What would you do if you got hit by a bus tomorrow and couldn’t work for the rest of your life? How would you pay the rent or put groceries on the table? What would happen to your family?
For millions of Americans, this isn’t just some sort of “what if” nightmare that keeps them up late at night. In fact, a young worker today has a 1 in 3 chance of either dying or needing disability income before reaching the full Social Security retirement age.
I know, this is a dark way to start an email. But it raises an issue that should matter to everyone in this country.
Social Security is a critical part of our country’s safety net to keep people out of poverty. And instead of trying to strengthen that safety net, Republicans are manufacturing a Social Security crisis so they can attack benefits for millions of disabled Americans.
We are Americans – and we don’t turn our backs on the promises we’ve made to our families, our friends, and our neighbors who need our help the most. Raise your voice to tell the Republicans to keep their hands off Social Security benefits that help America’s most vulnerable.
Here’s the background: the Social Security system has two separate funds – one for seniors and survivors, and one for people with disabilities. Over the years, Congress has routinely shifted tax dollars back and forth between the funds.
It’s never been a big deal – until last month when House Republicans passed a technical rules change to prevent Congress from moving money from the old-age fund to the disability insurance fund.
We’ve known for years that Social Security Disability Insurance is set to run low in 2016, and most people assumed that another bipartisan reallocation was coming. But now, thanks to the Republican ideological war on our most important national safety net, disabled Americans could suddenly face a 20% cut in their Social Security checks next year.
The bottom line is clear: Republicans want to dismantle Social Security inch by inch, even if it means concocting a crisis to pit America’s seniors against America’s disabled.
Republicans want to pretend this fight is all about dollars and cents. But at the end of the day, this is about a lot more than accounting: It’s about our values.
I’ll say it again: We are not a country that turns our backs on people with diseases like multiple sclerosis or terminal cancer while extending tax break after tax break for the rich and powerful. We do not believe that people who suffer devastating accidents or struggle with debilitating mental illnesses should be left in deep poverty while Congress keeps the perks flowing to the big banks and anyone else who can afford to hire an army of lawyers and lobbyists.
I believe we honor our promises, we make good on a system that millions of people paid into faithfully throughout their working years, and we support the rights of people to live with dignity.