I thought Social Security was safe when Barack Obama was elected. He had opposed George Bush’s attempt to turn the program into millions of 401(k)s, subjected to the whims of the stock market. And Obama pledged to keep and preserve Social Security as it is, a defined benefit pension/insurance plan that pays $650 billion to 53 million older Americans, the disabled and the surviving spouses and children of beneficiaries.

But Obama has fallen for the cut-the-deficit frenzy, appointing a commission run by banker Erskine Bowles and right-wing former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, that began its work by attacking and talking about cuts in Social Security’s benefits. The President, who says he is still hostile to such cuts and that its long term financial problems are easily fixed, adds ominously that “everything is on the table.”

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