Thursday, July 13, 2017

Social Security is Not Going Broke

Republicans like to pretend that their long-held desire to cut Social Security is based on economic concerns about affordability. They hide behind deficit fear-mongering to cover their ideology that when it comes to our retirement security, or a disability, or the loss of a loved one―we’re on our own. But this ideology isn’t about economics. It’s just cruel—and the numbers back this up.

The new Social Security Trustees report―released today―shows a program that is strong and growing. It projects that, even if Congress took no action whatsoever, Social Security could pay 100% of benefits owed through 2034, and 77% of benefits owed after that.

And if the wealthy pay their fair share, and we can afford to expand Social Security and extend the lifespan of the trust fund.

Sign the petition today! Tell Congress that the numbers don’t lie. We can afford to protect and expand Social Security.

This year’s report projects that in 2017 Social Security will run an annual surplus of roughly $58.6 billion, bringing the accumulated surplus to about $2.9 trillion by the end of the year.

This is why the Democratic Party strongly favors expanding, not cutting Social Security, and why expansion was even included in the 2016 Democratic Party Platform:

Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis Under Trump

Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis Under Trump

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cuts to Medicare

Raid of Medicare, cuts to Medicaid among the most problematic parts of the AHCA

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the House vote today to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act.
“Retirees and older Americans who are not yet eligible for Medicare are simply appalled by today’s American Health Care Act vote.
“This bill decimates Medicaid, with more than $800 billion in cuts. Medicaid pays for the nursing home care of millions of seniors and health care for people with disabilities. The $8 billion that the GOP added to their plan at the last minute is a mere drop in the bucket compared to their cuts.
“It also robs the Medicare Trust Fund to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. That transfer of wealth from the sick to the wealthy is unconscionable.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Trump's Infrastructure Plan

Donald Trump ran on the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure program―seemingly diverging from other members of his party. After all, it’s progressives and Democrats who traditionally call for investments in infrastructure.

A $1 trillion plan would be welcome indeed. According to EPI research, each $1 billion investment in infrastructure has the potential to support more than 18,000 jobs―and these jobs are disproportionately well-paying. And $1 trillion would go a long way (if not all the way) to closing the deferred maintenance deficit we’ve allowed to develop through decades of underinvestment.

Unfortunately, when you actually look at Trump’s infrastructure plan, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not a serious plan, and won’t lead to significant investments in our country’s future.

Even the headlines of the Trump infrastructure plan only call for $200 billion of actual federal funding, “leveraging the private sector” to pay for the rest. What that “leverage” means is that state taxpayers and infrastructure users will be on the hook for the other $800 billion in the form of taxes, toll roads or other privatized projects whose profits pad the pockets of private entities—not local or state budgets.

But Trump’s proposed $200 billion investment isn’t even real! Because his 2018 budget attempts to cut $139 billion from investments to “surface transportation infrastructure.” So, Donald Trump’s $200 billion investment is really a $61 billion investment, at best.

Trump just whittled a $1 trillion investment down to $61 billion. Most of us don’t appreciate receiving just 6 percent of what’s been promised. So we shouldn’t be too happy about this retreat on infrastructure.

At EPI, we’re focusing on facts, not rhetoric, and demanding an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
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Back to (our) Future

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is SSDI ? And Why Does Trump Want to Cut It ?

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, the national media has provided critical reporting on the very real threat that Donald Trump and his administration pose to the future of our democracy. But they have continued a troubling trend of misreporting very real economic implications that the GOP policy agenda poses to working people and older Americans.

Just look at this headline from the New York Times: “Budget Slashes Programs for Poor, While Largely Sparing Older People.”

By slashing Medicaid in both his 2018 budget and Trumpcare, Donald Trump is not only throwing 23 million people off of their healthcare, he’s also making it impossible for older Americans to afford long term nursing home care. And now he’s proposing cutting up to $64 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), while claiming that this does not break his promise to protect Social Security.

This isn’t a new development with Trump. The media has long favored discussions of Social Security and Medicare that treat them as problems, not solutions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Chinese View of Trade

“Belt & Road” v.s. Liberal Order

May 22 , 20
This is really the best of times and worst of times. With the rise of a large number of developing and emerging countries and relative declining of “advanced countries”, the global convergence of power is accelerating and the balance of power continues to tip in favor of the former. This big picture provides a useful prism through which a clearer view of the world today and tomorrow, including the future of globalization, global governance and global liberal order, comes to our minds.

Liberal order in crisis
Without any doubt, a crisis has been raging across the “liberal democratic world” for some time with “black swan events” appearing in the U.S. and in many European nations which have wreaked havoc with the political eco-system in the western world, weakening the centrist and progressive forces that used to underpin the U.S.-led postwar world liberal order.
Only this time around, the challenges to liberal order as well as liberal democracy come from both within and outside, mostly from within, which raises many eyebrows as to whether the U.S.-led and U.S.-defined liberal order can survive.
Talking about challenges from within, first and foremost is the loss of credibility of economic neo-liberalism since the 2008 financial crisis as the governing ideology for global economic order, which has made many countries to turn to the East, in particular China, for new ideas and concepts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Budget Cuts Social Security

Donald Trump says that his newly released 2018 budget does not cut Social Security. Don’t believe it.
Throughout the campaign Trump claimed that he was the only Republican candidate who would protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Yet, his new budget includes $1.7 trillion in cuts to critical programs including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid. 
If he hadn’t noticed, the first two words in SSDI are Social Security.
Trump is trying to spin this and claim that he’s still protecting Social Security and Medicare. But we’re not fooled!
Let’s be very clear: Cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance are cuts to Social Security. SSDI is insurance that workers earn with every paycheck, providing critical financial support for disabled workers and their families.
The average monthly SSDI benefit for a disabled worker is just $1,171.52―or about $14,000 a year. Trump and Republicans believe that by targeting disabled workers and low-income families―some of the most economically vulnerable members of our society―he’ll be able to successfully divide the American people and get away with breaking his campaign promise.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Obama to receive $400,000 to Speak to Wall Street.

