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You, Me and Social Security 2012 – Part 2: Solutions

category_bug_politics.gif He was talking about a budget agreement to forestall the fiscal cliff and not specifically about Social Security and Medicare, but President Barack Obama in a press briefing yesterday repeated something several times that can be applied to Social Security and Medicare too.

Calling on “Americans all across the country to make their voices heard,” he said:

”When the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold Congress listens...The lesson is when enough people get involved, we have a track record of actually making Congress work.”

One of the stumbling blocks to a budget agreement that would forestall immediate tax increases on 1 January 2013 is that a lot of Republican and some Democrats want cuts to social programs in exchange for such an agreement.

In the past few days, some – including the White House – have gone on record saying that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit and should be off the table. That sounds like progress but you cannot trust any of them to stick with it.

So today, I'm giving you some tools to, in the president's words, “make [our] voices heard.”

The easiest, of course, are petitions. There are two important ones:

One, organized by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) is titled, Lame Duck Session. Unlike most online petitions, the NCPSSM will print hard copies of signed online petitions to combine with mail responses they have received to deliver to Congress members and the White House.

Boxes and boxes of petitions make a much bigger impact than electronic pages. The delivery from the NCPSSM is intended for an event at the U.S. Senate on 11 December, so get on over there to sign the petition now.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has a similar petition I've mentioned before. You can sign that one here.

Do not think you are duplicating yourself. The more, the merrier and the president concurs with me. In his speech yesterday he noted that millions of people's tweets, emails and phone calls made the difference in holding down student loan interest rates earlier this year. So...

You can sent short messages by tweeting senators and representatives. Not all of them tweet, but you can find out if yours do at this page. Type in your state and your Congress members who tweet will come up with their twitter names.

I cannot swear the page is up to date, but it's a start.

I'm told that most members of Congress – Senate and House – have Facebook pages. The easiest way I've found to locate them is search their name in quotes followed by the word facebook and it will come up. You can leave messages there for your representatives.

Each representative's official government page has telephone numbers and an email form.

The House of Representatives. Enter your Zip Code.
The Senate. Enter the name of your state.

The NCPSSM has made it easy to email President Obama about Social Security and Medicare. You can do that here.

Twitter, of course, requires short messages – no more than 140 characters. So it is good to craft those on one succinct topic. Examples:

• Social Security does not contribute on thin dime to the deficit. It is wrong to try to balance the budget on the back's of elders.

• Medicare is too complex to try to fix in a rushed budget deal. Save it for 2013 to avoid what could be terrible unintended consequences.

• Don't you realize how insulting it is to call Social Security and Medicare entitlements? We paid for those benefits all our working lives.

I'm sure you can do better than those.

In longer form email and Facebook messages you can craft your own messages. If you're having trouble, crib from petitions and anything on this blog. You don't need to credit anyone. Be polite, be succinct, but explain what you mean and make your position clear.

You can send the same message to each of your Senators and your Representative. And the White House too.

You can send as many letters on as many topics as you want.

Messages to Congress in large numbers really do, as the president noted, make a difference. I know that every member's office counts every message – letter, email, phone call, tweet, Facebook – and tracks the positions pro and con issues.

To paraphrase an old voting joke, write today and write often. Get your relatives and friends to do it. Post what you've written on your blogs and urge readers to do the same (copy any information you need or want from here).

Keep writing on as many different related issues as possible because the billionaire and millionaire forces are against us.

Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are talking to rich executives all over the country about cutting Social Security and Medicare.

A whole bunch of zillionaire CEOs have called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare while hanging on to their corporate welfare.

And there are no-nothing pundits and columnists all over the print and electronic press throwing around statements about cutting entitlements and Social Security going broke.

They all have money and influence. But millions of us together can overcome them. Write, call, tweet, Facebook. Let us together make a great noise unto Congress. The president again:

”When the American people speak loudly enough, lo and behold Congress listens...The lesson is when enough people get involved, we have a track record of actually making Congress work.”

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcy Belson: How to Search for Relatives


Yesterday Move-On sponsored a flash mob outside Nancy Pelosi's local office and sent its members in the area a letter we could deliver to her with this text:

...any agreement must meet these two criteria:
1. The Bush tax cuts for the top 2% must expire, as scheduled, on December 31.

2. There can be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits.

The idea that we’re on the edge of some kind of economic Armageddon simply isn’t true. The Senate has already voted to extend tax cuts for 98% of Americans—those who earn $250,000 or less— and the President has promised to sign this bill into law. I support such an extension and urge you to as well. Nothing will happen to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits on January 1, so benefit cuts to those life-saving programs must be off the table. I urge you to speak out publicly and forcefully against any benefit cuts in these programs.

I couldn't go because I'm nursing a back injury, but I think these actions are important. Got to remind these people they work for us.

Jan and everyone...
In line with the flash mob, next week, NCPSSM along with half a dozen other organizations are sponsoring a national call-in day next week to Congress regarding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I will be posting all the details here so it will be easy for you to take part.

Thanks very much for your excellent coverage of this very important issue.

IMO the time for curtesy with
Congress has ended....

They need to see our anger at
their shenanigans!

Remember "Give em Hell Harry!"

You can compose a single letter and send it to all your representatives and the president with one click at both and

You are keeping up the good fight, Ronni. Thank you for doing so. I had already signed the petitions, but will e-mail my Senators. In my case, it's daunting because they are the demented John McCain and retiring John Kyle, but maybe sheer numbers will work on them.

Numbers matter. Just look at how differently the Republicans are beginning to behave since losing the presidential election.

Even if you think your senators or representative won't budge, write, call, tweet, etc. anyway. The more people who stand up for what's right, the more they have to pay attention.

You and I are each only one person. But if you do not do this, and others do not do this, maybe that's millions who don't and we lose.

Please contact your representative and senators. It's your Social Security and Medicare coverage and that of your children and grandchildren.

We must win this fight.

Calling Social Security and Medicare entitlements makes my head spin.

Thanks for this Ronni.

Okay, okay...signed petition, put on my blog. How I'd love a flashmob in my neighborhood. Going to look online for a picture of one in San Francisco. Yes, whatever it takes!

Obama offered $400bn of unspecified cuts to medicare today in exchange for additional taxes.

Keep up the fight -- need to distribute this info to those who don't blog, but want to preserve Soc. Sec., Medicare, and want the current tax rates preserved for all but the 2%.

I called local and D.C. offices earlier this week, will send email and other in the days ahead -- to ALL representing me so they'll have numbers to back their position -- two Senators will support, but lame duck Representative is doubtful but I keep trying.

Thank you for the links, Ronni. I sent a message to all. The internet can be a very powerful and empowering tool.

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