So you can’t say, “Oh, we’re just going after the disability portion”; that’s Social Security. They see it as the weakest part, they see it as the part that people don’t understand well enough to know that if we let Washington, DC, take our benefits away at all, it means they can take all our benefits away in the future. And let me be clear: That’s exactly what they want to do.
This is part of a decades-long campaign to either steal, in so-called privatization, or to destroy the Social Security system, so that there’s no other alternative besides Wall Street. And that’s what it all comes down to: greedy liars on Wall Street can’t stand how well Social Security works.
Less than one penny of every dollar that goes into the system pays for administering the entire thing. So 99 cents of every dollar paid in comes back in the form of benefits. A Wall Street hedge funder, private equity guy, looks at that and says, “I would tack on another 25–30% as my fee, so that I could buy a golden yacht,” or another golden yacht, or whatever they do with their money. They see the efficiency of Social Security, and they want to destroy it.
When you say “steal,” that’s not hyperbole, because, again, this is what we pay into. If you just read it as ideology—and sometimes media present it as though it’s just about your worldview—it makes it sound like, “Oh, people are saying, folks who have a lot should give to folks who don’t have.” That’s not what’s happening. This is, in fact, our money.
This is our money. We earned it. And if we let our benefits be taken away, if we let them cut our benefits, if we let them alter the COLA, the Cost Of Living Adjustment, down, all of that is literally reaching into our pockets and stealing our money. Nobody is giving us anything when it comes to Social Security.
I’ve seen some good reporting on it. The Nashville Tennessean did their own investigation of some of the doctors that are hired to review these disability claims, and they found them racing through the paperwork at what is called an “implausible” pace. In other words, they were reviewing them so fast that they couldn’t help but be wrongfully rejecting claims.
But continuing on media, and finally, I just saw a Philadelphia Inquirer story that talked about what we’re talking about, and then said, “Social Security officials declined to comment.” And, you know, they don’t have to comment. If no one pays attention, it’s going to go through without their comment. But doctors are commenting, recipients are commenting, advocates are commenting, and the public comment period has been extended from January 17 to January 31.
You’re talking about, in the Reagan Era, when pushback worked—public pushback is what’s going to work. So what do we need to know about that?
That’s exactly right. We know exactly what happened in the Reagan Era is that it was because of people raising their voices that this was rejected. It was overruled unanimously by the Congress.
So what we want to do is stop it before it’s even implemented. And to do that, we want people to write in their comments in the public comment period on the rule, you can just go to SocialSecurityWorks.org, and there’s a link right there to take you directly to where you should go to put in your comment.
We also want everyone to contact their members of Congress. Also, we think the comment period should be extended, because something you said is absolutely true: They’re trying to do this in the dead of night, behind closed doors, so that no one knows what’s going on.
And the more we can drag it into the sunlight, the more we can force them to defend the fact that they’re proposing stealing our benefits, the less they’re going to want to do it. And we think that we can defeat them if we can extend the comment period, if we can flood the comments with real people’s voices saying “No,” and if we can get our members of Congress—and, again, this is both parties. Social Security is not a partisan issue.
So whoever your members of Congress are, contact them, and tell them, “Say no to stealing our Social Security benefits.”
We’ve been speaking with Alex Lawson of Social Security Works. You can find their work on this latest attack, as well as a link for you to publicly comment on it, at SocialSecurityWorks.org. Alex Lawson, thank you so much for joining us this week on CounterSpin.
Thanks for having me.Janine Jackson FAIR