Dennis Kucinich appeared in Des Moines, WA on April 12, 2012 at a forum on “The Threat to Social Security: An Issue for All Generations.” Photos and video excerpts are below.
Other speakers at the forum were Pramila Jayapal, Executive Director, One America; Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director, Economic Opportunity Institute; and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Executive Director, The Latino Equality Initiative. They told personal stories about how their families and friends depend on Social Security, as well as technical details about how Social Security works. Employees pay 6% of their income into the Social Security Trust Fund, and employers match it. Without Social Security, millions of mostly elderly and female Americans would fall into poverty.
Kucinich said that during the Depression poor people often lived in bare-bones “poor houses,” to which were attached great stigma and destitution. Social Security’s opponents had warned that if the program was established all sorts of bad things would happen. In fact, Social Security has been the greatest government success story. Conservatives hate it when government works, and they want to convince the public that there is a crisis in Social Security’s funding so that they can raid the trust fund and further enrich the 1% and the war machine. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay 100% of benefits through 2036 even with no changes. There is no need at all to weaken benefits or postpone retirement age.
The main call to action was to contact our federal lawmakers and ask them to pledge to Scrap the Cap — eliminate the $110,100 limit on income subject to the Social Security tax. The elimination of the cap would greatly extend and strengthen Social Security.
“It’s not broke. It’s so good we can make it better” by (1) scrapping the cap, (2) raising benefits for low income earners, (3) recognizing same sex couples, and (4) reinstating college benefits.
See the Scrap the Cap Pledge page for more information. Already, Rep. Jim McDermott has signed the pledge, as have two US Congressional candidates. No other sitting Washington State Representative has signed the pledge. Please call your reps and senators and ask them to sign the pledge to scrap the cap!
Sen. Bernie Sanders has already proposed a bill to scrap the cap.
During the question and answer session, I asked whether there is any hope of scrapping the cap as long as Republicans control the House, given that most of them have taken Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes. Kucinich said it’s unlikely. But lawmakers must be held accountable nonetheless.
Afterwards, I asked Rep. Kucinich personally whether he plans to run for Congress somewhere other than Ohio. He said he hasn’t decided yet.
Kucinich on the Fed, trade, and fair taxation
Kucinich on War
Kucinich’s closing words