Democrats, how do you feel about a balanced budget, paying down the debt and SS reform?
I would love to hear from some of our Democratic members. This is not a question to start a bickering session, I am truly interested in your perspective.
Social Security hasn't contributed to the deficit and it doesn't need much to put it on a sound financial footing for the forseeable future. Changes in SS should be handled separately from deficit negotiations, and all the alternatives for "fixing" it should be considered, including raising the earnings cap, rather than focusing only on "chain CPI." I resent having my pocket picked by chain CPI in order to make up for the Bush deficits caused by tax cuts for the rich, two unnecessary wars, and an unfunded Medicare drug plan written by drug industry lobbyists. As a part of SS discussions, needed improvements in 401k regulations should be adopted to increase the participation rate and to eliminate excessive administrative and other costs which are a problem in many plans.
I recognize the need to deal with the deficit, but I wouldn't be in too big a hurry to start cuts and revenue increases while unemployment is still high. The biggest target for cuts should be the bloated military budget and many unnecessary military bases which the U.S. maintains in some 130 foreign countries. Eisenhower was correct in his valedictory warning about the military-industrial complex.
Although paying down the debt and balancing the budget are responsible things to do that will save our government, it will cripple our economy unless we cut military weapons programs, close our hundreds of bases around the world, and end the various wars and foreign paramilitary funding. Basically, we would have to give up our military empire. And since our government is essentially on a permanent wartime footing, even that will temporarily slow the economy down. The government needs additional sources of income from selling off foreign real estate that it owns or leasing it out--something our military will never do. Social Security will only work as long as paying into it is not capped at high levels and as long as it is not treated as government income and used to supplement the defense budget. I know that this is not fair to the rich since they don't need social security. But this is about compassion for making a better society. There is no other logical reason for it other than to answer the question, "do you want this to be a decent and happier country or not?"
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