Huff Post on Obama's $400,000 speaking fee to Wall Street.  April, 2017.
The rumors are true: Former President Barack Obama will receive $400,000 to speak at a health care conference organized by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. 
It should not be a surprise. This unseemly and unnecessary cash-in fits a pattern of bad behavior involving the financial sector, one that spans Obama’s entire presidency. That governing failure convinced millions of his onetime supporters that the president and his party were not, in fact, playing for their team, and helped pave the way for President Donald Trump. Obama’s Wall Street payday will confirm for many what they have long suspected: that the Democratic Party is managed by out-of-touch elites who do not understand or care about the concerns of ordinary Americans. It’s hard to fault those who come to this conclusion.
Obama refused to prosecute the rampant fraud behind the 2008 Wall Street collapse, despite inking multibillion-dollar settlement after multibillion-dollar settlement with major firms over misconduct ranging from foreclosure fraud to rigging energy markets to tax evasion. In some cases, big banks even pleaded guilty to felonies, but Obama’s Justice Department allowed actual human bankers to ride into the sunset. Early in his presidency, Obama vowed to spend up to $100 billion to help struggling families avert foreclosure. Instead, the administration converted the relief plan into a slush fund for big banks, as top traders at bailed-out firms were allowed to collect six-figure bonuses on the taxpayers’ dime.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Richard D. Wolff - What are Capitalism & Socialism? What differentiates ...

The viewpoint of the U.S. major Marxist economist. 

Resistance to Tyranny

On Tyranny : Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Timothy Snyder.  2017.

How do we resist the rise of tyranny ? the rise of  fascism ?1.     Do Not Obey in Advance.2.     Defend institutions.
For more, read the book.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan - The New York Times

Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan - The New York Times

Republican health care

Congressional Republicans introduced Trumpcare, their plan to gut the Affordable Care Act and begin destroying Medicare and Medicaid less than a week ago. And the more we learn, the worse it gets.

One of the major advantages of the Affordable Care Act is that it addresses income and wealthy inequality by taxing the rich to provide health insurance to tens of millions of low- and middle-income individuals―seniors, people with disabilities, and the poor (including older adults who are not yet Medicare eligible).

Trumpcare is part of a war on seniors which threatens the health care of tens of millions of people through $370 billion in cuts to Medicaid and severely weakening Medicare―robbing the trust fund of $346 billion.

Email your Representative now and tell them to reject Trumpcare―anti-healthcare legislation that steals health insurance from seniors, people with disabilities and working families in order to give a massive tax break to the wealthy.

Donald Trump has promised to take on the drug companies and protect Medicare. But Trumpcare breaks both of those promises.

As part of the $465 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy and health care companies, Trumpcare gives the pharmaceutical industry a $25 billion handout.

Instead of protecting Medicare for current and future generations, Trumpcare cuts the Medicare trust fund by $346 billion.

Trumpcare is nothing more than a huge tax cut for the wealthy on the backs of seniors, people with disabilities and low- and middle-income families.

Write your member of Congress today and tell them to reject Trumpcare.

Approximately 70 percent of Americans ages 65 and older will need long-term care at some point during their life. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare; it’s covered by Medicaid. Trumpcare’s $370 billion in cuts to Medicaid will negatively impact the 10 million seniors who currently qualify for joint Medicare and Medicaid coverage by forcing them and their families to pay out of pocket for the unaffordable costs of long-term care.

Together we must protect the healthcare and the economic security of millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and low- and middle-income families.

Thank you for all that you do.

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

Friday, March 10, 2017

Current Employment Rate

BTW. Current employment rates at present are the results of economic policies of the Obama Administration.  The rates do not yet reflect the efforts of the Trump Administration. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Republican Plan for Healthcare

The secret healthcare bill is out. Monday night, House Republicans finally released their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and now it’s being rushed through committee, after being kept under lock and key with the details and cost hidden from members of Congress and the public. 
What’s the rush? 
The lack of hearings, cost estimates and sufficient time to review the language would be problematic in any situation. But a bill that takes away healthcare from Americans in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy should not be pushed ahead without thorough review and informed debate. 
With Republican control of both chambers of Congress, with Donald Trump in the White House and Tom Price as health and human services secretary, this bill could actually become law.
The consequences would be disastrous, and Americans know it. Of course the ACA had its problems and needed to be fixed, but this plan does none of that. It rips healthcare away from Americans to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, which is about as cruel as it gets. This isn’t a healthcare plan—it’s a massive giveaway to insurance companies and those at the top, while it hits America’s families with a triple whammy of less coverage, higher costs and more taxes. This bill will potentially leave millions without coverage. Not only that, some want to radically restructure Medicare and Medicaid while they’re at it.
Our voices are making a difference. Throughout the country, people are calling and writing their elected officials, and showing up at congressional offices and town hall meetings to share their personal stories about how the ACA gave them or a loved one access to affordable health insurance, many for the very first time.