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#PA13: Marjorie Margolies Wants a “Moderate Middle” & Old Rich Retirees to Give Money Back to Strengthen Social Security

On Thursday December 5th, Marjorie Margolies, candidate in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District, spoke in front of members of Montgomery County’s Democracy For America.  Marjorie was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1992 and is famously known for breaking a tie in the house that delivered Bill Clinton his 1993 budget.  That vote cost Margolies her house seat.  At the Montgomery County DFA event, Margolies was more concerned with reminiscing about her time in the House and the “Year of the Woman” than actually answering the questions the crowd threw at her.  The topics of substance that were brought up during the DFA event was a creation for a “moderate middle” and entitlement reform.  Other issues that were brought up were wonkish issues on gerrymander reform and how the democrats could be better at messaging.  (Audio and transcripts are provided below)

Living as if Marjorie is stuck in 1992, the Clintonista believes that in order to get policy through the House and Senate, we need to create the “Moderate Middle” or a “Sane Center” that was prominent during her short tenure in Congress.  When questioned about House leadership killing bi-partisan legislation, the Clinton in-law aptly states what is wrong with the modern Republican party:

I think we are seeing in Washington a really frozen and stymied and inappropriate – you name it.  A lot of it has to do with redistricting, gerrymandering and the fact that people are playing to their own districts knowing very well they’re not going to have to worry.  They’re worried about the primaries.

Then the candidate went on to propose that the Democrats should try to compromise ideals and legislative positions with a group of people who would rather vote 40 times to repeal Obamacare, defund the government, push the country into financial ruin over the debt ceiling or everything else that is just short blowing up the country to spite their noses.  Over the past couple of years when the Democrats have actually tried to compromise with the Right, we’ve come to throw out the single-payer option and came close to Grand Bargaining away entitlement reform and compromised on the destructive legislation that brought us the sequester.  As I stated earlier, Mrs. Margolies is stuck in 1992 – or fantasy land – and she went on to tell the crowd:

Let me tell you about the template I would like.  In the Senate, the very conservative, and the very very liberal have gotten together – the women – and said “were going to move this thing.”  That’s what I want to do.  If I had my wish in the House – which I did last time – it wasn’t necessarily because of my desire to get through because I came down there to be a press person and when I got down there “we really do need to have to make a statement.  It’s the year of the woman, lets figure out how we can make a statement – and believe me even if it’s not real and I met this lets do it because every time we would move out together the guys would be scared. I mean not terrified, but they would think we knew what we were doing, and we made a huge impact.  ….  As far as I’m concerned, that’s where we really have to be.


The second main issue that was brought up with getting some really stupid answers out of the candidate was that of entitlement reform with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  When asked the government should reform Social Security, either through chained CPI or raising the FICA tax cap, the candidate stated that all options should be on the table and then mentioned that Medicare and Medicaid were bigger problems than Social Security.  However, Margolies didn’t go on to explain what issues were facing medicare and medicaid.  Instead of offering options on strengthening the Social Security program, Margolies went on to explain that people were living longer than they originally were when the program was first created and claimed that “people are on social security for more years than they work.”

Margolies then went on offer up two solutions, which were finding a way for rich retired people who don’t really need a social security check to find a way to return their payments to the government and to find jobs for people above the retirement age who don’t have the best retirement skills.

Yes, you’re eyes maybe popping out of your head, but the Clintonista stated:

Well, there was a point when I thought that if we could bump.  If you are 55, nothing is going to change.  Up the age four months over a period of time.  I looked at that, but I think we have ceilinged out on that.  I do think that people have the right…if you retire and you’re making a lot of money  and you want to give your social security back to the government there is no way to do that.   I mean that’s a really difficult thing to do we’ve tried to figure out what a difference that would make it’s not easy.  I’m not so sure about that, and I would like actuarial numbers on that and I’ve been trying to figure that out.

