Will ‘Compromise’ Mean Sacrificing Our Social Safety Net?

— by Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton

Disturbing reports that the White House is already caving on Social Security and Medicare — telling Republicans it’s willing to cut yearly inflation adjustments to Social Security (thereby stranding seniors who must already pay 20-40% of their incomes for drugs and healthcare, whose prices are surging faster than inflation); and means-test Medicare (thereby greasing the way for it to become akin to Medicaid, a program for the poor). Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are on board.

But these so-called entitlement programs aren’t entitlements; people have paid into them their whole working lives. They’re the nation’s key programs of social insurance — and they’re wildly popular. Democrats are and should be the protectors of these programs, not the first proponents of reducing them. Republicans, meanwhile, won’t give an inch on closing giant tax loopholes for the rich (such as Mitt Romney’s “carried interest” boondoggle) or raising capital gains on the rich or capping the mortgage interest deduction for the wealthy or adopting a wealth tax or a tax on financial transactions. Why do Democrats always negotiate with themselves? Please send a message to the White House:  Stop giving away the store!

Read more from Robert Reich here.