by Heather Buchman
State College, Pa.
July 15, 2011
IN TEXAS DROUGHT, CATTLE DIE OF TOO MUCH WATER
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- I sent a letter to the White House late last week.
Dear President Obama:
Social Security is part of a generational compact that has been in existence since 1935. You have no right to tamper with it.
Because we have that compact, old age doesn't mean poverty and misery.
Because we have that compact, sudden death doesn't mean destitution for a family.
Because we have that compact, a disability doesn't send you spiraling into poverty.
This is social insurance in the broadest sense of the word.
Why in the name of mollifying Republicans who want to give more wealth to the wealthy would you consider making cuts to this program?
It's solvent and fully funded. It's money that we all worked hard to contribute. It's not an "entitlement." It's our money! It's money we pay into the program to take care of the old and infirm, and when we fall into that category, it means that someone else has our back.
That's what makes it more than a mere "entitlement." Society taking care of each. One for all, all for one. E pluribus unum, if you will.
The fixes for Social Security, if any are needed, are minimal. Raising the income ceiling on the payroll tax would solve nearly all the funding problems after 2037, which is the date the Congressional Budget Office projects problems with the Fund.
Lowering the retirement age to 60 would open up jobs in the workforce while providing some security for the people over 60 who comprise a large part of the unemployed right now, those who are too old to get hired and too young to collect benefits.
Without knowing all the numbers, the Baby Boomer cohort has been considered the largest the nation has ever seen. It has been paying Social Security taxes its entire working life. It defies logic that a large amount of money is not lurking somewhere.
Part of the reason you were elected was the hope that you would undo the policies of your predecessors and return the nation to the idea of shared prosperity for all. Yet the gap between rich and poor is wider than it has ever been, while corporate profits are at an all-time high.
Reaching down the generations to rob them? This is your idea of good policy?
Considering the importance of Social Security as retirement income and social insurance for the disabled and widows and orphans, you are destroying the entire concept that we are all in this together.
For us as a nation to survive and prosper, we can't allow that idea to be trampled upon.
"Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain asked God in Genesis.
The answer is yes.
AR Correspondent Joyce Marcel has been a Vermont journalist and columnist for over 20 years. Read more at joycemarcel.com.