Then in an exchange when questioned several times if she would support raising the retirement age.  The back and forth between a couple of DFA members and Margolies went like this:

So you’re not sure about raising the age for social security?

I’m not sure, but there was a time when I first got in there that I thought we should do it gradually, and that was done.

So you would want to put a lot more people on SSI?  The higher you raise the retirement age the more people go on SSI.

Well, I think you’re right.

Aside from being cruel, especially to poor people, there are not that many jobs they can do until they’re 70 years old.  Garbage men can’t be hauling that stuff.

Or shouldn’t

So it’s really class discriminatory.

I think you’re right, but I do think that there are a lot of people who we under use.  I mean think there are a lot of people who don’t have retirement skills and would be loved to be used in a meaningful way, and we are not really good at figuring out we’re living longer, we have a lot of people who could really contribute - contribute pretty dramatically – and we haven’t figured that out. 

To be frank, Margolies is one of the worst candidates in the PA 13th field because the PA 13th isn’t the suburban swing district it used to be 20 years ago.  The 13th is a solid blue district and it is yearning for a progressive leader that can stand there with the likes of Alan Grayson or a Keith Ellison.  It is in my honest opinion that Marjorie Margolies is running for one reason and one reason only.  Margolies is the mother-in-law to Chelsea Clinton and she is running on the fact that she is apart of the Clinton political powerhouse that has done more damage to the populism in the democratic party over President Clinton’s and President Obama’s presidency.

Moderate Middle

I have this limited perspective that I get through the media, through C SPAN and things like that.  It is my belief that there are a lot of members of Congress who are honestly trying to make good public policy.  They have these different bi-partisan groups that come up with plans.  At a certain point, it’s cut off.  I would assume it’s cut off by the leadership.

You’re right

How? Do you have any ideas on how you can confront the leadership and change it?

Good question.  Kind of yes and no.  I think we are seeing in Washington a really frozen and stymied and inappropriate – you name it.  A lot of it has to do with redistricting, gerrymandering and the fact that people are playing to their own districts knowing very well they’re not going to have to worry.  They’re worried about the primaries.  We have people moving to the far right.  I think what we need is a “sane center,” a “moderate middle” and that’s what I am talking about.  

Let me tell you about the template I would like.  In the Senate, the very conservative, and the very very liberal have gotten together – the women – and said “were going to move this thing.”  That’s what I want to do.  If I had my wish in the House – which I did last time – it wasn’t necessarily because of my desire to get through because I came down there to be a press person and when I got down there “we really do need to have to make a statement.  It’s the year of the woman, lets figure out how we can make a statement – and believe me even if it’s not real and I met this lets do it because every time we would move out together the guys would be scared. I mean not terrified, but they would think we knew what we were doing, and we made a huge impact.  We really made an impact.  I was so excited about the stuff that was coming out publicly in the press about what we were doing.  We were getting together and we were saying “this is where it has to be. And when I say we were that moderate middle, we were moderate middle.  There were Republicans and Democrats together, the women, and of course it only lasted for that short period of time. But that’s what I would like to do. I think it’s pushing the rock up the hill.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s where we really have to be.

You think you can get Nancy Pelosi in that group of women?

That was a great question.  I don’t know. I certainly would try.  

Entitlement Reform

One of the litmus tests for democrats over the past few years has been social security and what we do with entitlements and how we preserve entitlements.  Do you think we should go with chained CPI, raise retirement age or raising the FICA tax to strengthen social security to make it last 30, 40, 50 years down to road, instead of the 20 that people are making an issue out of?

Marjorie MargoliesFirst of all, I really do think everything has to be on the table.  I think we have to discuss it, I honestly do.  I think social security is not nearly the problem that Medicare and Medicaid are.  

