October 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

64 pages to create Social Security, why 2,000 to reform health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats unveiling their 1,990 page health care reform bill - it made us wonder about other landmark pieces of legislation in U.S. history and how long they were.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/art.boehner.bill.jpg caption=" House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is pictured behind a printout of the 2,000 page health care reform bill during a news conference on Capitol Hill yesterday."]

  • The original draft of the 1935 Economic Security Act, which established the Social Security Administration was 64 pages
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 - forbidding discrimination based on race and sex: 8 pages
  • The 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving Women the right to vote in 1920: 1 page
  • The Emancipation Proclamation, with which Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863: 5 pages
  • Or, if you really want to get back to basics: The Declaration of independence came in at 1 page in 1776
  • And the Constitution: 4 pages long in 1787
  • Health care reform, Pelosi version - almost 2,000 pages.

The Democrats say they'll post the final version online for lawmakers and the public to read 72 hours before a vote. Good luck reading 2,000 pages in 72 hours.

Meanwhile although the Democrats keep talking about openness and transparency in this process, there are reports that they blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony for their health care bill outside of the Capitol yesterday. Videos online show people - not on a pre-approved guest list - being turned away.

Note to Nancy Pelosi: You people don't own the Capitol - we do.

Here’s my question to you: If it took 64 pages to create Social Security, why does it take 2,000 pages to reform health care?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • Social Security
October 15th, 2009
05:27 PM ET

$250 for seniors to make up for no Social Security increase?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama wants to send $250 dollars to 57 million Americans - including seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. 2010 will mark the first year that Social Security benefits don't increase in more than three decades. The cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, in effect since 1975, is pegged to inflation; but since inflation was negative this year there won't be any increase.

The president says, "we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession," and points to seniors and others who have seen their retirement accounts and home values plummet.

The $250 equals about a two percent increase in benefits for the average person getting Social Security.

It's backed by some key members in Congress. But other lawmakers don't think this is a good idea. The formula used to determine Social Security doesn't call for an increase.

Congress approved a similar $250 payment earlier this year as part of the economic stimulus package.

If it happens, it will cost an estimated $13 billion over 10 years. Mr. Obama says he wouldn't allow the payments to come out of the Social Security trust fund - which is already running in the red. But the president didn't say where the money would come from. Apparently he's open to borrowing the money. Which means it would be added to the deficit.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government pay seniors $250 to make up for no increase in Social Security next year?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Social Security
May 13th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Confident Social Security will be around when you retire?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The recession is taking its toll on Social Security. The government says the trust fund will be paying out more money than it receives by 2016 - a year earlier than expected. And unless changes are made, it will be gone in 2037 - that's 4 years sooner than expected.

A man dressed as a Social Security card is pictured during a rally in D.C. to protect Social Security.

As a result, Social Security recipients probably won't get cost-of-living increases in 2010 or 2011 - something that's happened every year since 1975.

Here's the problem: Social Security is funded by payroll taxes. And with 5.7 million Americans out of work since the recession started, and another 4.3 million jobs being filled on a part-time basis, there's just not as much money going in. With nearly 80 million baby boomers getting ready to retire, the demand for benefits is rising.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the administration will tackle Social Security once health care is addressed. Whenever they get around to it, the options are limited. Either raise revenues, which means increase the taxes people pay into Social Security, or cut benefits. That could mean raising the retirement age - which is already scheduled to increase to 67.

Both choices could be political suicide - but something's gotta give. Washington has known about Social Security's problems for years and has chosen to do nothing about it.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you Social Security will be there for you when you retire?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Social Security
September 16th, 2008
05:43 PM ET

Do you agree with privatizing social security?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/16/art.bull.gi.jpg caption=" Social Security could be privatized."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The crisis on Wall Street is enough to rattle any investor... Let alone one who is about to retire or who's already living on a fixed income.

401(k)s and pension plans - many of which have exposure to these troubled companies - are taking huge hits as a result of this mess.

Luckily we have the safety net of Social Security to fall back on... For now.

You may remember just four years ago President Bush made a big push to partially privatize Social Security... You know so we could individually invest our future with the great minds on Wall Street. It failed back then, but that concept could still become a reality. See John McCain also supports supplementing Social Security with private investment accounts. His opponent Barack Obama does not.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the failures of large financial institutions, is privatizing Social Security a good idea?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Social Security
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