Altmire Blows Smoke to Hide His Plan to Steal Social Security

Dr. King in Birmingham Jail

Hands Off Social Security

by Randy Shannon
Treasurer, PA 4th CD Chapter, PDA

Cong. Jason Altmire’s office on 2110 McLean St. in Aliquippa has been the site of two vigils demanding HANDS OFF SOCIAL SECURITY. The vigils were sponsored Progressive Democrats and SOAR. The gatherings were the third Wednesday in June and  July. 

The next vigil to protest Altmire’s plan to cut social security will be held on August 18th at noon at his McLean Street office. 

In response to the June vigil Altmire sent a letter to each of us that said he “shared our concern about Social Security.” Of course our concern is Altmire’s plan to vote for the Deficit Commission’s recommendations to steal our social security taxes that are invested in US Treasury bonds. If Altmire is “concerned” with Social Security, we should be worried since  Altmire falsely implies that there is some problem with Social Security . 

There is no problem with Social Security. Social Security is solvent and has a large surplus to support the baby boomers as they retire. 

The Social Security is invested in US Treasury bonds. These bonds are the only debt of the US government that is not owed to the banks or to foreign governments. It is owed to the working people.  It is money created by work that adds value to the economy. So the banks plan to steal this money by raising premiums and raising the retirement age. 

The plan is for the Deficit Commission to issue a proposal on December 1 after the election. Then Congress will vote the proposal up or down with no amendments.  Altmire and the other Blue Dogs who are owned by the banks plan to vote for this robbery. 

At the July vigil, Altmire’s office staff greeted us with a speech that Altmire made on the House floor on July 20, 2010 at 1:57 p.m. as transcribed by CSPAN.  He spoke for one minute. Here is what he said. 

“Mr. Speaker, next month marks the 75th anniversary of social security, which has been there for generations of Americans and will be for generations to come. Social Security is a promise to all Americans. You have paid into the system, the money is yours, and it is our resonsibility to do everything we can to guarantee that it will be there for you when you retire. “ 

“That’s why we are so fortunate our friends on the other side of the aisle were unsuccesfful in their attempt to privatize social security at exactly the time the American financial markets were nearing collapse. 401Ks and IRAs lost 1/3 of their value in the stock market plunge of 2008 and 2009. Imagine what would have happened to those retiree income if their social security earnings had also been gambled away in the stock market. Mr. Speaker, rather than risk a lifetime of savings, social security will continue to be the stable, reliable safety net it was created to be 75 years ago.” 

There is nothing to disagree with in this July statement. Nevertheless it is a smokescreen. Altmire’s statement is an attempt to distract us from the real issue of the banks’ plan to cut Social Security in the December lame duck session of Congress. And it is a cover for his plan to vote yes to steal our money. 

When Altmire says “It is our responsibility to do everything we can” he is talking about his resonsibility to relieve the banks of paying higher interest on their own debt by defaulting on the social security debt to the people. Any cut in benefits, raising premium, or raising of the retirement age is a default. 

Altmire says he is happy that the Republicans did not turn over Social Security to Wall Street speculators under Bush because the money would already be gone. Now it is still there for the big banks to steal.  

Altmire should say: “The Deficit Commission’s intentions to take Social Security funds to pay for bank bailouts, war, and tax cuts for the wealthy is unacceptable. I pledge to vote against any proposal from the Deficit Commission that would alter the Social Security program.” But if Altmire said this he would lose the support of the bankers and their lobbyists. 

Our friend Lou Hancherick, a Democratic committeeman from Franklin Township, Butler County reported on a July 31st closed meeting of Franklin Park Democrats that Altmire attended. Following is an excerpt of his report on the meeting. 

I had the pleasure of attending a gathering of Democrat Committee persons sponsored by the Franklin Park Democrats on Saturday July 31. The guest of honor at this closed meeting was Congressman Jason Altmire who fielded questions from those in attendance on the upcoming challenge to his seat by Republican Keith Rothfus. 

The most contentious questions concerned his positions on the Presidents Deficit Commission. He refused to make a pledge not to vote for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Most disturbing to me was his referring to the Deficit Commission as the Entitlement Commission. 

So Lou’s description of the July 31 meeting does not require us to read between the lines to understand Altmire’s intentions.

If successful, the planned Social Security theft will, over the years, constitute a massive new transfer of wealth from working people to the bankers whose greed crashed the economy. Altmire will say he’s saving Social Security for future generations by lowering the deficit. However Social Security has not contributed one nickel to the deficit. The deficit is due to the bank bailouts, wars, and tax cut for the wealthy. 

Eugene Debs Running for President from Jail

How can any man or woman in this district who knows how to walk upright stand for this? How can any veteran who has put his or her life on the line to protect our freedom accept that our children and their children will be bled to death by the vote of this corporate owned Blue Dog Jason Altmire. 

The theft of our hard earned taxes is not an issue for polite discussion. Altmire and the other Blue Dogs and Republicans feel they can steal our kids future because all we know how to do is watch TV and talk about what they’re doing to us. They think they are immune to public anger and reaction because Congress is so powerful. 

