Dear member,

Last year, Gray Panthers spoke out in opposition to the “payroll tax holiday”, which jeopardizes the future solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund by diverting payroll contributions away from the program. And just as we predicted, since the economy still remains in bad shape, the government is being pressured to compromise again on extending and expanding this regressive and unjust tax scheme. As Congress continues to engage in political grandstanding, we are again speaking out. While we understand that in our struggling economy, tax relief for working and middle class Americans is needed, we feel that there are much better ways to stimulate the economy than continuing to undermine Social Security.

Yesterday, we sent the following letter to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House John Boehner to share our position and recommendations:

Dear President Obama:

Gray Panthers, an intergenerational peace and social justice organization with members of all ages, has a long history of working for progressive social change. We urge you to consider a wiser alternative than trying to stimulate the economy by pressuring for renewal of the perverse payroll tax “holiday”. This quick fix tax relief scheme threatens to undermine the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund. Ultimately, it will betray the economic well being of families it was intended to help.

It is with great sadness and not a little anger that we sense that Congress is gambling with the security of the Social Security Trust Fund to score political points during an election year. It is absolutely critical that the income for the Trust Fund be sustained by assuring that every single penny of funds diverted from the Trust Fund continue to be replaced. The current payroll taxes holiday is regressive. When 2% less is collected, persons with wages of $106,800 or more get a tax reduction of $2,136 dollars. Do wealthy CEO’s need this rebate? Will they promptly spend it and stimulate the economy? We think not.

Our sense of betrayal can felt in a more profound way. For the last 76 years, it has been a sacred legal obligation of workers and their employers to make their future more secure by setting aside payroll contributions into the Social Security Trust Fund. These Trust Funds have not only assured a base income for retirees, but have provided insurance for families against adversities of death and disability. During the last year, payroll contributions have been vilified as a tax burden from which we must be given a “holiday”. Contributing to the Trust Fund is not an unfair or an unjust tax. It is the price we must pay, under law, to assure that workers have a safety net of protection from life’s adversities.

A more fair, less expensive way to stimulate the economy without undermining the solvency of the Trust Fund would be for Congress to reinstate the “Making Work Pay Tax Credit” which was allowed to expire in December 2010. See article with this same recommendation in theDecember 5, 2011 issue of Forbes. This plan, initiated by President Obama, gave a $800 tax credit for married taxpayers filing joint returns. The credit was phased out for families whose earnings exceeded $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples. These families will more likely spend a tax credit than those with higher incomes.

Finally, we urge Congress to take a bold step toward making the Social Security Trust Fund solvent for years to come. Lift the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes. We agree that the wealthy have an obligation to help sustain the Social Security Trust Fund. Lifting the cap is a more permanent solution to our nation’s economic security than paying for temporary tax “holiday”.

Judy Lear, Chair
Posted on Dreamwidth
Seems the Republicans have on their agenda the ending of Social Security for those under 55 years of age.... they are destroying the progress of the last century, and just what are people 54 going to do to have a retirement by the time they are in their 60's?  Of course there is no mention of where the money already paid into the program will go... but the real reason for all this wanting to get rid of social security is that the funds that made up the surplus when the economy was going strong was used to fund wars, and other non social security related items... they robbed the bank and don't want to pay it back.
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The politician have it all wrong... these are the safety net... the 'crisis' is not really a crisis but anther case of 'the big lie', the lie told by talk radio and the other infotainment outlets that call themselves news outlets...if a fix is needed, it is real easy.. just raise the cielong and collect social security taxes on all income, no limit at the top. Up to this point it has been the burden of the working class, enjoyed by all, but a program that the rich have not contributed to, thus why should they have any say in this issue?

I can tell you that this safety net works.. it isn't perfect but it has helped. I still have medical bills to pay, but it is only a fraction of what it would cost without it.
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I just read the following on the California Labor Blog....Spotlight for February 25th, 2011 This issue has not yet been placed on their website, but here is part of the newsletter that got my attention.

Social Security Agency Workers Take Action Against Cuts and Furloughs

The current budget adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives includes budget cuts that will result in Social Security Administration employees being furloughed for up to 23 workdays before September 30,2011. The budget also proposes a hiring freeze and an end to overtime, which would affect not just the workers but also the seniors and disabled that rely on Social Security benefits to get by.

Join the SSA workers as they stand up for themselves and those they serve on Wednesday, March 2nd from 11:30am to 1:30 pm at the Eastmont Mall (Gate E) in Oakland.

Posted on Dreamwidth
Seems some want to cut the cost of living and Medicare adjustment for inflation formulas in Social Security. This article examines their arguement and warns of the pseudo-liberal who will be spewing this rhetoric. It's just another way to rob from the poor to benefit th rich.

Read the article here...

Posted on Dreamwidth
Seems the next attack on the people will be to kill the last safety net we have. Obama just started the movement with his payroll tax reduction, creating a $120 billion deficit in the Social Security Trust Fund,  Next will come the loss of cost of living adjustments and the raising of the retirement age. Don't plan on a future, the banks have killed the 401 (k)'s, the government is killing Social Security, and we will all be dumpster diving for our meals and looking for that cardboard condo on the local sidewalk.
Posted on Dreamwidth
It seems that part of this tax compromise includes the reduction of the payroll tax which in turn places Social Security in the cross hairs of the deficit hawks. While this may be temporary, I expect any and all provisions in this compromise to be made permanent when the Republicans control the house. It leaves a wedge to use for future social security cuts.

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