The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

AARP Supports Social Security Benefit Cuts:
The Fix Is In

Jun 20, 2011

The AARP (American Association of Retired People) announced that it now supports cutting Social Security benefits to retirees.

The Obama administration has made it clear that, like the Bush administration, it would try to impose big benefit cuts–under the guise of “saving” Social Security.

But Bush was not successful. So the Obama administration and Congress have carried out a propaganda campaign, setting up commissions, and issuing reports, providing the excuse for the news media to blast new headlines about the supposed danger that Social Security would run out of money.

None of that really changed public opinion, especially amongst seniors. A February Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 84% of people age 65 and over oppose benefit cuts.

No wonder. Social Security benefits are already ridiculously small and inadequate. After working and paying into Social Security for their entire working lives, seniors get back only a tiny fraction of what they need to survive on.

Over the years, the politicians have slashed and whittled away at what seniors receive in Social Security benefits–up until now, indirectly. The politicians fiddled with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) so much over the last three decades that economist John Williams of the Shadow Government Statistics website estimates that: “Social Security checks would be about doubled had the various changes not been made.”

The last big “reforms” of Social Security, carried out in 1983 under the Reagan administration with the support of the Democratic majority in Congress, gradually increased the age when full benefits are available, from 65 to 67 in 2022–but it was phased in slowly, and didn’t touch existing beneficiaries.

These “reforms” allowed the politicians to literally steal trillions of dollars in benefits from seniors. Of course, politicians claimed that this surplus was put into a trust fund, which today is supposed to be worth over 2.4 trillion dollars. But what the government was really doing was folding all this money into the federal budget, which the politicians put at the disposal of the bourgeoisie to help fund their wars, as well as to fund big subsidies and tax cuts to the corporations and wealthy.

When the AARP, which claims to be an advocacy group for seniors, publicly supported the Democratic and Republican leadership calls for cuts in benefits, it was the clear announcement that the fix was in: the two parties intend to gut Social Security this year. The politicians hope to use the AARP–which itself has close ties to the insurance industry–to reduce and deflect anger against these benefit cuts.

What can stop this enormous attack is the very social explosion that the politicians hope to avoid.