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Republicans are exploiting the pandemic to enact wildly unpopular laws

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19 hours ago, Pastor of Muppets said:
In 2006, Congress passed a law to require theUSPS to prefund 75 years worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside forfuture Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt.Feb 5, 2020

Didn't realize this--> The funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt

As the Trumpublicans run up the national debt as fast as they can (even before the coronavirus)?

So, if the money would be used instead for its designated purpose, the USPS might not be in so much trouble?

 

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prettylight

from Social Security Works this morning:

 

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new monthly unemployment numbers, and we officially have the worst labor crisis since the Great Depression.

And the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, said the White House’s top priorities to address the crisis are a payroll tax holiday and tax incentives for tourism, travel, restaurants and American sports.1

Larry, is this a joke?

More than 75,000 people are dead from an extremely contagious virus, and your plan is to cut Social Security’s dedicated funding and encourage people to undertake dangerous behaviors that could kill them and their loved ones?

At a time when more than 30 million people have lost their jobs, a “payroll tax holiday” is nothing more than another handout to corporations. It does nothing to help those who are hurting the most.

....

Even Republicans know this is foolish. Chuck Blahous, a Republican who served on the Social Security Board of Trustees, said:2

“The payroll tax has one job and that is to fund Social Security. If we get into the business of dialing the payroll tax up and down depending on the economic needs of the moment, then Social Security’s financing basis can’t survive.”

And a resident fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute called the cut “somewhat inappropriate.”3

So why did Trump say he won’t sign another pandemic response bill if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut?4 Why is he obsessed with enacting a measure that will do nothing for the 30 million newly unemployed Americans, next to nothing for workers whose hours were reduced, and barely anything for everyone else? Especially when even members of his own party don’t support it? The only thing that cutting Social Security’s dedicated funding is good for is defunding Social Security.

Thank you,

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

1 https://twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/status/1258768341608603648?s=20
2 https://subscriber.politicopro.com/employment-immigration/article/2020/03/focus-on-payroll-tax-cuts-has-social-security-advocates-fretting-1903125
3 https://thehill.com/policy/finance/496286-battle-brewing-over-how-to-get-more-relief-money-to-americans
4 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-fox-news-virtual-town-hall/

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prettylight

  

1 hour ago, Farmer Vincent said:

Republicans Want to Sacrifice Your Social Security But Not Their Tax Cuts

"Now, during a pandemic, Republicans are laying in a plan to steal your social security to pay for your decimated wages and benefits, while keeping landlords, banks and big corporations fully capitalized. There is no plan, however, to roll back any of the Trump, Bush or Reagan tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy."

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/05/10/republicans-want-to-sacrifice-your-social-security-but-not-their-tax-cuts/

 

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prettylight
Posted (edited)
“There’s stuff going on behind the scenes”
 

Donald Trump is dead set on defunding and destroying our Social Security system.

How do we know? He and his advisors won’t stop talking about a “payroll tax cut”―a stimulus measure that would put more money in the pockets of wealthier people, do absolutely nothing for the 37 million people who have lost their jobs in the last few weeks, and cut Social Security’s dedicated revenue.

But just yesterday, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters “There’s stuff going on behind the scenes… the president is very keen on it. It’s very much alive.”1

....

More than 85 thousand Americans have died. Millions are out of work. While corporations get trillions in bailout money from the Fed, the Trump administration is finding new ways to screw the American people.

South Korea’s first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed at the same time as ours. Fewer than 300 people have died there. This is a preventable tragedy, and instead of trying to help, Trump is exploiting the chaos to come after our Social Security system.

--Social Security Works

Edited by prettylight

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lanzate

PL... honestly it is a puzzle how your mind works.   Social Security is almost exclusively funded by wage taxes.     6.2% from the employee directly and then another 6.2% from the employer who probably would have given the employee a raise if they didn't have to pay it so just count it as 12.4% all from the employee.    So guess what happens when people don't work?    No tax and no money for social security.     You are your own worst enemy.    

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prettylight
2 minutes ago, lanzate said:

PL... honestly it is a puzzle how your mind works.   Social Security is almost exclusively funded by wage taxes.     6.2% from the employee directly and then another 6.2% from the employer who probably would have given the employee a raise if they didn't have to pay it so just count it as 12.4% all from the employee.    So guess what happens when people don't work?    No tax and no money for social security.     You are your own worst enemy.    

