Sunday, January 23, 2011

Don't let Wall Street get its hands on Social Security

Will President Obama propose cuts to Social Security in his State of the Union address on Tuesday? That's the burning question among those who've noticed that the attacks on the middle class gathered steam since the November elections.

The peerless Dean Baker is bracing for Obama's speech. The economist hopes Senate President Harry Reid (a good Teamster friend) will thwart any attempt to gut the immensely popular, efficient and solvent Social Security system. Baker wrote a terrific piece in the Huffington Post, titled "Can Harry Be a Hero?" that's worth reading in its entirety. Baker explains why Social Security is under attack (Hint: It isn't because it's breaking the budget and it isn't because it's in financial trouble.)
There is no doubt that the forces arrayed against Social Security are enormously powerful. The wealthy hate the idea of government money going to anyone but them, and since the vast majority of Social Security benefits are going to low and middle-income families, the program is an outrage to their sensibilities.

The financial industry also knows a cash cow when they see one. It would take more than $10 trillion in private accounts to generate the same amount of money as Social Security pays out each year in benefits. If the financial industry collected just 1.0 percent of this sum in fees each year, it would mean another $100 billion a year into the coffers of the Merrill Lynch set.
If you're worried about Social Security, and you should be, go to the website for "Strengthen Social Security."  There you'll find what you can do to fight the latest attempts by Wall Street to destroy the middle class.