Let us remind Altmire of this line from the Declaration of Independence:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. 

Among the unbearable impositions of the King of England enumerated by the Declaration was: For imposing taxes on us without our consent. The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to Congress stealing our Social Security as shown in the article below. 

Somewhere we must draw the line. If not here, where? If not now, when? If not us, who? How low will we let these dogs take us before we fight back?  

Altmire is implementing the destruction of a keystone New Deal program. Social Security helped secure the fruits of liberty for the working people of this country after 160 years of independence. Will we forsake the sacrifice of the brave men and women who fought for our independence, who fought to end slavery, and who fought to defeat fascism? 

Our families are paying this tax so they will not starve when they no longer work. Are we going to let Altmire cut our children, our friends, our neighbors without fear,with impunity, with  contempt for us and our way of life?  

Let’s recall the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Birmingham jail: As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. 

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” 

Join our vigil on August 18th at noon. Ask yourself, are you doing all that can be done to prevent the robbery and dehumanization of our children by Jason Altmire. The issue is not how you vote in November, but what you are willing to risk to stop Altmire from voting in December to take away your and your children’s savings. 

The following article from Huffington Post contains more information and links to important resources about this issue. 

from Huffington Post  

Barbara B. Kennelly

Posted: August 2, 2010 10:48 AM

Angry protests aimed at Washington are an American institution as old as Congress itself but you don’t have to be a political scientist to understand why the anger has elevated to a dangerous disconnect between voters and their elected representatives. Nowhere is that disconnect between Washington and Main Street America more evident than in the debate about cutting Social Security. People of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds have been rocked by the recession. Millions are unemployed, incomes are insufficient to meet the cost of living, and anxieties about the future are palpable. Many also fear Washington is much more attuned to the needs of those who helped create this fiscal mess than the average citizens who are suffering because of it. 

Thankfully, throughout this crisis, Social Security has been a lifeline for millions: retirees, older workers forced out of their jobs, the disabled, and survivors already getting by with one less breadwinner. Yet, too many in Washington see our nation’s mounting debt and deficit as a political opportunity. They’re now using a pretense of fiscal responsibility as the rationale to cut Social Security, deepening the fissure between Washington’s “haves” and the nation’s “have-nots”. A new nationwide poll of Americans of all ages, races, and political affiliations shows that Washington’s disconnect on the issue of Social Security couldn’t be larger. The poll, conducted by the UNH Survey Center for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation, gauged the public’s views on Social Security and deficit reduction. 

From young and old alike, attitudes about the need to separate Social Security from the deficit debate are clear and should be heeded by our nation’s leaders. Only 2% of Americans polled believe Social Security is a major cause of the deficit with 77% opposing any changes in Social Security as part of a deficit reduction plan. Americans want fiscal sanity restored to Washington but they also know that Social Security didn’t cause this crisis. 

People of all political persuasions agree that borrowing money from Social Security for decades and then proposing benefit cuts to avoid paying that money back is not fiscal responsibility. Virtually all Americans polled (98%) believe Social Security funds belong to the people who contributed them and their beneficiaries, and a majority (71%) say Social Security is a promise made to all generations that should not be broken. Eight-four percent of Democrats and 68% of Republicans polled say Social Security should not be significantly changed to reduce the national deficit. 

Yet, the President’s fiscal commission continues to meet behind closed doors crafting deficit reduction plans in which Social Security benefit cuts (like raising the retirement age, price indexing and means testing) play a prominent role. Those who are doing the hard-sell on these benefit cuts tell us it’s “for our children and grandchildren”, as if future generations won’t need the same, if not greater, level of economic security provided to current beneficiaries. Truth is, our kids understand all too well what cutting Social Security would mean for them. Sixty-seven percent of younger workers (age 35 and under) polled say the recession underscores the critical role Social Security fills for Americans and 69% say it should not be a part of this deficit debate. Why? Because the vast majority (73%) believe they’ll need it in their retirement. They’re absolutely right. Less than half of young workers are now are able to save for retirement. Who’s surprised given the economic uncertainties young people have faced so far in their working lives? 

Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt set in-motion an equitable remedy against poverty-ridden old age, an achievement that America will celebrate on August 14th. In 2010 and beyond, as we face economic challenges that continue to rock our sense of security, President Roosevelt’s words have special resonance –“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today”. We must not allow economic doubts to be used as a weapon against the future of America’s most successful program, Social Security. It is time for Washington’s leaders to reconnect with the people who are living this recession far outside the closed-door Capitol Hill rooms where six-figure incomes preside and Social Security’s future is now being decided.

2 thoughts on “Altmire Blows Smoke to Hide His Plan to Steal Social Security”

  1. Just for the record. There were two smaller noon vigils held in earlier months. I attended at least one earlier one, I believe in May. We did take or messages in to the office staff.

  2. A major point I am trying to make above is that others substantially supplement our numbers, energy and diversity in June and July. That input refocused our message also.

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