I respectfully stand by the post and the source, Lanzate.

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lanzate
12 minutes ago, prettylight said:

I respectfully stand by the post and the source, Lanzate.

How would you like social security to be funded if not from wages?

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lanzate

I realize Democrats like to protect the wealthy but wage tax deductions which disproportionately benefit lower income workers are needed.    The wage increases that we have seen over the last 2 years are some if the highest growth in a generation.   Social security is better funded now because of it.     Just don’t let Democrats bring back the SALT deductions for wealthy homeowners and we will be even better off.   

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lanzate
3 hours ago, Farmer Vincent said:

That's right, Democrats like Sanders and Warren like to protect the wealth gap.  

Social Security is a very popular social contract between the people and government where the people agree to pay the government a portion of their wages in exchange for a government guaranteed income in retirement years.  Hundreds of millions of us have paid into it all their working lives and expect the government to hold up their end of the deal.  It's our money, not theirs.  

Instead of going after SS to address the huge deficit caused by another round of Republican majority in Washington, serious people should be looking at the tax cuts for the rich, which is the real cause of skyrocketing deficits.  Trickle down never made it past the boardrooms and the fabulously rich got obscenely rich.  It's way past time that something more is done for the rest of us.  

Nice to know we agree.  Social security is an incredible program.   Thanks to trump over the last few years it has stayed strong.   Wages that remained stagnate over the previous administration finally broke loose which caused payroll taxes to soar shoring up social security.   

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Farmer Vincent
19 minutes ago, lanzate said:

Nice to know we agree.  Social security is an incredible program.   Thanks to trump over the last few years it has stayed strong.   Wages that remained stagnate over the previous administration finally broke loose which caused payroll taxes to soar shoring up social security.   

Thanks to Republicans that incredible program is under threat once again.  If they succeed, you can say bye bye to what you've put into it so far.  

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prettylight

from Social Security Works today:

 

Yesterday we wrote to you about Trump’s attempt to defund our Social Security system.

Even as the pandemic-fueled economic crisis deepens, we’re already starting to hear predictable voices of austerity claiming that the only way to “pay for” the recovery will be to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Let’s be clear: This deficit fearmongering is exactly why Republicans want to cut Social Security’s funding in the first place. Social Security has a $2.9 TRILLION surplus, and can pay full benefits for more than a decade, without a penny from general revenue. But if Trump gets his way, that trust fund will shrink faster, and the demands for cuts will grow louder.

 

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lanzate

If you want to preserve social security you have to increase wages on which the tax is paid.    Like who he is or not Trump has done that in spades over the last 3 years.   In the previous administration wages were stagnate.  Bonuses and stock options were offered to people at the top which were outside the taxable arm of social security.     Small business pays much more into the social security system than the big corporate players because of the more varied methods they have to hide wages from the tax.   This is why the big corporate players are nearly all on the left now and small business and working class have turned right.  

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Farmer Vincent
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lanzate said:

If you want to preserve social security you have to increase wages on which the tax is paid.    Like who he is or not Trump has done that in spades over the last 3 years.   In the previous administration wages were stagnate.  Bonuses and stock options were offered to people at the top which were outside the taxable arm of social security.     Small business pays much more into the social security system than the big corporate players because of the more varied methods they have to hide wages from the tax.   This is why the big corporate players are nearly all on the left now and small business and working class have turned right.  

And Republicans consistently resisted increasing minimum wage.  

And how's this economy working out for you now with over thirty million out of work?  MAGA

Edited by Farmer Vincent

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prettylight
Posted (edited)

Post offices, beloved community hubs, fight virus-era threat

Postmistress Donna DeWitt carries mail at the tiny post office on Isle Au Haut, Maine. The post office serves the 70 or so year-round island residents, May 6, 2020.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For some of the 2,000 or so year-round residents of Deer Isle, Maine, the fraying American flag outside the post office this spring was a reminder of the nation’s mood.

The flag was in tatters. It twisted in the wind from a single hook. But it was stuck in the up position, so the postmistress hadn’t been able to replace it.

“I was thinking what a metaphor it is for our country right now,” community health director René Colson Hudson said. “It was really important that the flag be replaced, as a symbol of hope.”

 

Colson Hudson, a former New Jersey pastor, posted an online plea on April 23 that sparked a community thread. Should someone scale the flagpole? Did they need a bucket truck? By week’s end, a secret helper had gotten the flag down, and the new one was soon flying high.

