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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Solomon Calls for ‘All-Out Defense of Social Security’

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A day after President Obama urged fellow Democrats to go along with “trimming benefits” for Social Security and other safety-net programs, North Bay congressional candidate Norman Solomon called for “an all-out defense of Social Security.”

Solomon, a progressive Democrat who was elected as an Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, said Tuesday [July 12] that Social Security cuts would be “a tragic mistake, undermining our nation’s best values as well as its future.”

“Our leaders should be fighting to protect seniors, children, the jobless, the disabled and other vulnerable Americans, not throwing Social Security on the table and pulling out knives,” he said.

“I support the efforts by many Democrats in Congress to resist this looming assault on seniors and others who depend on Social Security and Medicare,” Solomon added.

“The idea of cutting Social Security and Medicare is not only a moral outrage -- it is a disastrous approach that would end up costing us dearly in the long run, severely damaging people’s quality of life and escalating healthcare costs,” Solomon said. “This is not how a civilized society solves its budgetary problems.”

Responding to the president’s statement Monday that “I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done,” Solomon said: “We need to turn up the heat to protect Social Security.”

“Social Security does not add a penny to the deficit,” he said. “As it is now, the program will be solvent for more than two decades -- and adjustments such as raising the cap on Social Security taxes for well-to-do recipients can easily render it solvent through mid-century and beyond.”

This month, Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Dean Baker noted that “the most recent projections from the Social Security trustees show that the program can pay full scheduled benefits with no changes whatsoever for a quarter century. Even after that point, the program would always be able to pay a higher benefit than what current retirees receive.”

Baker added that “even if we waited until 2036 and the program actually faced a shortfall, the amount of additional revenue needed to sustain the program’s full benefits past this shortfall would be trivial compared to costs like the increase in military spending associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Solomon, who is a national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign along with Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Donna Smith of the California Nurses Association, called for “a new national discussion about fiscal fairness and what a truly balanced and humane budget would look like.”

“It’s time to declare an end to the fiscal attack on seniors and working people,” Solomon said. “We need a fair budgeting approach that invests in people and the future instead of undermining our social fabric by shredding the safety net.”

Solomon called for new revenue solutions: “Rather than damaging the vital programs that seniors and working people depend on, our nation’s fiscal solutions can be found in such measures as a transaction tax on Wall Street, an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, plugging corporate tax loopholes and slashing the overblown military budget.”