Social Security Act

Social Security Reform Needed Again As In 1983 Between Speaker Of The House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill And President Ronald Reagan

In 1983, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, a clear cut liberal, negotiated with conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan a path breaking Social Security reform, raising the level of taxation on Social Security; and increasing the retirement age by stages to 66 and 67.

This was long range planning to insure that Social Security, begun in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, would survive into the long term future.

Ever since 1983, this bipartisan spirit has been hailed, but little action has been taken to insure the future, now that Social Security is in danger again.

Of course, the right wing conservatives would love to see the program die, as they opposed it bitterly at the time of passage in 1935 and ever since.

It is clear that if the Republicans control Congress after the 2020 elections, that they will work to kill the program so it is urgent that Democrats win the Presidency and control of both houses of Congress, and proceed to add one percent taxation to the program, and raise the retirement age by stages over the next 20 years to age 68, and eventually 69, for full benefits. More people than ever before work longer now than in past years.

A combination of both a one percent tax increase and age increases will save the system for the next 75 years until the end of the 21st century, and legislation needs to also force all unearned income from stocks to be taxed, as well as earned income from work.

80 Years Of Social Security And Counting: The Most Successful “Safety Net” Program In American History!

On August 14, 1935 the Social Security Act became law during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins key figures in promoting its passage.

For the first time, there was the pledge of providing senior citizens with some financial support in their later years.

Additionally, widows and orphans, and the disabled would be covered under the law.

The US was behind Germany, Great Britain, and France, industrialized nations which had enacted such legislation decades earlier.

There was bipartisan support from progressive Republicans and from Democrats, but more conservative Republicans set as their goal to destroy Social Security, as early as the Presidential Election of 1936.

But Social Security has survived eight decades, and has done so much good for the nation, and its most vulnerable citizens.

Even now, there are proposals to change Social Security, as was done in 1983, by a deal between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, raising the retirement to age 66 and 67 for full benefits, depending on year of birth.

Now there is the call to raise the retirement age further, and cut benefits over the long haul, bitterly opposed by progressives and Democrats. Also, George W. Bush tried to privatize part of Social Security, which failed of enactment in 2005, but again is being promoted by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

The tax base has been raised, but even now, only the first $118,500 is taxed, and many feel there should be no limit on the tax base, as that allows those who make much higher incomes to avoid further taxation, and putting the burden on the average American who does not earn more than $118,500.

The point is that by raising the tax base to unlimited income would insure the long term survival of Social Security.

It is essential to insure that the most successful “Safety Net” program in American history continued to survive and prosper!

Greatest Domestic Accomplishments Of Presidents Since FDR

So much attention is usually paid to foreign policy during any President’s administration, but domestic accomplishments are something that needs much more attention.

Following is what this author regards as the greatest domestic accomplishment of each President since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—Social Security Act of 1935

Harry Truman–Integration of the military and Washington DC in 1948

Dwight D. Eisenhower–Appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1953 and Associate Justice William Brennan in 1956

John F. Kennedy—Integration of University of Mississippi by James Meredith, with federal enforcement in 1962

Lyndon B. Johnson—Civil Rights Act of 1964

Richard Nixon–Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970

Gerald Ford—Appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens in 1975

Jimmy Carter—Environmental Reform and Expansion of Public Lands 1977-1981

Ronald Reagan—Social Security Reform in tandem with Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill in 1983

George H. W. Bush—Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

Bill Clinton—Appointment of Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993 and Stephen Breyer in 1994

George W. Bush—Medicare Part D Prescription Law of 2003

Barack Obama—Affordable Care Act of 2010

Discussion and commentary on this list is welcome!

50th Anniversary Of Civil Rights Act: Most Significant Law Since Social Security In 1935!

Today is a day to celebrate, as it is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of Lyndon B. Johnson, the most significant single law passed since Social Security under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935!

The Civil Rights Act has had a massive impact on American society, just as the Social Security Act has had.

And yet, there are those who would love to repeal the Civil Rights Act, as well as those who would love to repeal the Social Security Act.

There are those who hate the idea that African Americans and others are treated equally under the law, and would wish for the return of Jim Crow segregation, just as there are those who hate the “welfare state” represented by the Social Security Act!

The battle for human dignity continues unabated, as the right wing will never give up trying to make America return to the Gilded Age mentality, before workers were given any rights; before immigrants started to have some respect; before women acquired equal rights to vote; before African Americans gained their right to racial equality; and now as gays and lesbians strive to gain total equality and freedom as much as straight people!

This is a moment to applaud Lyndon B. Johnson for the great deeds he accomplished in civil rights and voting rights, and at a time when the reactionary Supreme Court has started to backtrack on the Voting Rights Act, showing a true ignorance of history!

And finally, in the future, in 2060, the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of ObamaCare, the most significant single piece of legislation since the Civil Rights Act and the Social Security Act, and Barack Obama will be given the proper respect and admiration that he might never receive in his lifetime!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

History Of Major Social And Economic Change And Presidential Reelections

When one examines American history, in times of major social and economic change, often very controversial, the American people have chosen every time to endorse those changes, no matter how divisive, by reelecting the President who brought about the reforms.

Witness Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, followed by a reelection victory in the midst of the Civil War in 1864.

Witness Woodrow Wilson, and the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, Clayton Anti Trust Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, and several labor reforms, and being reelected in 1916.

Witness Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, and the passage of the National Labor Relations Act and Social Security Act, leading to reelection in 1936.

