By Matthew Rothschild on April 05, 2013

President Obama's reported decision to call for cuts in Social Security is a huge betrayal.

When he was running for the Presidency in 2008 and for reelection in 2012, he vowed to protect Social Security.

Now he's reneging on that vow.

It's a betrayal to elderly people on Social Security.

It's a betrayal to people with disabilities, who also will see their benefits shrink.

It's a betrayal to veterans. It "would result in significantly lower annual cost-of-living adjustments for more than 3.2 million disabled veterans," Senator Bernie Sanders has noted.

Sanders said that "more than 55 million retirees, widows, orphans, and disabled Americans" would be adversely affected by Obama's decision.

As Robert Reich points out, the current CPI already underreports the actual cost of living for people on Social Security. This is only going to make matters worse.

And it's not like people on Social Security are getting rich.

The average Social Security recipient receives around $15,000 a year, and for two-thirds of them, that's the lion's share of their total annual income. Now they'll be having to do with less.

The final betrayal is to Obama's progressive base, which elected him twice to the Presidency on the assumption that he'd stand up for basic Democratic programs.

As Jim Dean, the chair of Democracy for America, said, Obama's move is a "profoundly disturbing shot across the bow for the progressives who called their neighbors, spent weekends knocking doors and donated millions to reelect [President Obama]."

With this move, Obama gives progressives one less reason to work for Democrats -- and every American citizen one less reason to vote for them.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Rumsfeld's Distorting Mirror on Iraq."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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