxed at a high rate people built equity over time that, when sold, was taxed at only half that rate, and people became wealthy. When it took time to build a fortune companies had long-term strategies that depended on serving customers, solid surrounding communities with solid infrastructure, supply chains, experienced workers, etc. Now you can make your fortune selling off those things and pocketing the proceeds.
Those tax cuts were the direct cause of the deficit and debt problem. The military increases are a second cause of the problem. Social Security was never a cause of the problem. The clear way to fix the problem is to restore those tax rates and cut the military budget to pre-Cold War levels. The Soviet Union is long gone.
So what do we do about it?
What can we do about this? Learn the facts. This is a strategic assault on Social Security that has been underway for a long time.
Spread the word. Tell everyone that Social Security did not contribute to the deficit, tax cuts for the wealthy and military spending are the reason we have these deficits and raising taxes at the top and cutting military spending will do much more than cutting Social Security to help solve the problem.
Start calling members of Congress and telling them we will not tolerate Social Security cuts. Tell everyone you know, family members, friends and everyone else to call.
Join Social Security Works.
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Deficit Commission Co-Chair: Social Security T-Bills Have “Been Used”


It’s astonishing, watch the video to see Alan Simpson, Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (“Deficit Commission”) explain that buyers of US T-Bills don’t necessarily need to get paid back because the money has “been used”!
Background: In the 1980s the Social Security payroll tax was increased, supposedly to set aside funds to cover the retirement of the post-WWII baby-boomer generation. But this extra revenue was instead used to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. (Yes, that’s right, they taxed working people and used the money to cut taxes for the rich.) So now that the boomers are retiring the money is needed. They want those bonds paid back now to cover Social Security payments.
The Commission: Now there is the Deficit Commission looking into how to raise money to cover what the government handed out as tax cuts to the rich. Rather than get the money from where the money went, the plutocrats are instead trying to convince people that it would make more sense to just cut Social Security instead, so they don’t have to pay it back. The commission is meeting in secret, preparing to recommend cutting Social Security benefits. Hence the nickname for the Commission: “Catfood Commission,” because cutting Social Security would force as many as 1.5 million old people into poverty and eating cat food for dinner because it costs less.
After Bush and Wall Street destroyed the economy older people were laid off in waves (because they’re past a certain age), can’t get jobs (because they’re old), now have been denied extended unemployment and denied COBRA subsidies. Now they’re called “lazy”. They’re threatened with the humiliation of drug tests. And finanlly, the Catfood Commission, meeting in secret, threatens any retirement security they have. Digby calls it “simple cruelty.” And, as sTiVo pointed out in a comment at Open Left yesterday,

Since raising the retirement age is now on the table as a solution to the non-problem of Social Security, it is VITAL to raise this issue. WHAT JOBS????

Here is a simple idea for the deficit commission: everyone knows — every one of us knows — that the deficit was caused by tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military spending. So to fix the deficit … Duh? Can we connect the dots?
Connect the dots:But connecting those dots between the obvious causes of the deficit and the way to fix the deficit is beyond the mental abilities of people in “The Village.”
The Simpson Video: Alex Lawson of of Social Security Works confronted Simpson leaving one of the secret meetings Thursday with a video camera and asked some questions about this. The video is above, transcript excerpts below: (h/t Jane Hamsher)
LAWSON: But what about the $180 billion in surplus that it brings in every year?
SIMPSON: There is no surplus in there. It’s a bunch of IOUs. … It’s 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been set up.
LAWSON: Two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy.
Jane Hamsher writes,

Simpson starts from the premise that the Treasury will default on the bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund, because all the best people apparently know that it’s better to default on America’s senior citizens and plunge them into poverty than it is to default on, say, the Chinese.
. . . The commission is also looking into cutting Medicare benefits, because the deal guaranteeing no-bid Medicare contracts to the pharmaceutical industry by both Republicans and Democrats can’t possibly be abrogated. The committee claims it’s independent, but it’s not THAT independent. So, old people, too bad for you.

This is really important. They increased the Social Security tax on working people, gave the money out as tax cuts for the wealthy, created deficits on purpose to defund government, created a huge debt mess, and now the next stage of this plan is to gut social programs.
This is what the Deficit Commission is about. Tax cuts for the rich and military spending caused the borrowing and raising taxes on the rich can stop it. But the plan was to force a perception of a debt emergency to stampede people into accepting a dismantling of government that works for We, the People, and provides for us, empowers us and protects us. This is the confrontation of plutocracy vs democracy. We can’t let them get away with it.
What can you do? Visit Social Security Works, get on their mailing list or follow them on Twitter.
Get mad.
And get informed.
This post originated at Open Left.

