Seniors' Action Alert
Just in time for the start of the 115th session of Congress, the Coalition to Guarantee Social Security (CGSS) is mobilizing a grassroots outpouring on behalf of urgent legislation to put the force of law behind the government's promise to pay Social Security benefits in full.
You see, most Americans – including even current Social Security recipients – believe Social Security is a contract with the government. In other words, you pay in, and you are paid back. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the federal government has no legal responsibility to pay a single penny in Social Security benefits. The sad truth is, in a little-known 1960 decision (Flemming v. Nestor), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the government has no contractual obligation to pay back Americans' hard-earned Social Security contributions.
Based on the latest analysis by the Social Security Board of Trustees, the program will begin paying out more in benefits than it receives in revenues by 2020 – just three short years away. The resulting shortfall means the program will exhaust all of its spare cash by 2034. According to the Motley Fool investment service, Social Security would go on, but benefits may need to be slashed by as much as 21% across the board. And because of the Supreme Court ruling in Flemming v. Nestor, Social Security recipients would be powerless to recover any of that lost money.
For the Coalition to Guarantee Social Security (CGSS), the answer to this looming crisis is obvious: Prohibit politicians in Washington, D.C. from ever reducing the amount of your Social Security check. The way to do that is by passing a law to turn Social Security benefits into a legal contract the government is forced to honor. That's the idea behind our proposed Social Security Guarantee Act. Instead of allowing politicians to continue spending our Social Security contributions on their own personal "pet" political self-interests, the Social Security Guarantee Act would make it a federal crime to use Social Security dollars for anything except the old-age retirement some 44 million Americans now rely on to survive.
A major element of the Coalition to Guarantee Social Security grassroots lobbying campaign is the 50-state U.S. Taxpayer Straw Poll on the NEW "Social Security Guarantee Act." With these poll results, we will send a message that echoes so loudly across Capitol Hill that no congressmen or U.S. Senator can ignore it. The message is short and to the point: Pass the NEW Social Security Guarantee Act into law immediately and safeguard the vital benefits that millions of seniors depend on for rent, food, medicine and other essentials or else suffer the political consequences.
The same Republican Senate "leadership" needs to hear that message loud and clear. The same leaders who failed to repeal Obamacare, defend traditional marriage, secure the border and reject Obama's illegal executive amnesty cannot be trusted to deal honestly with the Social Security crisis. The last time U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took up Social Security "reform," he reportedly tried to hold the entire federal budget hostage in exchange for a back-door seniors' benefit cut known as a "chained CPI," a revised formula used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security that would have cost average seniors thousands of dollars. Thanks, but no thanks, Senator McConnell!
The sooner retirees understand that their Social Security is not a binding contract, the sooner they will be motivated to get behind this Coalition to Guarantee Social Security campaign. Make no mistake: 2017 is a critical opportunity to put the force of law behind government payment of Social Security benefits once and for all. Passing the new "Social Security Guarantee Act" being proposed to the U.S. Congress would save your benefits from the budget ax . . . by law.
Now or Never on Medicare Rationing
When the House of Representatives voted in June 2015 to abolish the Medicare rationing provision in Obamacare, the job of preventing rationed health care for seniors was left only half-finished. Under a veto threat from Barack Obama, Republican U.S. Senate leaders didn't bother calling a vote on the House-passed measure even though the Senate version had 41 co-sponsors at the time.
Although the Senate missed a golden opportunity for a Medicare rationing showdown with Obama, the Obamacare law itself left rationing opponents with one last chance. Buried deep in the pages of that law is a seven-month window in 2017 to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) on the condition of a three-fifths majority vote in both houses of Congress. If Congress misses that repeal window, the law prohibits Congress from ever acting to overturn a Medicare rationing decision by this ultra-powerful, secretive board.
Barring congressional action this year to repeal the innocent-sounding IPAB, the unelected members of the board will have unchallenged power to impose taxes and ration care for all Americans, whether the government pays for their medical bills or not. Under the IPAB, health care will become a budget item. Senior Americans may be denied access to life-saving treatment and fewer and fewer doctors will accept Medicare.
IPAB members will wield this power independent of Congress, independent of the president, independent of the judiciary and independent of the will of the people. This unelected panel exists only to take control away from patients and ration care – and it's seniors who will suffer the consequences.
If seniors are kept awake at night thinking about what life may be like if the IPAB goes unchallenged and is not repealed, no one could blame them. It is now or never to repeal the Medicare rationing board formally known as IPAB. The Coalition to Guarantee Social Security is placing an urgent call to action to its members and supporters to reach out to their congressional representatives with letters, phone calls, emails, and personal visits requesting their support for abolishing the IPAB while the window to do so remains open. Remember, the window of opportunity to get rid of the Medicare rationing board will be closing soon for good. See the Action Sheet below and use it to reach your congressman and U.S. Senators before it is too late. Your health care freedom is hanging by a thread. Please don't wait another day to act.
Action Sheet: Tips on Reaching Your Member of Congress
When you dial 202-224-3121, you are directed to an operator at the U.S. Capitol switchboard. This switchboard can direct you to both U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives. Once the operator answers, ask to be connected to whomever you are trying to reach. The staff person in the congressional office you are calling will provide you with an e-mail address, or you can consult the specific congressman or U.S. Senator's website.
To write to your U.S. Senators or your U.S. Congressman, use the following appropriate address:
Office of Senator (Name) Office of Representative (Name)
United States Senate United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20515
Giving President Trump the Benefit of the Doubt
Donald Trump campaigned on protecting Social Security. At the March 2016 GOP Presidential debate in Miami, Florida, he said he would "do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is; to make the country rich again." In August the Trump campaign told CNNMoney, "We will not cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, but protect them both."
Even senior voters who opposed Mr. Trump should consider burying the hatchet for now. Whether liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, most Americans have one thing in common: They want to enjoy a prosperous economy. Keeping Social Security on a sound footing is a major part of the nation's economic strength. Some 42 million Americans receive Social Security. They depend on those benefits to survive. Donald Trump may be a billionaire, but he understands that much. He also realizes most of those seniors have nowhere else to turn to pay their rent, buy their food, keep the heat on and pay for medicine. And so far, President Trump has kept his promise not to touch Social Security.
But President Trump can't control everything. The top Republican leaders made it clear during the Presidential campaign that Mr. Trump was not their cup of tea. Like it or not though, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have no choice but to work with the new President. Even so, these leaders have their own agendas. President Trump should be under no illusion that he will always be on the same page as Ryan and McConnell when it comes to protecting Social Security. Remember, it was McConnell in the heat of the "fiscal cliff" battle a few years ago who tried to balance the federal budget on the backs of Social Security recipients. President Trump needs to be careful about those with whom he makes deals.
Trump voters finally have a place in the Republican Party. Their job is to make sure the GOP establishment in the person of Mitch McConnell accepts Trump's "hands-off" Social Security policy, instead of sabotaging it. After all, Trump supporters will never have an opportunity like this again.