Witness Harry Truman vetoing the Taft Hartley Labor Act and promoting integration of the the military and Washington, DC, and then winning election in 1948.

Witness Lyndon B. Johnson promoting the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and then winning election to a full term the same year.

Witness Republican Richard Nixon, going along with Democrats, and signing into law the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Occupational Safety And Health Administration, and Affirmative Action, and being reelected in 1972.

Now Barack Obama has accomplished major reform on health care, ObamaCare, something millions of Americans already benefit from, so to imagine the American people rejecting it this November, would defy American history, that when major change comes about, it becomes permanent!

A Day To Celebrate: 77th Anniversary Of Social Security Act Signed Into Law By Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Today is indeed a day to celebrate, the 77th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act into law, in 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his signature domestic accomplishment among many of his New Deal programs.

Social Security gave dignity to the elderly, to widows, to children and orphans of a deceased worker, and to the disabled and handicapped!

It gave a sense of security to people at vulnerable times in their lives, and it came decades after similar actions in Germany, Great Britain, and France, the other major industrialized nations!

It has worked very well, and is only seen as in trouble because the Social Security fund has been raided constantly by reckless Congresses!

The future of Social Security long term could be guaranteed by raising the limit of $110,000 income being taxed to be what Medicare is, an unlimited income being taxed!

Also, if unearned income was taxed as earned income is, it would have no problems for an eternity of time.

But the Republican Party, most members opposed at the time to the legislation,; then having Barry Goldwater in the 1960s wanting to destroy it; and now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan continuing the assault, makes this election a battle to preserve this key to the social safety net, and to promote common decency toward those who depend on it, and have contributed to it over their work lives!

Franklin D. Roosevelt should be saluted for his great leadership in guaranteeing a dignified life to those who, at different times and situations in their lives, need protection from government. This is not something that churches and synagogues and charities could possibly provide on an adequate level!

Chief Justice John Roberts Compared To Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes

Chief Justice John Roberts has been compared to Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Hughes, who had been the 1916 Republican Presidential nominee against Woodrow Wilson, and fought against aspects of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal in the 1930s, nevertheless backed the constitutionality of the Social Security Act in the mid 1930s.

John Roberts, who was opposed as Chief Justice by Senator Barack Obama in 2005, and who has taken a conservative stand on many issues, nevertheless backed the Obama Health Care law yesterday, siding with the progressive wing of the Court.

Hughes is regarded as one of the great Chief Justices, and after yesterday’s decision, Roberts will look much better in history, and could be Time Magazine’s MAN OF THE YEAR for 2012!

Two Year Anniversary Of Health Care Law, And Oral Arguments On Case Next Week In Supreme Court

The Affordable Care Act, the Obama Health Care legislation, hits its two year anniversary this week, and next week, the US Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of the legislation, seen as the landmark case of the past decade by many, and as the crucial issue that will have a dramatic effect either way on the upcoming Presidential Election of 2012.

The Obama Health Care law has allowed young people to remain on their parents’ health insurance to age 26; has prevented pre-existing conditions from being used to deny health care; and has cut down the “donut hole” for senior citizens in relation to their prescription costs.

Many other reforms must wait until 2014, assuming that the Supreme Court does not declare the whole act unconstitutional.

There is furious action to try to destroy the signature legislation that really defines the Obama Presidency, a law that took a full year to pass, and that was passed on party lines, which is actually not at all unusual in history.

Some federal judges have upheld the legislation, while others have challenged it, and it will be argued by both sides over three days for the unusually long total period of six hours, showing just how significant this case is!

As it seems now, the four “liberal” Justices–Bill Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, and Barack Obama appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—will support the legislation.

For it to survive in one piece, at least one of the five “conservative” Justices would have to join the four liberal appointees of Clinton and Obama.

Anthony Kennedy, usually the swing vote, and usually joining the liberals on about one third of the cases before the Court, is thought to be a good bet, but not a guarantee.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who is very aware of the significance of this case for the Court and for his reputation, is thought to join in the majority, but again no certainty.

Ironically, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who one would think would be opposed, has indicated in other cases as hints that he just might support the legislation.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito is thought less likely to support the legislation, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is thought to be the one certain, guaranteed vote against the health care legislation.

The argument for the legislation is the application of the commerce clause of the Constitution, which has been utilized over and over again by the US Supreme Court in the past, adding to the powers of the federal government. This was the same controversy with the Social Security Act, with a conservative oriented Supreme Court in the 1930s, and that legislation was upheld.

The argument against is based on opposition to the so called “mandate” that all citizens MUST obtain health insurance coverage by 2014, or face a fine.

What the critics fail to address is that when someone does not have health insurance and ends up needing medical care, he or she ends up in the emergency room, and all of us have to pay for the health care provided. Is it proper that some have no health care coverage and gain medical aid, and the rest of us have to pay for our health care, and also for those who are irresponsible enough to avoid paying for care that he or she knows he or she can gain for free?

This is the crux of the matter, and it is hoped and believed that a majority of the Supreme Court will end up backing the Health Care law, with a prediction by many of at least 5-4, but even possibly 6-3, or 7-2, or even 8-1.

A victory by more than 5-4 would be a real endorsement of the health care legislation, while a 5-4 defeat would be a major blow to 50 million citizens who benefit from the legislation.

In either case, this decision, when it is announced in June, will have a transformative effect on our nation, and on the Presidential Election of 2012. We will all wait with “baited breath” for the result!