published Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Appalling scare tactics

One of the ugliest and most dishonest tactics in Washington is for politicians to claim that “the other side” is planning to slash Social Security benefits. The goal of those claims is to frighten senior citizens and to get them to line up politically behind the politician who is making that false claim.

Most recently, the Obama administration sent out a scary letter claiming that proposed Republican budget cuts could lead to furloughs of Social Security Administration employees. Then, Democrats in Congress sent out a statement claiming that Social Security offices might be closed, and benefit payments might be delayed, if GOP spending cuts are approved.

But that’s nonsense. As The Associated Press pointed out recently, even if the current spending standoff between Democrats and Republicans led to an actual “shutdown” of the federal government, essential services would continue uninterrupted: “Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. ... And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open. That’s the little-known truth about a government shutdown.”

The overwhelming majority of our nation’s 4.3 million federal employees — a figure that includes the military and postal workers — would not be idled by a “shutdown,” the AP noted. In fact, the number of federal workers who would not report to work is fewer than one in four.

And Social Security most definitely would continue operating. “The Social Security Administration would not only send out benefits but would continue to take applications,” the AP reported.

That is worth remembering as the president continues to oppose necessary spending cuts proposed by Republicans. The danger is not that Washington may cut “too much” but that it will cut far too little.

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charivara said...

no comment

March 1, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
charivara said...

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the cost of the 6 day shut down in 1995 was about $800 million and the 3-week federal government shutdown in 1995-96 cost $1.25 billion dollars and millions of dollars in fees were lost when national parks and government offices were closed. While Social Security checks were sent, no new applications were processed and offices were closed, no eligible Medicare recipients were enrolled, and health and welfare services for veterans were scaled back.

More than 2 million federal employees who will be affected are directly involved in providing government services to the public. Among the effects of the last federal shutdown were that no new clinical research patients were accepted, no toxic waste cleanup was performed, no passports were issued, no research grants were made, and many federal contractors were unpaid.

A shutdown of the federal government will affect the quality of life of millions of Americans, negatively effect the economy and increase the federal deficit conservatives pretend to be so concerned about. The threatened shut down has nothing to do with federal fiscal responsibility, it has everything to do with anti middle and working class Republican ideology.

March 1, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
maddawg said...

I am 50 years old and I will vote against any politician who cuts my future benefits. What I don't understand is why the cap on income subject to SS taxes is not eliminated. If I pay SS tax on 100% of my income then so should the well to do.

March 1, 2011 at noon
rick1 said...

Instead of the Obama Admintsrtaion sending out bogus letters, why doesn't Obama start acting more like the President and less like a community organizer and respond to the study that was recently conducted by the GAO. In a report that was issued today GAO found hundreds of potentially duplicative federal programs. Here are some highlights:

  1. Food safety: 15 agencies are involved in implementing numerous federal laws.
  2. Defense: Numerous redundancies in the purchasing of tactical wheeled vehicles, procurement, and medical costs.
  3. Economic development: 80 different programs spread across numerous agencies, often with similar goals.
  4. Surface transportation: More than 100 programs run by five divisions within the Department of Transportation deal with surface transportation.
  5. Energy: Eliminating duplicative federal efforts to increase ethanol production could save $5.7 billion each year.
  6. Government information technology: 24 federal agencies deal with information technology.
  7. Health: The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs could work together – instead of separately – to modernize their electronic health records systems.
  8. Homelessness: More than 20 federal programs deal with homelessness.
  9. Transportation Security Administration: Assessments of commercial trucking overlap with another federal agency.
  10. Teachers: 82 programs that deal with teacher quality, spread across multiple agencies.
  11. Financial literacy: 56 programs dealing with financial literacy.
  12. Job training: 44 employment and training programs.

"Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services," the report said.

March 1, 2011 at 7:42 p.m.
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