Urgency of the START treaty

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 




CNN Political Ticker

Deliberate Distortions Create False Sense of Urgency for Social Security Cuts

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

There is so much inaccurate information—much of it deliberately cultivated—about the solvency of Social Security, that it’ss leading policymakers, analysts and lawmakers to believe there is an urgent need to make major changes to Social Security.

Add to that a cadre of newly elected representatives and senators who back raising the retirement age, privatizing Social Security or making other cuts to the nation’s most successful social safety net program, and it becomes even more important to make sure the real picture of Social Security’s future is not distorted.

A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) calls attention to the fact that Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years and any premature action to make changes to the program will have a severe impact on millions of near retirees. Says CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker:

Misinformation about Social Security has led many to believe that Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency but the program will be fully solvent for almost three more decades. Furthermore, even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.

The issue brief, “Action on Social Security: The Urgent Need for Delay,” argues that proponents of strengthening Social Security should fight to delay any action on changes because:

  • There is good reason for believing the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future, in part because of the weakening of some of the main sources of misinformation.
  • Many more people will be directly dependent on Social Security in the near future. These people and their families will likely be strong defenders of the program.
  • The group of near-retirees, who may be the victims of early action, will desperately need their Social Security since they have seen much of their wealth eliminated with the collapse of the housing bubble.
  • The concern over “maintaining the confidence of financial markets” is an empty claim that can be used to justify almost any policy.

Click here for the full report. For more information, be sure to visit Our Fiscal Security here, Retirement USA here, Strengthen Social Security…Don’t Cut It here and the Alliance for Retired Americans here.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Attack the Deficit: The Fierce Urgency of Now

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-KY.) told host Christiane Amanpour he would push for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

printingpress

This is an idea whose time has come. In 1994, Republicans campaigned- and won — on a balanced budget amendment (as part of the Contract with America). Back then; the deficit was just $ 203 billion. Today, the national deficit is at $ 1.4 trillion (that’s roughly $ 3,500 for each American, and some $ 14,000 for each family of four in deficit spending just this year alone).

Most states require their elected officials to balance their budget each year, but no such requirement impedes the reckless spending of the United States federal government. A constitutional amendment would bar the federal government from spending more money than it brings in each year — and require a supermajority in order to raise taxes. This is not a radical idea, but the consequences of failing to enact such a measure cannot be overstated.

Fortunately, as evidenced by the Tea Party movement, there appears to finally be the political will required to get this done. Newly elected Republicans simply must realize they weren’t elected to merely “trim” spending or “slow down” the rate of government growth, but rather, to cut, de-authorize and balance the budget. (If they fail to grasp this fact, it will be a short and depressing two years).

It is also worth noting that the conservative movement is united behind this cause.

That Senator-Elect Paul was the one to reignite this debate after the GOP’s historic victory on Tuesday is not terribly surprising – he campaigned on this. And though he represents the libertarian wing of the conservative movement (his father ran for president as a Libertarian), his vocal support is indicative of the broad-based support for this amendment.

The financial crisis has galvanized the disparate elements of the conservative movement, just as the threat of Communism united the ”three legs” of the conservative movement during the Reagan years (like Communism, the deficit has become an existential threat to our freedom).

As a Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council (FRC), I’ve seen first hand that social conservatives view the economic crisis – and, more specifically, a balanced budget — as a moral issue. Similarly, national security conservatives realize it’s a security issue (America’s debt is being lent by foreign interests, with China being the largest single holder). This is an issue that transcends the normal dividing lines, and unites us.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a solid full-spectrum conservative who is just as at home at a Club for Growth Meeting as he is at a Christian Coalition dinner, and others, are expected to lead the charge on a balanced budget amendment. The additional Tea Party conservatives who were elected on Tuesday will aid them. But they will need reinforcements.

That’s why I have agreed to serve as chairman for a new group, ’Balanced Budget Amendment Now.’

Our organization will launch an aggressive campaign to pass a balanced budget amendment. This will include building an infrastructure needed to enlist a minimum of 5,000 supporters in each Congressional district to urge their Members of Congress to vote for an amendment.

Our goal is to accomplish a vote on a balanced budget amendment by October 1, 2011. (Senator-Elect Mike Lee (R-UT) has graciously agreed to draft the balanced budget amendment language for us — and to enlist the support of his colleagues).

There are many issues vital to our future, but I can think of none more worthy than this effort.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the “fierce urgency of now.” I would urge all Americans to consider the urgency of passing a balanced budget amendment.


Big Government

Midterms 2010: Urgency and Desperation

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Our “World News” report: -Jake Tapper



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Political Punch

The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever, Ctd

October 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Ben Adler undermines Obama's claim that only Congress can allow gays to serve openly:

At the time that DADT was passed, it was constitutional because there was no Supreme Court precedent establishing that homosexual relationships are protected under the implied privacy rights of the Bill of Rights. Then, 10 years later, the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas overturned an anti-sodomy statute on the grounds that it violated the privacy rights of gay couples. Since then, laws that impinge upon the sexual-privacy rights of gay couples are presumed unconstitutional if they have no rational state interest to justify them.

“Since Lawrence v. Texas, you can no longer discriminate against gays without reason,” says Mazur. “The constitutionality of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ has changed since Congress enacted it.” Given that top military leaders have said that DADT is harmful to the military, Obama could have simply announced that, absent the state interest to justify DADT, it is now unconstitutional and will no longer be enforced.

Ted Olson - former solicitor general, whose role is to determine the legal position of the US government before the Court - calls out Obama along those same lines.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever, Ctd

September 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Dan Savage updates us:

Where was the President when the Senate was debating DADT on Tuesday? AWOL. He made no public statements, he couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone and call a single wavering Senator to ask for their vote. But he did have time to make at least one call on Tuesday: “Earlier today, President Obama called members of the Seattle Storm organization, to congratulate them on winning the WNBA Finals for the second time …”

Words fail.





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Dan Savage - Seattle Storm - Senate - Barack Obama - President of the United States


The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

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