Friday, July 8, 2011

Keith Ellison rejects including Social Security in debt ceiling negotiations

Rep. Keith EllisonThis is good to hear:

Social Security actually is not contributing to the deficit. Social Security loans us money. So at the end of the day, all this discussion about how we’re going to cut Social Security is very distressing to me because Social Security isn’t the problem…This is inequitable and regressive…We’re asking the poorest Americans to sacrifice. When are the wealthiest Americans going to step up and do the patriotic thing, which is to contribute to deal with this budget deficit.

The simple fact is that there is no Social Security crisis. The whole idea of the program being in crisis is manufactured for this very reason, to justify changing a popular and successful program that nonetheless conservatives hate.

Congressional Democrats need to stand firm and not allow Social Security, along with Medicare and Medicaid, to become part of the deficit negotiations. As Nate Silver pointed out yesterday, for any debt ceiling deal to happen, there will almost certainly need to be support from the House Progressive Caucus.

You should read Nate's analysis for the details on why he concludes there will need to be support from the Progressive caucus, but this is the key takeaway:

Hence Ms. Pelosi, a former member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and its current co-chairs, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota, are big players in the negotiation. If they were to whip votes against a deal, it would have a lot of trouble passing.

True, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is not known to be as disciplined as other constituencies in the Congress. And the White House would be working the other end of the phones, trying to cajole or threaten them into a yea vote.

And that's the rub, the Progressive caucus is notorious for backing down and eventually going along with President Obama. This is their chance to stand firm and fight for progressive values, even if it means bucking their President.

And more than anything else, I think, this is what President Obama needs, a strong Progressive Caucus that doesn't allow the GOP to drive the debate.

Here is the video of Keith Ellison's statement:

1 comment:

  1. The Social Security "lock box" (yeah, right) has loaned the federal government money for years, decades, even. That's where all the surpluses over the years that some people (cough, cough) have been contributing to have gone. I've paid quite a lot into SS, including employer's portions for employees, over the years, and if Congress and the Prez wreck it now, I'll be pissed.