Obama will destroy Social Security in order to “save” it.

From Kim Kaufman:

Below is a letter I received from the White House last week.  Obama clearly lays out his plan to privatize Social Security.  He is “working hard to strengthen our retirement system.  That is why I am committed to protecting Social Security – (Note:  he is NOT raising the cap, the most obvious solution for a system that does not need “fixing” for about 35 years.)  He says, “Social Security cannot be subjected to risky privatization plans”  yet “We are laying the foundation for all individuals to participate in workplace retirement accounts.”

His “healthy skies” message, like Bush’s when he was making favorable policy for polluters, would not seem like a good message in an election year where, presumably, he is hoping for a majority of the 99% to vote for him.   I find it insulting he seems to think we’re flat out stupid.


“Remember, it’s only class war when we fight back.”  Susie Madrack

From: The White House [mailto:no-reply@correspondence.whitehouse.gov]
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 1:01 PM
Subject: Response to Your Message

The White House,                                                Washington


January 12, 2012

Dear Friend:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  I have heard from many Americans who are worried about the future of their retirement savings, and I appreciate your perspective.

Retiring with dignity is a promise we must keep to all Americans, and I am working hard to strengthen our retirement system.  That is why I am committed to protecting Social Security and addressing Americans’ concerns.  Social Security cannot be subjected to risky privatization plans because the future of hard-working Americans should not be left to the fluctuations of financial markets.


To better secure their retirement and prepare for unforeseen circumstances, Americans must also save for their future in other ways.  We are laying the foundation for all individuals to participate in workplace retirement accounts.  Employees would be automatically enrolled in pension plans and could opt out if they choose.  Simple and automatic enrollment makes it easier for people to plan for retirement.  This would assist the 75 million working Americans-about half the workforce-who lack access to retirement plans through their employers.  Please join me online to learn more at:  www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/seniors-and-social-security.

Thank you, again, for writing.


Barack Obama

Visit WhiteHouse.gov



9 thoughts on “Obama will destroy Social Security in order to “save” it.”

  1. I think someone has read this wrong, but I’m no politician. Hopefully, you’ll explain what the president is saying that the president isn’t trying to privatize SS, but give us some more options. Of course, I could be reading this wrong, too. Take care.

  2. From Meg G.:

    Hey Mark–

    I think this person has misunderstood the President’s statement. The proposed retirement accounts would be in addition to Social Security, not instead of it. What Obama is saying is that workers who don’t have access to a 401(k) through their employer should still be able to have pre-tax dollars withheld from their paycheck and put in an IRA. There’s nothing specific in the statement about how he’d change Social Security, let alone a “clearly laid out” plan to privatize it. In fact, as the sender notes, Obama emphatically rejects privatization as an option.


  3. From Kim Kaufman:

    Hey, Mark:

    The person (me) whom Meg refers to has NOT misunderstood

    the President’s statement. The recently enacted “payroll tax holiday:” is all about defunding Social Security. The meme about “cutting taxes for the middle class” is b.s. – it could have been done the way Bush did it – just write a check from the general fund. The way Obama is giving the middle class a “tax break” is: now the money does not go into the Social Security fund from wage withholdings, as it has from its inception, but now the money not coming from withheld wages is coming out of the general fund and going to
    cover what should be going directly into Social Security.

    Next year you will hear Republicans screaming about how paying for Social Security from the general fund is increasing the deficit and they need to cut the deficit and, oh, well, too bad about Social Security we can’t increase “taxes” on the middle class.

    FACT: there is nothing presently wrong about Social Security that needs “fixing.” If Obama wanted to ensure any kind of fixing needed in about, oh, 35 years, he should increase the cap, in other words, make the rich pay their fair share now. “Workplace retirement accounts” ARE privatized accounts, they would be managed by banksters with hefty fees and, of course, risky investments. Nothing prevents anyone from IRA accounts now (that are managed by banksters, btw), these are not the same things.


  4. As to increasing the cap, if any of your readers have not seen this youtube SCRAP THE CAP, they might find it of great interest and it is only 3 minutes long. Enjoy. Just Scrap The Cap (We’re Movin’ In) – YouTube
    ► 3:02► 3:02

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZQlbtlErLoOct 18, 2011 – 3 min – Uploaded by ssworkswa
    Just Scrap The Cap (We’re Movin’ In). ssworkswa. Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe. Loading… 1 video …
    More videos for scrap the cap »

  5. It seems to me to be a plan to lower SS payments in the future. Consider that the amount of your SS check is determined by how much you paid in each year. Most people already pay all year so they don’t hit the maximum amount. Now they pay in less all year long which means their checks will be less. Short term gain, long term devastation. Obama is selling snake oil.

