|President Franklin Roosevelt famously remarked about attacks on Social Security, “It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.” We can see that strategy at work today.The “tyrants” are the billionaire class, ideologically opposed to contributing their fair share to the common good, and the politicians they finance. Those powerful forces want to convince young people that so-called greedy geezers are selfishly taking for themselves at the expense of their grandchildren. Former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), who has used the term “greedy geezer” so often that many think he coined the term, said about seniors fighting cuts to Social Security, “[W]ho are the people howling and bitching the most? The people over 60… Those people… don’t care a whit about their grandchildren… not a whit.”The goal of Simpson and his billionaire cronies is to convince younger generations to fight older generations over scraps, rather than joining together to demand more. Click here to support Social Security Works as we fight back against Simpson and his allies, and work to unite all generations in support of expanding—never cutting—Social Security’s modest benefits.Last month, a story aired on NBC Nightly News about the Senior Citizen Education Program at the University of Minnesota. This program allows senior citizens to take college courses for only $10 a credit. Many people, particularly on Twitter, were outraged at the story. Why, they asked, are seniors taking classes for a nominal fee while young people are buried under a mountain of student debt?That’s the wrong question. The right question is, how can Americans of every generation come together to fight for greater economic security for all of us? That includes expanded Social Security; tuition-free public college and cancellation of student debt. The truth is that younger workers are going to rely on Social Security even more than today’s retirees. The truth is that seniors are better off if their grandchildren can start their adult lives debt-free.Donate $7 to Social Security Works to join our fight to strengthen economic security for every generation by expanding Social Security, making public college tuition free, and canceling student debt.Seniors across the country are trapped by student debt along with their younger counterparts—and are even having their hard-earned Social Security benefits garnished to pay off those debts. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student debt is an increasingly heavy burden on seniors. In 2005, 700,000 Americans aged 60 and older had student debt. By 2015, that number quadrupled to 2.8 million—and it’s no doubt considerably higher today. Seniors owe over $86 billion in student debt.In many cases, this debt comes from helping their children (or grandchildren) attend college. Our broken system forced these seniors to choose between their own retirement and their children’s futures, and they picked their children. For the crime of wanting their family to live out the American Dream, they are condemned to decades of poverty.Social Security works because it is an intergenerational promise of economic security. Billionaires and their enablers in Washington try to divide us. Chip in $7 to help us stand united!Those laid off in midlife often choose to go back to school to gain new skills. In the process, they incur student debt that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Instead of a source of outrage, the University of Minnesota program should be a source of inspiration. It should be a model for what we need to offer everyone, of all ages.As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, we should reflect on the wisdom of Thomas Paine, a founding father of our nation.Paine proposed that all young people be given a lump sum payment at the age of 21. He rightly saw that people should be starting their adulthood with assets, not burdens. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, everyone who wants an education should be able to get it without being shackled to debt for decades.Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced a college affordability package. The package makes public colleges and universities tuition-free for all who attend and cancels all student debt.In the fight to pass these wise proposals into law, we must be ready for Roosevelt’s “tyrants,” who will seek to use their money and influence to thwart the common good.We are fighting back against tyrants to unite Americans of every generation behind the program that works for all of them: Social Security. Can you chip in $7 to stand with us?In the 19th century, the nation recognized the importance of public education. In response to the idea, John Randolph, a Virginia politician and wealthy landowner, argued against universal public schools, claiming it would perniciously “ease individuals of their natural and moral obligations” to take responsibility for the education of their own children.Today, you hear similar arguments about the moral obligation of paying off the outrageous debts incurred for the “crime” of higher education. Just as our forebearers made public K-12 education a right, we must make public college a right despite the objections of modern-day John Randolphs. We must cancel the debt of those of all ages who find themselves caught in the student debt crisis. And we must be on guard against those who seek to divide and conquer us.Expanding Social Security, tuition-free public college and the cancellation of student debt should not pit one generation against another. Donate $7 to Social Security Works to support generational unity. We must come together to take on Wall Street and expand economic security for everyone in America.All of us are better off if grandparents have dignified and secure retirements, and grandchildren are well-educated, starting adulthood debt free. If we can join together to ensure that the wealthiest among us pay their fair share, all of that is within reach.Thank you,|
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Social Security Works leads the fight every day to expand and protect our Social Security system. Become a member today.The Truth About Social Security
From SSW’s President, Nancy Altman, this book uses the words of the people who built our Social Security system to debunk myths and reveal the truth about the most popular and successful government program in our nation’s history Order your copy today!
Thu 24 September 2020 1:42 AM