“Here," she said, “it is the center of community.”

———

Historically, the postal service has operated without public funds. It's been around longer than the nation itself.

But Postal Service officials this year — bracing for steep losses given the coronavirus shutdown — warn they’ll run out of money by September without help. They recently reported a $4.5 billion loss for the quarter ending March 31 — on $17.8 billion in revenue — before the full effects of the shutdown sank in.

Some in Congress want to set aside $25 billion from the nearly $3 trillion relief program to keep the mail flowing. But with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pushing President Donald Trump’s priorities, the postal service has so far landed just a $10 billion loan.

“The Postal Service is a joke,” Trump told reporters last month. “They’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies and every time they bring a package, they lose money on it.”

He insists that higher package rates could ease the financial troubles. But most financial analysts disagree.

Packages typically account for just 5 percent of the Postal Service’s volume, but 30 percent of its revenue. And package revenue has actually gone up during the shutdown. Still, it hasn’t been enough to restore profitability, battered in the Internet age by the decline of first-class mail.

“There’s truly an agenda of this administration to undermine (it) to the point that they’re going to sell off the post office to a private corporation,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents about 200,000 of the 630,000 postal workers.

Earlier this month, its Board of Directors appointed Republican fundraiser Louis DeJoy to serve as the next Postmaster General.

All told, more than 2,000 have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Postal Service said. A union spokesman said 61 have died.

https://www.voanews.com/usa/post-offices-beloved-community-hubs-fight-virus-era-threat

Edited by prettylight

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For most of us, the coronavirus pandemic is a disaster. But Donald Trump’s White House sees it as an opportunity.

They are using the chaos of the coronavirus to implement long-standing right-wing dreams. They’re getting rid of clean air regulations. They are trying to destroy the postal service. And they are working day and night to undermine our nation’s most popular government program, our Social Security system.

....

Trump says he won’t sign a coronavirus aid package unless it includes a cut to Social Security’s dedicated revenue stream―the payroll tax.

In other words, Trump is letting seniors die by the tens of thousands in nursing homes by holding hostage desperately needed testing and protective equipment to his demand to defund the Social Security benefits that millions of Americans rely upon.

Now, Trump’s economic advisers and his unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner have another assault on our Social Security system.

They are calling it the “Eagle Plan” (for no good reason). But it should be called the Work ’Til You Die Plan.

This plan would give people money today, but only if they promised to sign away their retirement. It forces desperate families, terrified of going without food or being thrown out of their homes, to choose between starving today, or working until they die.

This plan is both cruel and dangerous. It turns Social Security into a piggy bank, so that Wall Street billionaires can reach their hands into our pockets and steal our earned benefits.

....

Right now, Wall Street can’t get a single penny of our Social Security money. And they hate that.

The truth is, there are no handouts when it comes to Social Security. We pay in, and the benefits are there when we need them. But if it were converted into hundreds of millions of private accounts, Wall Street would reap huge profits―just like they have with 401ks.

America is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But too much of that wealth is concentrated in the hands of too few people, a handful of billionaires who are driving the agenda right now.

....

Thanks,

Alex Lawson
Social Security Works

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Together, we’ve mobilized hard against the Trump White House’s two pet attacks on our Social Security system―Jared Kushner’s “Eagle Plan” to raise the retirement age and Trump himself’s push to take away Social Security and Medicare’s dedicated funding (what he calls the payroll tax).

Now, there’s another front in the Republican war on seniors: Sen. Mitt Romney is pushing for Congress to pass his TRUST Act, which would create a fast-track process to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, behind closed doors.

At a time when current Republican policy is to let seniors die of COVID-19 by the tens of thousands without lifting a finger to help, it is beyond shameful that Mitt’s focus is to rob those same older Americans of their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.

....

Romney’s TRUST Act is particularly insidious because it would create a situation where an unelected commission can go behind closed doors to cut Social Security benefits. It’s an extension of the plan Romney proposed and voters soundly rejected when he ran for President in 2012.

The corporate media loves to fawn over Mitt Romney and call him a 'moderate', simply because he won’t kowtow to Trump. But on actual policy, he remains the same “severe conservative” he was in 2012. He’s held the Republican party line since taking office in 2018 on every issue but impeachment. And now that the American people are on to Trump’s plans to defund and destroy Social Security and Medicare, Romney is trying to ride to the rescue with a new scheme.