The Odd Logic Of Deficit-Cutting Arguments

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of CAF’s ongoing “Virtual Summit on Fiscal and Economic Responsibility for People Who Did Not Wreck The Economy.” I am a Fellow with CAF.
Have you noticed that there is a very odd logic around the DC Beltway deficit-cutting frenzy? Here is the basic argument:
A) Things worked great back when taxes on the rich were high. We built up the infrastructure that made us prosperous, and we built up a middle class. We didn’t have budget deficits. There were many other benefits to the economy, society and our democracy. They were America’s golden years.
B) Then we cut tax rates for the rich and massively increased military spending. Since then — and because we did those things — the budget and the economy have gone to pot. We had to cut education, stop maintaining the infrastructure, and cut all kinds of things that benefit regular people and make the economy grow. Wealth has concentrated at the very top, and regular people are falling further and further behind. The budget cuts made us “eat the seed corn” and now the country has lost its competitive edge in the world’s economy.
You would think people would be able to connect the obvious dots and come to the obvious conclusion about how to fix the problem. But instead the odd logic of the deficit cutters leads them to the strangest of strange conclusions about how to fix the problem:
C) Therefore we have to cut spending even more on things that benefit regular people and grow the economy (and especially on Social Security for the elderly). But we must not touch spending on the military even though we spend more than all other countries on earth combined, and military spending hurts the economy. Raising taxes on the rich back where they were before cutting them started all the trouble is flat-out off the table.
But … but … but …
As Homer Simpson would say, “D’oh!”
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Attacking Deficits

This post originally appeared at Open Left.
Yesterday was the President’s Deficit Commission and today is the Peterson summit. The very serious people (who didn’t know there was a housing bubble) are telling us that our own government providing benefits to our people is baaaad and very unserious. (Military spending? What’s that?)
As Paul mentioned here yesterday in a GREAT post, Campaign for America’s Future is hosting a “Virtual Summit On Economic & Fiscal Responsibility (For People Who Did Not Wreck The Economy)“. Mike Lux has pitched in there as well. Lots of great stuff.
So what about that deficit, and the Social Security crisis? Always, always keep in mind that the whole bruhaha over Social Security comes out of a strategic plan to get rid of it. As Paul pointed out in his post and as I have written about,

This strategy goes back to a larger Wall Street effort to get rid of Social Security. A 1983 Cato Institute Journal document, “Achieving a Leninist Strategy” by Stuart Butler of Cato and Peter Germanis of Heritage lays it out for us. The document is still available at Cato, and select quotes are available at Plotting Privatization? from Z Magazine. …
[quotes from the Cato strategy document]
… Every time you hear that “Social Security is going broke” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point. Every time you hear that “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point. Every time you hear that “Social Security won’t be there for me anyway” ” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point.
Don’t fall for it. If they can gut Social Security they stand to make a lot of money but you stand to lose your retirement.

AND never forget that the deficit was also manufactured on purpose, to defund government’s ability to regulate business and protect citizens, and to force a shrinking of what the corporate right calls “big government.” Government is We, the People making the decisions for ourselves, “big government” is We, the People making more decisions for ourselves. The only alternative is the wealthy and big corporations making the decisions for us instead. Don’t fall for it. We didn’t have deficits until we cut taxes on the rich.

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Tax Tricks: Is Corporate Income Taxed Twice?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Conservatives claim that income from corporate dividends is “taxed twice” — first when the corporation pays its taxes (if it does pay taxes), and then when the recipient of dividends pays taxes on that income.
They don’t claim, however, that when you pay your plumber the plumber shouldn’t have to pay taxes because you already paid taxes on your income. That’s different, I guess, because you and your plumber both have to work. Income from working has no such considerations of favor.
This “taxed twice” argument was used by George W. Bush as a reason to reduce the tax rates on income received from corporate dividends. (He also said that taxing dividends is a tax on retired people. Heh.) This “taxing twice” is unfair, they say, even though owners of corporations receive many special advantages under our laws. One such advantage is limited liability, meaning that the owners are not liable to pay the company’s debts, fines if the company violates rules or laws or court judgments if the company harms anyone. But Congress fell for it, possibly because of the amazing power of alliteration, and reduced taxes on the income from corporate dividends to no more than 15%. Fortunately this tax cut — which mostly applies to the very rich — expires soon.
Meanwhile the income that regular people receive from actually working is taxed at the rate of regular old income taxes. That’s right, income from working is taxed at a higher rate than income from not working, with conservatives arguing that it shouldn’t be taxed at all! In fact, in some areas they have completely succeeded; if your income comes from inheriting money in 2010 you won’t pay any income tax at all!
Another huge tax break that is mostly just for rich people is the capital gains tax rate. The claim is that income that comes from selling an investment (rather than from working) should have a vastly lower rate as an incentive to invest. That rate currently tops out at 15%. There is no explanation why 15% is optimal for providing such an incentive, and not some other rate lower than regular income taxes, like maybe 5% less than your regular income tax. Apparently the reasoning is that only getting a 5% tax break if you make a fortune from an investment isn’t enough to make the investment worthwhile. Of course potential huge profits from a successful investment are not sufficient reason to invest so the rich must be bribed further to open their wallets. (I guess the rich really are different from you and me.)
Tax breaks like these — once again, only on income that is received for not working — free the rich from concern and worry that they might be asked to pitch in and pay for the infrastructure that enabled their wealth — and give them more energy to complain about the terrible budget deficits caused by people who worked for a living collecting the Social Security they paid into all of their working lives once they retire.
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Washington Post Joins Wall Street Sneak-Attack On Social Security

