Green Party Candidates Pledge to Protect Social Security, Medicare

(Distributed by the Green Party of the United States,

Howie Hawkins for Governor of New York – Green Party

Colia Clark for US Senator from New York – Green Party

Media Release

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2010

For More Info:

Howie Hawkins, 315 425-1019

Colia Clark, 646 657-7207

Cuts in Military, No more tax cuts for the rich, best ways to resolve federal deficits

The Green Party statewide candidates in New York today said today that they would resolve the federal budget deficit by cutting the military budget and not renewing the so-called Bush tax cuts for the rich, rather than cutting entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as the Democratic-controlled Congress is expected to do after the November election.

“Our federal budget deficit it due to too much taxpayer money being given by the Democrats and Republicans to corporate war profiteers, tax cuts for the rich and huge bailouts for Wall Street bankers and other special interests. Our deficit is not due to spending too much money on poor senior citizens. And if we want to control the costs of health care, the solution is a single payer Medicare for All health care system that saves $400 billion annually by eliminating the waste and profit of insurance companies, not by cutting health care for senior citizens and the poor,” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor.

The Bush-Congressional tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 end this year, the result of an accounting trick to hide the true costs of the tax cuts from the American public. Extending the Bush tax cuts would add $3.7 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years, with virtually all the benefits going to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. The majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent.

The Green Party US Senate candidates, Colia Clark and Cecile Lawrence, pledged not to cut Social Security benefits or reduce the retirement age. They challenged their opponents, including Schumer and Gillibrand, to make a similar pledge. The Greens said that the Social Security program is financially sound; even if nothing was done, it is projected that Social Security would still be able to pay out 78% of benefits 27 years from now. A few minor tweaks is needed (e.g., raising the cap on the income for the social security tax), not the drastic changes that the Democrats are contemplating.

“Seniors need to know that their life line is secure. Keeping Social Security intact guarantees a measure of assurance in the present uncertain economic climate. After all this is their money hard bought across many years. As Senator, I will work without let up to keep Social Security in its present state no changes. no threats. Why?I am a senior too. I know what it means to have your Social Security Benefits cut. Its like standing on the edge of an icy patch over looking Mt Kilimanjaro.” Colia Clark, the Green US Senate candidate challenging Chuck Schumer.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was set up the Democrats to make a series of proposals to Congress on how to reduce the growing federal budget deficit. Its proposals will be voted upon by a lame duck session of Congress after the November election, where retiring and defeated Congress members will likely cast the deciding votes.

Many progressive are referring to it as the “Catfood Commission” because its goal appears to be cutting benefits so drastically that retirees will only be able to afford to eat cat food. The proposals are likely to include raising the retirement age to 70, turning large portions of Social Security over to Wall Street, and cutting Medicare benefits. The commission’s co-chairman Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming , has stated he believes the founders of the Social Security program never expected anyone to actually live to 65 and collect. “People just died,” he has said. “Social Security was never [for] retirement.”

William Greider recently wrote in The Nation, “Barack Obama is again playing coy in public, but his intentions are widely understood among Washington insiders…The president intends to offer Social Security as a sacrificial lamb to entice conservative deficit hawks into a grand bipartisan compromise in which Democrats agree to cut Social Security benefits for future retirees while Republicans accede to significant tax increases to reduce government red ink.”

Hawkins said that he supports a reduction in military spending in the 50 to 75% range. “The mission of the US military should be defending our republic, not policing an empire on behalf of global corporations, the Pentagon bureaucracy, and the private contractors that feed off of it,” stated Hawkins.

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