America is a community. We look out for each other as a nation. We build schools for our children, fund police for our safety and provide a secure retirement for our seniors. We do not toss aside our most vulnerable citizens when they need our help the most.
Instead, each generation of American workers invests in the Social Security trust fund under the guarantee that someday when they retire or get too sick to work, Social Security will be there for them.
But now our community and that safety net are coming under a fierce, right-wing attack.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are chomping at the bit to gut Social Security, threatening to raise the retirement age and cut benefits that millions of seniors depend on to survive. Claiming Social Security is in crisis is simply not true, but that does not stop these mendacious Republicans from saying it. Even with no changes to the system, reports show Social Security can pay out full benefits until at least 2037.
That is why cutting benefits now, including raising the retirement age, must remain completely off the table. Social Security is the economic backbone of a retirement free from poverty and homelessness for aging and sick Americans no longer able to work. Raising the retirement age is a job-killer for young Americans while cuts to benefits will force the elderly to choose between food and rent. That is not the America we believe in and we must do everything in our power to stop cuts from happening.
But stopping cuts should not be good enough. We can do better.
Right now, Bill Gates does not pay the same percentage of his income into Social Security that most Americans pay. Neither does Derek Jeter, Mayor Michael Bloomberg or even President Barack Obama. The reason why: The Social Security payroll tax is capped at $106,800 per individual, costing tax payers billions of dollars in lost revenue from the people most able to invest. The cap risks the long-term health of the program while currently giving wealthier Americans a tremendous tax cut.
It has never been more important to stand up and fight than now. Scurrilous right-wing Republicans are willing to lie and do anything to tear down Social Security. They are talking about shutting down the government and holding the debt ceiling hostage. Whatever it takes to destroy Social Security and prop up big banks, insurance companies and Wall Street, they are going to do it.
I believe in a robust community that will keep Social Security strong for future generations of Americans and we all need to stand up and be heard to make it happen.
I urge every working-class American to deliver a message that we are unified and standing strong against cuts while fighting for improvements. It is time to send Congress and the president a strong, clear message about the Social Security trust fund.
Join me in calling your member of Congress to keep Social Security safe, stable and secure for generations to come.
David M. Quintana