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Wake Up and Smell the Tea, DC!

As President Obama and Congressional leaders consider adding cuts to Social Security benefits as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, they should heed this: Polls released last week in five 2012 battleground states—Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, and Virginia—show that 7 in 10 likely voters favor requiring employees and employers to pay Social Security taxes on all wages above $106,800 to make Social Security solvent.  Those favoring the taxes on millionaires and billionaires include 77% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans, 68% of Independents, and 65% of Tea Party supporters. 

The poll also found in response to the question of whether or not Social Security benefits should be cut to save the deficit that 57% of Tea Party adherents oppose cuts for this reason, as do 64% of Republicans, 72% of Independents, and 86% of Democrats, for a total of 74% opposed overall. 

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Chain of Fools

Or Debt Deal Trojan Horse, as Campaign for America’s Future called it today. What we’re referring to is the spectre of cutting Social Security benefits by adjusting the formula used to calculate the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) cost of living formula, a proposal called “Chained-CPI.” Like “blended rates” for Medicaid, this is another entitlement spending cut proposal the Obama administration has launched to reach a debt ceiling agreement that remains way below the public radar. And that’s where they’d like it to stay.

This cut would represent a betrayal to tens of millions of Social Security beneficiaries—seniors, people with disabilities and their families, children who have lost parents, and everyone who relies on these modest benefits for basic economic security.

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Do as we say, not as we said

Thanks to Think Progress for compiling a list of things said by some of those now insisting that the debt-ceiling deal cannot include any tax increase, and even that not getting a deal done by the drop-dead August 2nd date really wouldn’t be that big a thing. This nonchalance is not shared, however, by economists, credit rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, and the head of the IMF, nor was it formerly shared by some now accusing the rest of us of acting like Chicken Little.

We’re at 15 percent revenue, and historically it’s been closer to 20 percent. We’ve never had a war without a tax, and now we’ve got two. … Absolute bull***t.” Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), June 29

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Buckle Up

For a wild debt-ceiling ride dead ahead. As we get back at it after celebrating Independence Day, we turn our attention back to the threat to the independence of tens of millions of Americans as entitlement programs could come under the budget axe as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

We’re mindful that debt and deficits are a serious matter that need attention and action, but we also remain outraged that the modest safety net that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid provide for so many deserving people—seniors, persons with disabilities, persons who need long-term care, survivors of the death of a parent or spouse, veterans, women and children—is threatened while meaningful and fair tax reform that would shift more of the burden to the wealthy and to corporations that often pay little or no taxes today is considered off limits by at least one party in this debate.

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Unhappy New Year

What does July 1st mean to you? Well, since it's the start of the new fiscal year for the government, and North Carolina has cut billions of dollars from the budget, it means you get less government services.

Yay!

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