Unions, Allies Gather 2 Million Electronic Signatures VS. Obama Social Security Budget Scheme

WASHINGTON —Unionists and their allies gathered 2 million electronic signatures against Democratic President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce future cost of living increases for Social Security, a reduction unveiled in Obama’s budget blueprint for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

At a rousing rally opposite the White House, on April 9, union leaders said members strongly oppose Obama’s plans to reduce future Social Security cost of living hikes by using the “chained CPI.” That version of the Consumer Price Index produces yearly lower inflation calculations, which are used for Social Security benefit increases.

Participants at the rally, and online, also denounced Obama’s smaller hikes in Medicare and Medicaid, saying the elderly and poor would suffer disproportionately.

And they demanded Obama lobby Congress to repeal the “sequester,” the federal budget cuts enacted at GOP demands that have already started to slice money from domestic programs and that could cost the U.S. an estimated 750,000 jobs. Obama’s budget wants to undo the sequester’s impact, at least in part.

“It’s unconscionable we’re asking seniors, people with disabilities and veterans to be squeezed of every last penny when corporations and the wealthiest 2% are not paying their fair share of taxes, despite soaring profits,” the AFL-CIO said before the rally. “We need to invest in America’s workers, not pull the rug out from under them.”

Individual e-mails, presented at the rally and on-line, were far more caustic.

“Dear Mr. President: Please do not initiate, support or sign any legislation that further penalizes low-income vulnerable populations like seniors and single women and people of color regarding their fixed-income earned Social Security retirement benefits,” wrote California physician Arthur Chen. “This is a line in the sand battle from my perspective. Please hold firm, there are many of us counting on you to be our champion and to not cave in to right wing, Grover Norquist-inspired conservatives.”

More typical were comments from “Thomas” in Florida and “Michele” in Hawaii.

“Mr. President, how about going after those billions of dollars placed offshore by corporations and the wealthy?” Thomas asked. “That would make far more sense than screwing over working class people as they enter their senior years.” Michele added: “There is no reason to make the most vulnerable in this country shoulder the burden for greedy corporations and corrupt politicians. I will vote against any Democrat who votes against us with this budget!!!”