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
At the end of the year the Washington Post published as “news” a story, “Support grows for tackling nation’s debt” that pushed the idea of “a special commission to make the tough decisions that will be required to dig the nation out of debt” and “rein in skyrocketing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security” before the “unsustainable entitlement spending” before it can “undermine the nation’s economy.”
The Post called that “news.” No alarm bells went off in their editorial department.
Where did this “news” story come from? The Washington Post has a deal with an outfit called “Fiscal Times” to provide “news” articles like this one. But Fiscal Times doesn’t really provide news, it is in reality a “front” – one of many – for an organization called the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire, set up this foundation many years ago ostensibly to advocate that the government reduce its deficit spending and debt, but in reality the foundation advocates reductions in government benefits to citizens, forcing the citizens who can afford it to purchase private services instead. (Those citizens who can’t afford it? Well, too bad but “the market” isn’t about them.) The foundation says little about the larger government spending on military (cut “waste”) and tax cuts for the rich (ending them “wouldn’t come close to addressing our fiscal gap”).
The Peterson “news” story quotes people from other Peterson front groups like the Concord Coalition. So in essence the Peterson story quotes the people that Peterson pays to put out quotes. But it creates the impression that lots of “experts” agree this is what is needed.
This strategy goes back to a larger Wall Street effort to get rid of Social Security. A 1983 Cato Institute Journal document, “Achieving a Leninist Strategy” by Stuart Butler of Cato and Peter Germanis of Heritage lays it out for us. The document is still available at Cato, and select quotes are available at Plotting Privatization? from Z Magazine. It is worth reading the entire document (in particular the section “Weakening the Opposition”) to understand completely the strategy that has been unfolding in the years since, but the following quotes give you an idea:

“Lenin recognized that fundamental change is contingent upon … its success in isolating and weakening its opponents. … we would do well to draw a few lessons from the Leninist strategy.”
” construct … a coalition that will … reap benefits from the IRA-based private system … but also the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from providing such plans to the public.”
“The first element consists of a campaign to achieve small legislative changes that embellish the present IRA system, making it in practice a small-scale private Social Security system.
“The second main element … involves what one might crudely call guerrilla warfare against both the current Social Security system and the coalition that supports it.”
“The banking industry and other business groups that can benefit from expanded IRAs …” “… the strategy must be to propose moving to a private Social Security system in such a way as to … neutralize … the coalition that supports the existing system.”
“The next Social Security crisis may be further away than many people believe. … it could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible. But then, as Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform.”

So there you have it. Every time you hear that “Social Security is going broke” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point. Every time you hear that “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point. Every time you hear that “Social Security won’t be there for me anyway” ” you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point.
Don’t fall for it. If they can gut Social Security they stand to make a lot of money but you stand to lose your retirement. Ask the government to look into better ways to cut spending and mostly to go back to taxing the wealthy like they did back when there were no deficits and the economy worked for every one, not just a few wealthy people sat the top of the pyramid.

Social Security Healthy For Decades

EPI: Social Security — government report shows that program is healthy for decades to comet,

The Congressional Budget Office, the agency charged with providing Congress with objective analyses of federal programs, released a new report today that shows the Social Security program is in good financial shape and will be for decades to come.

Don’t believe the lies. Social Security is fine. They borrowed all the money from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for tax cuts for the rich — so why is that Social Security’s problem?
The money for those tax cuts was borrowed from the Social Security Trust Tund, and America’s rich people have had quite a party with that money. That means that America’s rich people owe the money to the elderly. It was borrowed from the elderly and it has to be paid back to the elderly. It is wrong to ask elderly retirees to accept less because we gave the money away to rich people to have a big party with.

Senator Obama, Please Stop Echoing Right-Wing Lies About Social Security!

