Tell National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility members to make federal government pay what it owes Social Security.

Reading William Greider’s article titled “Whacking the Old Folks” in the most recent Nation reminded me that I wanted to list on this blog the contact information for every member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the independent bipartisan commission that President Obama set up to address the budget deficit.

As William Greider and Nation and seemingly few others have been saying for many months, the hidden agenda of this commission may be to address the enormous federal budget deficit by gutting Social Security. This move would be disastrous because it would destroy faith in the United States’ ability and willingness to pay its debts. I can’t see how an economic system built on faith in credit can survive if the largest economic player is seen as untrustworthy, and that’s how our country will be seen if we make substantial cuts to Social Security benefits.

That’s because Social Security has plenty of money, but it’s loaned all its surplus to the federal government, a practice started in the Reagan Administration. If we assume that loan will be repaid, we have enough money in the Social Security Trust fund to last a long time, some estimates say until the 2040’s. With that loan repaid, we can pretty much make Social Security permanently solvent by some quick fixes, mainly raising the cap on income for which Social Security is collected and raising the retirement age a little. In other words, while the U.S. faces a severe deficit crisis, brought on by too many tax cuts and too much war-making, Social Security does not have a problem.

But virtually all the people like Pete Peterson who are wringing their hands that Social Security is in trouble act under the assumption that the federal government will not repay this loan. As opposed to raising income, corporate and capital gains taxes to close the deficit, Peterson and his ilk want to raid the Social Security fund and then make massive cuts to Social Security benefits, thus effecting perhaps the greatest mass transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in U.S. history and completing the political agenda laid out by Ronald Reagan in the late 70’s.

This thinking is very short-sighted for many reasons. Even rich people who want the tax breaks and don’t need Social Security are not immune to the upheaval that will be caused when worldwide financial markets catch on to the fact that raiding Social Security is nothing more than defaulting on a loan. No one likes to do business with countries that default on loans. We saw how the recent possibility of the default of the small nation of Greece rocked financial markets. Imagine what would happen when the financial community wakes up and realizes that the United States government has walked away from a loan made by its own citizens.

Greider suggests that President Obama has filled the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with those hostile to Social Security. The Commission website proposes a very fast timetable for action:

“The Commission will vote on a final report containing a set of recommendations to achieve its mission no later than December 1, 2010. The final report will require the approval of at least 14 of the Commission’s 18 members.”

That means we don’t have much time to act. Below is a list of every member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, including email and/or snail mail contact. I am asking that all my readers contact every member of the commission and tell them some version of the following message:

Please make sure that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommends that the federal government repay the Social Security Trust Fund every penny it owes so that Social Security can remain solvent without major changes and the federal government can work on its real challenge, which is lowering the federal debt.

Don’t just send your note to one member, send to all. And ask your friends and neighbors to do the same. If you have a blog, post it on your blog, with all the contact information. We can’t just sit around and let politicians representing the very wealthy steal our Social Security money.

Here are the Commission members:

Co-Chairmen:
Sen. Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming
Hon. Alan K. Simpson
Shareholder
Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh Jardine, P.C.
1135 14th Street
P.O. Box 490
Cody, WY 82414
asimpson@burgsimpson.com

Erskine Bowles, chief of staff to President Clinton
President
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
910 Raleigh Rd
Campus Box 9000
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
ebowles@northcarolina.edu

Executive Director:
Bruce Reed, chief domestic policy adviser to President Clinton and chief executive officer, Democratic Leadership Council
600 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003

Commissioners:
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
511 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA 31)
1119 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI 4)
341 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
530 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3403

David Cote, chairman and chief executive officer, Honeywell International
Honeywell International Inc.
101 Columbia Road
Morristown, NJ 07962

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
309 Hart Senate Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Ann Fudge, former chief executive officer, Young & Rubicam Brands
2400 Beacon St, Ph 601
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX 5)
129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Alice Rivlin, senior fellow, Brookings Institute and former director, Office of Management & Budget
Brookings Institute
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
arivlin@brookings.edu

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1)
1113 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9)
2367 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. John Spratt (D-SC 5)
1401 Longworth Building
Washington, DC 20515

Mary Kay Henry, president, Service Employees International Union
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

opedge
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