Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

PROTECTING AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR SOCIAL PROGRAM

  • While on vacation MB and I attended a talk by Eric Laursen about his new book "The People's Pension" at the Damariscotta library.  It was an early morning program that drew about 25 people.  He told us that 20 million people across the U.S. are kept out of poverty by Social Security.  Today 1/3 of all elderly in the country live in or near the poverty line.  Attempts to "trim" Social Security began during the Carter administration (but didn't get beyond his cabinet) and have continued through every president since then including Obama.  
  • Last year Obama came close to making a deal with Republicans to cut Social Security - but the Tea Party, who didn't think the deal went far enough, helped kill it in Congress.  Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were on-board with the proposed cuts.  Laursen told us that as more and more workers get paid bare bones minimum wages, when they reach retirement age, they will only qualify for the minimum benefits which won't even keep up with the cost of living.  (I am in this category.) The best way to safeguard the program would be to remove the cap on Social Security payments on the wealthy.  They now only pay Social Security taxes on the first $107,000 they earn - everything after that is not taxed.  
  • During the Q & A I suggested that with corporations moving jobs overseas future generations won't be able to qualify for much in Social Security earnings unless the government gets involved in creating jobs by converting the military industrial complex to peaceful production.  Laursen got the point and agreed and went even further to explain how doing so would create more and better paying jobs, thus helping to protect Social Security.

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