Barack Obama is echoing the right’s destructive narrative about Social Security being in crisis. The crisis is that Reagan and then Bush took all the money from the Social Security Trust Fund to use for tax cuts for the rich. (Clinton’s surpluses were paying it back, Bush reversed that.) And now the Trust Fund is going to need some of that money back
The right’s line is that this means Social Security is in crisis, is “not going to be there” for the next generation, and “tough choices” are required. The audacity — they took the money, and now they say this is Social Security’s problem, and that we have to fix Social Security! They say this to distract the public from asking for the money back, and to get them to support efforts to privatize the program.
And Barack Obama has joined them in this! Recently an Obama ad reinforced the right’s bamboozlement that Social Security is running out of money. speaking on Meet the Press:

Now, we’ve got 78 million baby boomers that are going to be retiring, and every expert that looks at this problem says “There’s going to be a gap, and we’re going to have more money going out than we have coming in unless we make some adjustments now.” … I want to make sure that it’s there not just for this generation, but for next generations. So that means that we’re going to have to make some decisions…

Paul Krugman pleads with him to stop. A few years ago the right tried to go after Social Security and there was

… a determined defense by progressives in the media, on the blogs, and in Congress beat back one spurious argument after another, while the American people made it clear that they really want a program that guarantees a basic retirement income that doesn’t depend on the Dow. And Social Security survived.
All of which makes it just incredible that Barack Obama would make obeisance to fashionable but misguided Social Security crisis-mongering a centerpiece of his campaign.

Barack Obama, please realize that you are assisting the right’s efforts to get rid of Social Security. Their strategy is to make the public think that the program is in trouble and then sweep in with their “solution.” (This is called “disaster capitalism.”) The other day I wrote,

I know that Senator Obama’s heart is in the right place and he has no intention of harming Social Security. But this ad is a mistake that could backfire. Please stop running this ad and please change the language. Instead of reinforcing the right’s lie that Social Security has a problem, let people know that the conservatives took their money from Social Security and gave it out as tax cuts to the rich and THAT is the problem!

IS your heart in the right place? Social Security is not in trouble. Stop saying it is.

Obama’s New Ad Could Help Kill Social Security

(Obama supporters please read the last paragraph of this post.)
For decades the right has been trying to kill Social Security. They have spread the lie that it is a “ponzi scheme” that depends on workers paying in today to pay for current benefits. Barack Obama is running a new ad that reinforces that lie.
Here is the fact: For decades Social Security has been collecting MUCH MORE $$ than it has been paying out. This money is saved in a “trust fund.” This trust fund is large enough to cover any “shortfall” that occurs when the baby boomers retire.
But starting with Reagan, and especially under Bush, this trust fund was used to pay for the Republican tax cuts for the rich. (This is what Gore was talking about when he said this money should go in a “lockbox.”)
Now that the baby boomers are starting to retire Social Security will need to tap into this trust fund to pay their retirement. It’s their money but the money is not there — taken by the Republicans to pay for their tax cuts.
So what is fair? Cutting old people’s benefits to cover they money that was taken by the Republicans to give to the rich? Taking more from working people’s paychecks to ocver what the Republicans took? Or taxing the rich to cover the money that was given to the rich? Which is fair?
And, most of all, how is this Social Security’s problem? How is it Social Security’s problem that the conservatives owe Social Security all that money?
With that in mind, watch Obama’s commercial, in which he is talking about Social Security’s problem entirely in right-wing terms:

Obama is running ads reinforcing the right’s bamboozlement that Social Security is running out of money! The language in this ad implies that Social Security’s retirement payments are responsible for the shortfall, and does not say that the trust fund was taken to pay for Reagan and Bush’s tax cuts.
This language in this ad, if seen and heard by millions of people, could make it so much harder to fight back the next time the right tries to kill off the program by claiming it is insolvent.
I know that Senator Obama’s heart is in the right place and he has no intention of harming Social Security. But this ad is a mistake that could backfire. Please stop running this ad and please change the language. Instead of reinforcing the right’s lie that Social Security has a problem, let people know that the conservatives took their money from Social Security and gave it out as tax cuts to the rich and THAT is the problem!

Edwards VS Social Security???

At the bottom of this story: (also on Edwards’ website)

Democratic hopeful John Edwards … in remarks at an event last weekend:
“The American people need a president who will be straight with them — who will be honest about the greatest challenges our government faces. And one of the most important of those is the looming Social Security crisis. …

WTF? Edwards using discredited right-wing language about a “looming Social Security crisis?”
The only, repeat, ONLY problem is that Reagan and now Bush have borrowed trillions from Social Security to give tax cuts to the rich and soon the government will have to find the money to start paying it back. That isn’t Social Security’s problem and old people shouldn’t have to suffer because of huge tax cuts given to the rich.
So what is Edwards talking about? I had been thinking Edwards was closest to me politically, but I think Dodd has moved up to that honored position.
Update – OK, that got me going. Speaking of right-wing language I decided to check on Edwards’ use of the term “tax relief.” (follow that link.) He uses the term.
Checking further …
So does Obama.
So does Hillary.
Sadly, so does Dodd. “Tax relief will also be offered for the construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of older buildings upon initial relocation or start-up.”