  6. If you go to the White House Web site, the President’s policy on Social Security is spelled out even more clearly than in the letter. Here it is:

    (If this URL doesn’t take you directly to this statement, click on Seniors and Social Secutiry from the list or Issues drop down)

    Seniors & Social Security

    “To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”

    -President Barack Obama in the State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

    Many seniors are struggling in the face of the economic downturn, having seen their savings fall, and we acted quickly to help provide relief. The Recovery Act provided a one-time payment of $250 to retirees, other Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans, and SSI recipients. Fifty-six million retirees and other individuals received this one-time payment, totaling $14 billion. In light of continued economic hardship for too many seniors, the President has called for Congress to enact another $250 Economic Recovery Payment to our seniors this year, as well as to veterans and people with disabilities.

    Guiding Principles
    Protecting & Strengthening Social Security
    President Obama believes that all seniors should be able to retire with dignity, not just a privileged few. And, he believes that all Americans deserve to know that, if they become disabled or if they lose the breadwinner in the family, Social Security will be there to protect them. Today, nearly 54 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, including 38 million retirees and their family members, 10 million Americans with disabilities and their dependents, and 6 million survivors of deceased workers.

    For many of these Americans, Social Security is a key source of income. In fact, for more than half of Social Security recipients aged 65 or over, the program provides over 50 percent of their family income and, because of its lifetime income protection and survivors benefits, Social Security is particularly important for elderly women. . Moreover, the program is not just for seniors. Because of features like survivors benefits, Social Security is one of the largest antipoverty programs for children, and disability benefits also help younger workers and their families and are particularly important to minority communities.

    The President is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security—and securing the basic compact that hard work should be rewarded with dignity at retirement or in case of disability or early death. That’s why he has called on Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to preserve Social Security as a reliable source of income for American seniors and as a program that provides robust benefits to survivors and workers who develop disabilities. He believes that no current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced and he will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations. The President also stands firmly opposed to privatization and rejects the notion that the future of hard-working Americans should be left to the fluctuations of financial markets.

    Strengthening Retirement
    In addition to protecting and strengthening Social Security, President Obama will make it easier for Americans to save on their own for retirement and prepare for unforeseen expenses. Currently over 75 million working Americans—about half the workforce—lack access to retirement plans through their employers. The President’s budget lays the foundation for all Americans to participate in retirement accounts at work, proposing simple rules and automatic enrollment—that will automatically enroll workers in IRAs who, until now, haven’t had a workplace retirement plan, while allowing them to opt out if they wish.

    This should dramatically increase savings participation rates. In 401(k) plans, automatic enrollment has tended to increase participation rates to more than nine out of ten eligible employees. In contrast, for workers who lack access to a retirement plan at their workplace, the current IRA participation rate tends to be less than one out of ten.

  7. The President does not have the support required to raise the cap on Social Security. He did not have the support required to give working and middle-class workers a tax break. We have people like Bernie Sanders and my own state’s Democratic representatives fighting to preserve Social Security but they are not enough to turn the tide against the GOP who are holding the line. Get out there and support candidates who will protect and strengthen Social Security. President Obama wants to do the right thing for the 99% but he has been stymied since Day 1 when Mitch McConnel made the statement that the #1 priority of the GOP members of Congress was to make Mr. Obama a one-term president. You are upset because you think President Obama may be headed in the direction of privatiizing Social Security. Well, does it upset you that every single GOP presidential candidate says he WILL get rid of Social Security as well as Health Care, Education, the EPA, the FDA, and many other programs that benefit the 99%? Do you think if we have a GOP president in 2013 that SenatorSanders and others like him will be able to stop the slaughter of our economy and the dissemination of our lives? It upsets me greatly that more people are not looking at the bigger picture of what is at stake for the United States. We are in danger of not only losing Social Security, but we are in danger of losing our democracy. Haha! The joke’s on us as the GOP’s masters laugh all the way to the bank.

  8. Of course the “tax cut” taking away from Social Security is as cynical as it it is destructive. The mystery is why it hasn’t been an issue from the start. Maybe it would help if we had a two party system….

  9. From Meg Guroff:

    True, workplace retirement accounts such as 401(k)s are private accounts
    (not “privatized,” since they didn’t start out public). It’s also true that
    workers whose employers don’t offer 401(k)s can invest in IRAs right now.
    What they can’t do is invest automatically with pretax dollars, as 401(k)
    holders can. Obama’s plan–that is, the plan linked to in Kim’s original
    post–would make it possible for them to do this.

    Kim clearly has strong opinions on what should be done to shore up Social
    Security, and I don’t necessarily disagree with them. But Obama’s plan to
    help workers save their own money does not contradict his stated opposition
    to privatizing Social Security. In this era of vanishing pensions, retirees
    need both savings and Social Security, as anyone living on Social Security
    alone will tell you.

    Kim may believe that Obama’s actions concerning the payroll tax holiday
    prove that he’s lying about his opposition to privatizing Social Security,
    but there’s no proof of it in the linked-to plan, which I’d encourage anyone
    interested to read.

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