Other than Plunderbund running this article on April being designated as the first “National Social Security Month,” what’s the likelihood that any of Ohio’s Big Eight legacy newspapers, or any of the other 85 Buckeye State news sources that include smaller publications and TV outlets, will inform their many readers who use or hope to use Social Security about this news?

Arguably one of the most important laws ever passed in the United States, dating back to 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the safety net measure into law as the Great Depression was debilitating the nation in rapid fashion, Social Security is both critical to keeping elders from living their retirement years in poverty and constantly under attack by fiscal conservatives, who seem almost always to be today’s Republican Party and fans of its misbegotten tenants, who would do away with it if they could.

Social Security has been the pride of progressives, who can rightfully say it’s made generations of lives better, and the bane of conservatives, who see it as the keystone of the so-called “nanny state” that keeps people dependent on government when they should be taking care of themselves in their own way with their own resouces.

On Tuesday Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, invited “everyone to celebrate the first National Social Security Month in April by taking five steps toward financial security.”

According to the Social Security Administration, the National Social Security Month campaign will emphasize the agency’s five key steps toward financial security:

  1. Get to know your Social Security

  2. Verify your lifetime earnings with a my Social Security account

  3. Estimate your future Social Security benefits at my Social Security

  4. Apply online for retirement, disability, or Medicare benefits

  5. Manage your Social Security benefits

Throughout the month Social Security “will provide educational articles and video messages on its website featuring personal finance expert Suze Orman. Each message will provide the public with practical tips for developing a sound financial plan that includes Social Security as a foundation.”

Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security: “With retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow for millions of people throughout life’s journey. By hosting National Social Security Month, we hope to help the public understand their Social Security protections and promote financial education.”

Attention Cave Dwellers

Unless you’ve been buried in a bunker your entire life, it’s not news that Republicans demonize Social Security as a so-called “entitlement,” as if that’s a terrible thing, that adds to the national debt. For anyone whose mind isn’t mush, Social Security has its own dedicated stream of funding, the payroll tax, so it doesn’t add a penny to the nation debt. A travesty of governance that is used to disparage, defame and defile the program as if it’s just more wasteful government spending, is that Congress borrows from Social Security reserves and gives the nation an I.O.U. in exchange. Republicans complain, falsely, that those IOUs are bogus because they can’t be paid back.

What’s bogus is that their argument is bogus, since it relies on misbelieving what is both the law and obvious to anyone who cares to take a look.

The release on this topic by Social Security today informs that only about 40 percent of pre-retirement earnings are replaced by SS. “To enjoy a comfortable retirement, most people will also need income from other sources — like pensions, savings, and investments. Yet nearly a third of America’s workers have no money set aside specifically for retirement.”

As the financial health of corporations become more disconnected from the financial health of workers, now that obscene profits and low corporate tax rates are spent on everything else other than wages and benefits, saving Social Security so future workers can rely on it is critical for today’s progressive movement. If you vote for candidates that think it’s a socialist plot and want to whittle it down or eliminate entirely, don’t be surprised when you work longer, pay more and get less when you retire, if you live that long because you don’t have health insurance to keep you from death’s doorstep, that Social Security won’t be there for you.

If you want this historic and critical safety net to be there for you, because you didn’t earn enough or save enough for your own golden years, vote for candidates who promise to protect it at all costs. Otherwise, your golden years will be miserable as you fend for yourself in a world that thinks Darwinian economics, survival of the richest, is the commonsense standard.

When you hear political pontiffs like Gov. John Kasich or House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or likely any of Ohio’scurrent crop of super conservative state legislators who cry crocodile tears about how bad Social Security has been to the nation’s finances, that should be your signal to vote them out of office and vote in candidates who will do the right thing for you and your family.

 

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