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We Need a Mass Movement to Save and Expand Social Security and Medicare

Old, young, men and women of all races fighting together

Are Congress and the legislatures of those states working to confront the issue of their vanishing coastal regions? No. In fact, worse than doing nothing, some of those states, notably North Carolina, have passed laws making it illegal for coastal towns to take development measures to confront or remediate sea level rise. Same thing in Florida where sea level rise is even more rapid due to the expansion of ever warmer sea water. Miami Beach is already flooding at high tide, and is at risk of washing away the next time it takes a direct hit from a hurricane, yet the state government has ordered state agencies to stop using the term “climate change.”

Or consider our school system. Half of America’s kids these days are simply warehoused for 12 years. They don’t learn much of anything and graduate barely literate and unable to work a cash register. There will be hell to pay having a huge uneducated population in another 16 years, but does Congress care? No.

These two disasters are truly serious and the damage done is irrevocable but there are no cries of despair from the cassandras of the right. Only about the “bankruptcy” of Social Security — a problem they can actually easily fix. Why is this? Because Congress doesn’t want to fix Social Security. It’s enemies want to kill it off and by doing nothing they could. By falsely telling younger workers that Social Security won’t be there for them — a bald-faced lie — they hope to get younger workers to stop supporting the program, even though it’s currently supporting their grandparents and parents so they don’t have to.

So we are faced with a crisis we know is coming. We have all the details. And we know what needs to be done. Raising more funds would be easy. All that’s needed really is to lift the cap on income subject to the FICA tax. If every person and every employer paid that same 6.2% tax on all income, there would be no shortfall in funding in 2034, or ever. Why won’t Congress act? Because they don’t want to inconvenience their rich supporters.

So what should we do? We need to demand that all income be subject to the same FICA tax that we working stiffs have deducted from each paycheck.

But why stop there? Everyone knows that retirement is a looming disaster for most Americans. Most people cannot save money in a 401(k) or an IRA, since we are getting by from paycheck to paycheck after decades of no increase in earnings. This means we are heading towards a dystopic future when older Americans — initially our parents and grandparents, and eventually we ourselves — will be living in penury, turning to cat food for nutrition or sponging off our struggling kids. Is that what we want as a society? Of course not! And the solution is at hand: higher benefits from Social Security — like they have in most of Europe.

story | by Dr. Radut