If you look at what is going on at Social Security now, if we weren’t putting the IOUs in Social Security and not paying them back – as were are not doing – we’d be in a much different place.  Do I think were at one of those with Obamacare? It’s the same kind of “the sky’s going to fall” that we face when Social Security was first put online.  Are we living longer?  We are.  What happened when Social Security went on line?  The average age of death was between 62 and 67.  We’re living longer, thank goodness.  I mean people are on social security for more years than they work.  I think this has to be addressed, but I’m not so sure there’s a panic button approach to social security.

Would you be in favor of raising the age?

Well, there was a point when I thought that if we could bump.  If you are 55, nothing is going to change.  Up the age four months over a period of time.  I looked at that, but I think we have ceilinged out on that.  I do think that people have the right…if you retire and you’re making a lot of money  and you want to give your social security back to the government there is no way to do that.   I mean that’s a really difficult thing to do we’ve tried to figure out what a difference that would make it’s not easy.  I’m not so sure about that, and I would like actuarial numbers on that and I’ve been trying to figure that out.

So you’re not sure about raising the age for social security?

I’m not sure, but there was a time when I first got in there that I thought we should do it gradually, and that was done.

So you would want to put a lot more people on SSI?  The higher you raise the retirement age the more people go on SSI.

Well, I think you’re right.

Aside from being cruel, especially to poor people, there are not that many jobs they can do until they’re 70 years old.  Garbage men can’t be hauling that stuff.

Or shouldn’t

So it’s really class discriminatory.

I think you’re right, but I do think that there are a lot of people who we under use.  I mean think there are a lot of people who don’t have retirement skills and would be loved to be used in a meaningful way, and we are not really good at figuring out we’re living longer, we have a lot of people who could really contribute - contribute pretty dramatically – and we haven’t figured that out.  

Isn’t that really a separate issue?

Yes.

I’m old enough to remember restart in 1983 when Alan Greenspan and a bunch of his buddies, who have the authority at the time, noticed that we were all baby boomers, and that social security was going to go bust, and they doubled the withholding.  And that’s why their plan would take care of social security until 2035.  …. We have this cap in place..when the cap was first put in something like 50% of all income was taxed.  Given the extreme income inequality, everyone at the bottom still payed, but most of the income with very few people was not going through to social pools.  And that’s what the pool is.  I don’t see any reason why investment income shouldn’t be taxed while work should be?  I’m one of those people on the far left. and I’m not so happy about the moderate middle.

You know what I’m saying.  You get things done there.  You may come in with this idea, but how can we get things done and how can we move this mountain.  Believe me you’re talking to someone..I’m 100% feminist.  And if you’re a woman and a democrat, you’re a whacko commie freak no matter what you do. 

 

 

About Sean Kitchen

I am an senior Environmental Science Major at Kutztown University. I dedicate my free time to writing and grassroots activism. You can find my twitter address is @RCPress_Sean so send me a tweet! Contact: Twitter | More Posts

1 Comment to #PA13: Marjorie Margolies Wants a “Moderate Middle” & Old Rich Retirees to Give Money Back to Strengthen Social Security

  1. I don’t agree 100% with either side of the aisle nor do I ever agree 100% with any Politician at any one time. I judge on the idea regardless of who has it. Marjorie has two idea’s I agree with. 1.] If someone wishes to not collect SSI I fail to see the problem. 2.] The ability to be gainfully employed if someone wishes it. I myself have been disabled for close to ten years as of this writing. I’ll soon be 58. I would much prefer to be gainfully employed in some field I can handle as opposed to living off of a poverty level paycheck each month. I have a brain that functions rather well and two good hands. Since my paycheck is at poverty level advanced education is out of reach. Not to mention an advanced education is only a guarantee of just another bill to pay with no return is pretty much the norm now. What is available now for the aged and disabled for gainful employment and reachable is little more than a feel good job at most. One cannot be self sufficient with feel a feel good job. I seriously doubt I am the only person receiving benefits that wishes to be gainfully contributing to society but is stuck in the trap of once you’re on you’re stuck even though the system is rigged to try and stop your benefits if possible.

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