If Republicans care about the American people, especially seniors, they’d be passing legislation to get PPE to essential workers, help the unemployed, and rush assistance to the nursing homes that are turning into death traps.

Instead, they are focused on using the pandemic as an excuse to gut our most popular and effective government programs.

 

 

Thanks,

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

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prettylight

Zillionaire giveaway:

Crumbs for the Hungry but Windfalls for the Rich

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

May 23, 2020
A line to receive application forms for unemployment benefits in Hialeah, Fla., last month.
A line to receive application forms for unemployment benefits in Hialeah, Fla., last month.Credit...Cristobal Herrera/EPA, via Shutterstock
 

While President Trump and his allies in Congress seek to tighten access to food stamps, they are showing compassion for one group: zillionaires. Their economic rescue package quietly allocated $135 billion — yes, that’s “billion” with a “b” — for the likes of wealthy real estate developers.

My Times colleague Jesse Drucker notes that Trump himself, along with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may benefit financially from this provision. The fine print was mysteriously slipped into the March economic relief package, even though it has nothing to do with the coronavirus and offers retroactive tax breaks for periods long before Covid-19 arrived.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas, both Democrats, have asked the Trump administration for any communications that illuminate how this provision sneaked into the 880-page bill. (Officially, the provision is called “Modification of Limitation on Losses for Taxpayers Other Than Corporations,” but that’s camouflage; I prefer to call it the “Zillionaire Giveaway.”)

About 82 percent of the Zillionaire Giveaway goes to those earning more than $1 million a year, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. Of those beneficiaries earning more than $1 million annually, the average benefit is $1.6 million.

In other words, a single mom juggling two jobs gets a maximum $1,200 stimulus check — and then pays taxes so that a real estate mogul can receive $1.6 million. This is dog-eat-dog capitalism for struggling workers, and socialism for the rich.

Many Americans understand that Trump bungled the public health response to the coronavirus, but polls suggest that they don’t appreciate the degree to which Trump and Congress also bungled the economic response — or manipulated it to benefit those who least need help.

The United States simply accepted that the pandemic would cause vast numbers of workers to be laid off — and then it provided unemployment benefits. But Germany, France, Britain, Denmark and other countries took the smarter path of paying companies to keep workers on their payrolls, thus preventing layoffs in the first place. The United States did a little bit of this, but far less than Europe — yet the United States in some cases spent a larger share of G.D.P. on the bailout than Europe did.

So the unemployment rate in Germany and Denmark is forecast to reach about 5 percent while in the United States it may already be about 20 percent, depending on how you count it.

It’s not fair to viruses to blame our unemployment crisis simply on the pandemic. It’s also our national choice.

At the same time, it has become increasingly clear that money intended to rescue small businesses has often gone not to those with the greatest need but rather to those with the most shameless lawyers. They are part of our national equation: Power creates money creates more power creates more money.

One provision in the rescue package provides a tax break that benefits only companies with more than $25 million in gross receipts. AutoNation, a Fortune 500 company, received $77 million in small business funds, although it returned the sum after The Washington Post reported its haul. For-profit colleges, which are better known for exploiting students than educating them, have raked in $1.1 billion.

A Brookings Institution study found that young children in one in six American households are not getting enough to eat because of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we’re rushing to help … tycoons!

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that because of layoffs, 27 million Americans as of May 2 were at risk of losing employer-sponsored health insurance. You might think that this would lead to a push for universal health coverage. But, no, the opposite: Trump is continuing to support a lawsuit to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act — and allow millions more to lose coverage.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt responded boldly to economic desperation by creating jobs, passing Social Security and starting rural electrification. In this crisis, Trump is trying to restrict food stamps and health insurance while giving free money to real estate tycoons — probably including himself.

Of course, America does remain a land of opportunity, if you have the wealth. A new study determined that in the two months since March 18, roughly the start of the economic crisis, America’s billionaires saw their wealth collectively grow by 15 percent. And another 16 Americans became billionaires in that period. It’s great to see people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps!

The House of Representatives is trying to repeal the Zillionaire Giveaway, but Trump and his congressional allies are resisting. Trump meanwhile sees little need to help states and localities, which in April alone laid off more employees than in the entire Great Recession.

Trump was elected in part by voters angry at the way the system was rigged. But under Trump, the economy has become rigged ever more decisively, even as children go hungry and ordinary workers lose their jobs and their lives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/23/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-economic-response.html

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