‘Austerity’ hurts poor the most

Published 9:22 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To the editor:

As Congress prepares for the so-called fiscal cliff, I find myself disappointed by the solutions being pushed by some columnists in our nation’s most influential newspapers.

In just the past few weeks, writers such as the New York Times’ Bill Keller and Washington Post’s Steve Pearlstein have gone on record in favor of cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Email newsletter signup

These new calls for benefit cuts come on the heels of the introduction of a new supergroup called Fix The Debt. Touting itself as a ‘grassroots effort,’ Fix the Debt is backed by CEOs like Honeywell’s David Cote, wealthy investors like Pete Peterson and influential political figures like Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, all of whom have virtually made a living out of advocating for cuts to some of our nation’s most important and successful social programs.

Combined, these columnists and astroturf groups are beating the drum for “shared sacrifice” in addressing our debt issue, ignoring the fact that many retirees simply can’t afford it, as they rely on Social Security to cover their entire cost of living.

In reality, cutting benefits is not shared sacrifice — it’s placing the burden of a problem caused by corporate greed and government failure squarely on the backs of those very same Americans who need the help the most.

Tony Saprano