Gray Panthers of San Francisco
March 2007 Newsletter

Social Security and Medicare:
Big Fight Coming

feinstein demonstration


A small but spirited crowd spearheaded what promises to be a long, new campaign to protect and improve Social Security and Medicare. The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) organized a demonstration to urge Senator Feinstein to withdraw her bill S 355. (See below). As part of CARA, we were there with signs and leaflets reading Hands Off Social Security! Repeal the Medicare Modernization Act! and No Privatization!

Tim Paulson Mary Magill Labor Rep


Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein and Republican Senator Pete Domenici are co-sponsoring dangerous new legislation, S-355, that would create a bi-partisan “Social Security and Medicare Solvency Commission” to drastically reduce Medicare, Social Security and other social programs over the coming decades.

The powers-that-be have learned from the fiasco of Bush’s 2005 plan to privatize Social Security. Back then, they revealed the entire plan at once. There was no long-term program. There was no bi-partisan support. And there was no legislative mechanism to ram the plan through over popular opposition.

Feinstein’s and Domenici’s commission aims to solve many of those problems. Its plans are unknown. The commission would last forever. Its members would be half presidential appointees and half Republican and Democratic members of the Senate and House committees that oversee these social programs. And its findings would be legislation that Congress would have to act on as first priority.

We can’t anticipate the Commission’s proposals, but whether it’s privatization, contracting out, massive benefit cuts, or increasing the retirement age, it’s bound to hurt retirees, disabled people and children. We are going to have to be more vigilant than in the past, particularly as these programs to cut entitlements are being promoted as programs to save them.

70 million baby-boomers will reach retirement age in the next ten years, after working for decades and paying into systems to provide our retirement years with income and health care. Business and government say it’s more important to fight wars over oil and give tax cuts to the rich. Business and government, Democrats and Republicans, all say they can’t afford to fund Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the other social programs that we and our parents fought for and won. Indeed, they say even current levels of social spending threaten the market economy. If the market economy cannot afford to give us a decent life and medical care after we’ve worked all our lives, then it doesn’t deserve to exist.

stealth cuts

Click the image for a speech on the stealth nature
of the new attack on Medicare and Social Security.
Thanks to Bill Carpenter!

Feinstein's attacks

Click the image for a speech on Feinstein's history
of attacks on retired and disabled peoples' income and
health. Thanks to Bill Carpenter!

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